Mark Boyle has lived without money in England for two and a half years, an experience which formed the basis for his first book, The Moneyless Man. He holds a degree in business and for most of his professional career was involved in the management of organic food companies, but now gives talks, writes for various newspapers and magazines, and is in the process of creating a fully localised, land-based gift economy in Éire. He is also a trustee of Streetbank – a website and network of people sharing their things and skills with neighbours. There are currently over 36,000 members internationally, with 1,000 across Camden and over £7K worth of things and skills listed in the borough.
When were you happiest?
In my three years living without money, bizarre as that sounds.
Where would you like to live?
I’m happy where I am, on a three acre permaculture and gift culture-based small-holding in county Galway, on the West of Ireland.
What is your favourite sound or smell?
The sound of the ocean, as it reminds me of my home and it gives me a lot of clarity of thought.
What is your greatest life achievement?
I don’t think of my life in these terms. What some make think of as my greatest mistakes or blunders have served me better than the things others might think of as my achievements.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
To share my small and limited gifts with the world as best I can, and to not worry about receiving anything in return. When you live in the organic flow of life, in the way that wild nature does, all sorts of unpredictable and uplifting things happen to you, and experience has taught me that life usually gives you exactly what you need, when you need it.
Where do you hang out?
In a field.
Tell us a secret.
Industrial civilisation is killing the planet and driving uncountable species and cultures to extinction. Don’t tell anyone though, or we might have to revolt against those who are intent on converting the splendour and bounty of the world into cold, hard cash.
What has your career taught you?
I’ve spent my adult life actively trying not to have a career.
What is your favourite dish and why?
Anything I’ve grown or foraged myself, as I have an intimate connection with it, which is a flavour in itself.
What did you do today?
I’m writing a new book.
Describe yourself as an animal.
I am an animal, so a human.