Man Gave Up Using Money 12 Years Ago, Lives in Caves of Utah Desert

Daniel Suelo, 51, is a very special person. in 2001, standing on the edge of a highway, he left his life savings, $30, in a phone booth and walked into the desert to start a new life, one that wasn’t based on the rules of modern capitalism. He gave up using money and began living in caves, foraging for wild berries and scavenging for roadkill raccoons and squirrels.

Suelo became an inspiration for thousands of Americans affected by the economic crash and activists like members of the Occupy movement, after his friend, Mark Sundeen, started documenting his way of life. A friend of Daniel, Sundeen admits he though he had gone crazy or suffered a mental break down the first time he heard he had given up money and moved to the desert, in Moab, Utah. They had been out of touch for a few years, but after the economic crash of 2008, he started thinking about his old friend’s ideas. Suelo had once said money was just an illusion, it wasn’t real, and when the money everyone thought they had just started disappearing, Sundeen began to realize Daniel had a point. Because if your house was worth $500,000 today, and just $300,000 the next, what happened to that $200,000, what was that money in the first place? That was when the author got in touch with Suelo and started studying his life.

Daniel Suelo set up house in caves in the Utah desert and instead of accepting welfare, food stamps or any kind of Government handout, he started foraging and scavanging for food, picking expired groceries from dumpsters and accepting meals from friends and strangers. ‘My philosophy is to use only what is freely given or discarded and what is already present and already running” Daniel says. ‘Our whole society is designed so that you have to have money,’ he adds, ‘you have to be a part of the capitalist system. It’s illegal to live outside of it.’ But he has proven you can live abundantly without money, because he has been doing it for the last 12 years.

Sundeen says his book, The Man Who Quit Money, is about someone who chose to live like a myth, like a hero from the Bible. He found a way to live according to his heart, to his beliefs and managed to make it work for a very long time. Also, this is a man who has been trying to get his message across through his blog, instead of sitting on a hill in the desert, becoming enlightened. “We can cultivate freely giving and freely receiving, no matter what station of life we’re in, that’s our true nature and it exists in everybody”, Suelo says. Daniel not only gave up using money 12 years ago, he also threw away his driver’s license, his passport and changed his legal name from Shellabarger to Suelo, which is Spanish for Earth.


Luckily, Daniel Suelo isn’t alone in his effort to prove man can live quite comfortably without using money. In the past, we’ve featured the story of Heidemarie Schwermer, a 70-year-old woman who has been living without money for the last 16 years. She has only relied on the classic barter system to survive, and has also become a huge inspiration for a lot of people. Another interesting case is that of former millionaire Karl Rabeder, who gave up all his fortune and now lives on just €1,000 a month, which isn’t very much in his native country of Austria. It’s nice to see people who actually prove they value the really important things in life, instead of just talking about them.

via Boing Boing