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Travel without money or food

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Travel without money or food

Hi!

Anyone has any ideas on how to travel around Europe by bicycle without money or food? Imagine that I had everything like clothes, a tent, a sleeping bag, electricity from the dynamo to charge the smartphone, a fully equipped bicycle. How would you do that? Maybe churches could help, charities, knocking at people's doors on the road and ask for some food... What do you think? Paying to see interesting places like monuments would be hard in my opinion.

Thanks,

Sérgio

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One can get some cash by

One can get some cash by collecting the deposit on cans and bottles that you find by the roadside.

Monuments, churches, etc are generally free.

There is dumpster diving for food... there are apple trees etc.

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Best to work along the way

Many of my guests have stopped from time to time to get a job along the way.  A few have made Go Fund Me pages and raised money that way.  I know others who only stealth camp and try to live off the land; there is a skill to this, and they have money as a back up.  It is important to have funds when touring.  You can generally get by on a low budget, but ultimately you are responsible for yourself.  Having a means to support yourself makes the difference between being a bicycle tourer and a scavenger.  

I had a guest once who had no income.  She sat at Starbucks and asked those she chatted with for money.  She stayed with me 2 nights, and as she was leaving, her next host cancelled.  I suggested she pedal to one of the local hostels, and she told me she had no money.  I felt she was trying to make her problem my problem, but I was leaving that morning and she needed to leave as well.  Since then, I do not host travelers who only take from the organization and have no intent to give back.

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OP has a tent

Ken, the OP has a tent.

I once hosted a vagrant young guy who did not have a tent. He was cycling from Finland, but not on WS. I just met him on the street when he asked about my recumbent. He got a shower at my place, and a meal, and a warm bed. And he left the next morning, going South. I think it is good that there can be such people.

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Area specific

Pieter,

Things might be different depending on where you live.  I live on a busy bicycle travel route (the Pacific Coast Route), and I also live near a riverbed where hundreds, possibly thousands, of homeless people live.  They all have bicycles and spend much of their time cleaning the streets of cans and bottles. This is a common sight.  It is overwhelming to think of taking any into a personal home for food and shower.  Things might be different in a rural community or place where this is not the norm.

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I'm not trying to be rude,

I'm not trying to be rude, and I know people's circumstances are all different, but try to find ways to earn your keep. In my travels I've seen a lot of people who have nothing financially to give, yet are helpful and contribute in every way they can. I've also seen a lot of people who are a drain on everyone they encounter (affectionately referred to as "drainbows" because they, in my experience, show up at a lot of rainbow gathering types of festivals and like to talk about how "conscious" they are while being exactly the opposite). People who actively are looking for ways to contribute find that their needs get met. Drainbows get their needs met for a while until the new people they encounter have had enough. Many of us see those folks coming a mile away and won't have anything to do with them. 

So, I would encourage you to figure out ways that you can earn your keep within your own community and keep those same strategies as you travel so you don't burden every community you move through. There are many places that do "work away" kinds of arrangements where you work to earn your keep for a time. This is a great way to meet new people who are local to the area you're in. It provides a travel experience that is "more deep than wide." It's a far better experience, in my opinion.

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Sergio,

I would recommend you find yourself a way to earn some money to pay your own way.   

I love when guest come, I feed them, give a warm bed to sleep on.  Enjoy sharing stories of the road.   But someone who is, trying to do like you, just trying to grub off of others I would not want at my home. 

  I've traveled by bike through 15 counties, 42 states.  All on a low budget, lots of ruff camping and pasta and beans.   I would never stoop to begging.   It makes us all look bad.   So earn some money and then go have a good trip.  If you're healthy enough to ride you are healthy enough to support yourself.

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Your opinion is correct

You are not going to like my response.

This may be a generational or cultural thing but I believe what you (and you are not the only one) want to do is irresponsible and selfish.   You seriously want to go on tour and know up front you will not have the resources to be even somewhat self-sufficient??  Someone has to pay for all the "interesting places" you want to see.  Maybe the other visitors or maybe the government but then who pays the taxes if everyone were like you?  How did you get your bike and gear?  If you (not family or friends) bought it, you know what it takes to make money and save so work a longer and then travel.  If you need to live as inexpensively as possible, I have no issues with wild camping or living off the land (a fairly hard skill most in first world countries do not have) or even asking for food if you only temporarily need to due to situations beyond your control.

