Documentary: ‘Living Without Money’

Documentary: ‘Living Without Money’

Jun 19

……………………

……………………

RELATED LINKS:

Living Without Money Website
Living Without Money on Facebook
Living Without Money on Twitter
Living Without Money on Vimeo
Living Without Money on YouTube

Peace Pilgrim

……………………

LIVING WITHOUT MONEY

Original Link

The documentary Living Without Money portraits the life of 68 year old Heidemarie Schwermer, a German woman who made a deliberate choice to stop using money 14 years ago. She cancelled her apartment, gave away all of her belongings and kept nothing but a suitcase full of clothes. This was a decision that changed the entire outlook on her life dramatically.

Today, after 14 years, she is still living almost without money and claims she is feeling more free and independent than ever. The film follows Heidemarie in her day to day life and shows the challenges she meets by living an alternative lifestyle.

Heidemarie is constantly on the move, meeting new people, staying with old and new friends for a few nights. She is never worried about the future, she’s not even pre-occupied about where she will sleep next week or where she will find her next meal. She knows by experience that things always work out for her as long as she is open to whatever happens. She travels all around Germany, often she is also in Austria, Switzerland and Italy, holding lectures about her experience and trying to convey the message that an easier way of life is possible.

What started out as exchanging favors in lieu of money has now become a lifestyle. She is always trying to help others find a path to a simpler and more harmonic life. She enjoys life in the moment she is living instead of being preoccupied with the future.

In the film we follow Heidemarie in her day-to-day life and experience how she goes about to find food, transport and a place to stay. In addition to showing the daily challenges she meets from living without money, we get to hear more about Heidemarie’s life philosophy and why she has chosen to live this way. We see that it is not only easy for her to live without money in a society where everything is based on money and the value of a person is measured on how wealthy he or she is. People Heidemarie meets on her way, often have strong opinions about her lifestyle. Some call her a “parasite” and claims she is living off others, while some see her as a “visionary source of inspiration”. Through her story we can consider money’s influence on our way of thinking, living and acting and the impact this has on our own lives and health and our environment. This film explores these ideas and reflects of themes of materialism and over-consumption.

……………………

HEIDEMARIE SCHWERMER HAS BEEN MONEYLESS FOR 16 YEARS
By Khadeeja Safdar
The Huffington Post
June 19, 2012

Original Link

Having tons of money won’t make you any happier, but apparently having none at all just might do the trick.

Heidemarie Schwermer, a 69-year-old German woman, has been living without money for nearly 16 years and is reportedly much happier because of it, as is documented in the film “Living Without Money”.

How does she do it? For food, Schwermer barters a few hours of hard labor cleaning and gardening in exchange for food. For shelter, she wanders from place to place offering small services for a bed and sometimes she relies on the hospitality of people she meets along the way. She occasionally receives clothing from friends, but gives away anything that’s too burdensome to carry around.

Schwermer’s childhood is what lead to her rejection of money, she said in an interview with Business Insider. Her family became wealthy after hitting rock bottom and she remembers feeling like she always had to justify their newfound wealth. Later in life, she realized she was discontent with her work and all the things she had acquired. So at 53, Schwermer walked away from her job as a psychotherapist, gave away almost all her belongings and completely rejected money.

Going on “money diets” is nothing new. In fact, almost half of Americans have gone a week at a time without using any bank notes. And as far as alternative lifestyles go, we’ve heard about Americans living off the financial grid, with no bank account or credit card. Yet all this considered, Schwermer’s story is truly unique.

……………………

THIS GERMAN WOMAN HAS BEEN LIVING WITHOUT MONEY FOR 16 YEARS
By Mandi Woodruff
Business Insider
June 18, 2012

Original Link

As we edge closer to a cashless society, some consumers are quietly challenging the idea of money in the first place — by giving it up completely.

Daniel Suelo, 50, traded his nine-to-five for dumpster diving and a cozy cave in Utah’s canyonlands back in 2000.

But even before Suelo, there was Germany native Heidemarie Schwermer. In her early 50s, Schwermer decided to see what it’d be like to leave her cushy job as a psychotherapist and live money-free, a journey that’s been documented in the film “Living Without Money.”

Sixteen years later, she hasn’t looked back. Schwermer, now pushing 70, recently took a pause during her stay in Hamelin, Germany to chat with Business Insider about why she decided to leave everything behind.

WWII refugees, Schwermer’s family fled from Prussia to Germany in the 1940s. Her father had owned a successful coffee roastery and kept a nanny and full-time gardener on his payroll. “We were well-off but ended up as riff-raff,” she says. “Then we became rich again and (we) had to defend it. I’ve always had to justify myself, whether we were rich or poor.”

Throughout her life, she became fascinated with finding ways to live without money. A former teacher and psychotherapist, Schwermer formed Germany’s first exchange circle, “Give And Take Central” in 1994. The group helped locals exchange simple services like babysitting or house cleaning for tangible goods. “I noticed that I needed money less and less,” she told Business Insider. “And so I thought, I can try to live one year without money.”

Schwermer attempted to live without money at least four times, she says, but it wasn’t until a friend asked her to house sit for three months that she finally took the plunge. “I said, ‘The time is right. Now I’ll do it.’ I gave everything away.” That included her apartment, which she sold first, and everything that wouldn’t fit into a small suitcase.

What was only meant to last 12 months became her life for the next 16 years. “I only wanted to try to do an experiment and in that year, I noticed a new life,” she said. “I didn’t want to go back to the old life.”

Family and friends weren’t on board when she pitched the idea. She only sees her two children and three grandchildren a few times per year, but says they’ve warmed up to her come-and-go lifestyle. “Now they’re proud of what I’m doing. It’s enough for us,” she says.

After divorcing her first and only husband 40 years ago, Schwermer hasn’t re-married. She’s clearly not in any rush. “If it happens, I’m interested, yes,” she says. “Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn’t.”

Forget retirement: She gives away her pension and brushes off questions about her age. “Most people my age like to sit in their gardens,” she says. “I like to travel around.”

In the beginning, she did odd jobs around her hosts’ homes, like gardening or window washing, to earn her keep. These days, people usually don’t expect anything in return.

She’s a light packer. When seasons change, she gives away old clothing and waits for new ones to come along. When they do — usually donated by hosts or friends — she calls them ‘miracles’, rather than charity.

“I see a lot of miracles in my daily life. For example, in the beginning I found food. I thought about things and then I found them in the street or people came to bring them to me,” she explains.

Her schedule is pretty strict. After a week, she’s off to somewhere new, usually running the lecture circuit at speaking engagements around Europe and lately helping to promote her documentary. The only payment she accepts, however, is enough to cover her train fare. “I’m always thinking how I could make things better for life in the world,” she says. “I am something like a peace pilgrim. I go from house to house sharing my philosophy.”

……………………

1 comment

  1. Tamsin

    Very nice. But if we all did that, none of us would have a house to go ‘house to house’ to.

    Also, I too would feel very uncomfortable if a ‘guest’ insisted on cleaning my house every day knowing it was in return for the food I’d provided and paid for out of my own pocket.

    As a minimalist I would say cut consumption, yes. But all those who want to live this lifestyle must have ‘beneficiaries’ no?

Leave a Reply to Tamsin Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *