Imagine living for an entire year without money. Local author Mark Boyle did just that.
On November 28, 2008, International Buy Nothing Day and Mark's last night in money world, he went for his last pint and thought about the challenge that lay ahead of him.
Mark is a former economics graduate and business director who lives in a solar-panelled caravan at Timsbury. He is now the founder of the 'freeconomic' movement in the UK, and this week his book The Moneyless Man was published without spending or even touching money.
The book portrays Mark's incredible story of how he lived for an entire year without a penny.
It tells of how he encountered cuttlefish toothpaste, rocket stoves, mushroom paper, seasonal foods, solar panels, skill-swapping schemes, compost toilets and the unthinkable – a cash-free Christmas.
Mark goes back to basics and follows his own very strict rules, and through this incredible experiment he discovered that friendship has no price.
He looks back to a time before money was created. A time where you would swap your possessions for that of others. A time before loans, mortgages and credit crunches. He is a prime example of the phrase "you don't need money to be happy". In an interview Mark said: "I live without money and I manage just fine." In the first chapter of the novel, Mark describes how "money no longer works for us. We work for it. Money has taken over the world. As a society, we worship and venerate a commodity that has no intrinsic value, to the expense of all else. What's more, our entire notion of money is built on a system which promotes inequality, environmental destruction and disrespect for humanity".
There are times where Mark struggles with his challenge and becomes frustrated with the sort of life he has chosen to live. However, it does not stop him completing what he set out to do. This fascinating story proves a strong point about the way we live.
We are a world that has become obsessed with money. Can anybody really distinguish between what are luxuries and what are necessities? The book is a real eye-opener and will have you reconsidering your finances a lot more.
The author is appearing at Waterstone's in Milsom Street today at 6.30pm.
The Moneyless Man is published by Oneworld at £10.99