However, you are making a choice in how and when want to take a holiday.  All choices have positives and negatives.  The big negative in your choice is you may not be able to eat wjhen you want or see all the interesting things you want to because you could not find anyone to give you money.  If that is fine with you, then do what you want to do.  If you will feel mad because you couldn't see a monument or were hungry and no one gave you food, then you should only be mad at yourself.

I personally would never consider going on a tour with the intention of knowing I would need continual assistance for the very basics like food and shelter and the only way I would get it is through charity.  It is one thing if you are on holiday really and suddenly find yourself without funds due to a reasonable cause such as your money and/or gear were stolen or you got an unexpected and severe health issue, thus you temporarily need assistance until you could get back home or could get a job to support yourself.  It is another thing to purposefully go on a tour hoping to have others give you handouts you because you decided not not work and save your money like those you are asking for money or food.  I view it as someone who basically is too lazy and self-centered to work and save and prefers to be a burden on others solely because you find it easier to ask for money.  Seriously, why should I want to give you money or food if you are an able-bodied person too lazy to work and save like most of society?  I am assuming you do not something preventing you from doing some type of work if you can ride a bike around the world.

You may think I am just a tight jerk, but I also see it as those who give you money as potentially hurting you down the road.  What happens if you get a few thousand kilometers away from home and then can't find any one to give you money, food, or shelter.  Churches probably won't give you money but may let you sleep on their land.  You may get to a region where outsiders are unwelcome so no food for days.  You could possibly end up in jail for trespassing and/or theft.  Then what will you do?

We actually give over 25% of our income to charity.  Charity is for those in NEED, not WANT.  It is for those that need a hand UP and a hand OUT.  Sort of along the lines of I would rather teach someone to fish than just give them a fish.  You just WANT someone to fish for you, cook it, and then take you to the monument afterwards.

As others have suggested, I encourage you to periodically get a job while traveling.  Or you could save up some money then travel in areas that are inexpensive, i.e. rural South America.  You could also fundraise for some charity (get people to donate to XYZ Charity and you get your "reasonable" travel expenses paid for) then that means you actually want to fundraise (help) for that charity and not just use their name to get you money.

Sorry to be a grouch but I think you are asking a lot.  However, I truly hope you get to tour at some point and I hope it turns out well for you.

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Aaah, The Timeless No-Money Traveling Story :-)

Hi everyone,

13 years ago I was 13 years younger and 200 years more stupid, naive, ignorant about the world and about myself.

But I was young, wanted to travel the world, and had very little money...how could I have money after all?

All my life I had been pampered and given everything without effort — just for being alive, for being the son of my well-intentioned parents who wanted me to have all “the riches” they didn’t have as kids.

Of course, I didn’t know the value of things -literally, for eg never had to buy milk myself and had no idea of its cost- but more importantly, I didn’t have a clue of what it took (the time and the effort) to earn the money needed to provide for all my needs...and wants.

Whenever anyone asks me now how I support my really-long travels, I always reply the same, even to policemen or border military (they love it): “I do like you - I work”.

This has the added bonus they are not ikely to try and steal/scam/ask for a bribe after this ;-)

But back then, when I was as young as the Drainbows or the OP, I truly hated money.

I considered it the root of all evil, that the world would be perfect without it and that I will try and live (and travel the world no less) with no money; hitchiking, dumpster-diving, busking on the streets, Rainbow Gatherings, “hippy” communes: I experienced it all.

My conclusion was: “Yeap, you can travel or live without money, but you definitely cannot without doing some work for surviving”.

Even begging requires time and effort — and competition is getting tougher every year!

Many years later, I do still believe money has become an evil abstraction (virtual even) from its humble origins as a tool to facilitate transactions between hard-working people.

But I also believe it is a necessary evil. Other options would be far worse - specially for a such a huge human population as we currently are.

Someone once said:

“You can never be traveling without money — only with other people’s money.”

Well, maybe you can travel walking alongside a river for a few days...if that’s your kind of trip.

My philosophy is to work —hard—, save my money, then travel as cheap as possible in order to extend what I love doing the most.

For this, bikepacking + camping, WS, CS, Workaway, Helpx, etc are all great options.

But if you really want to feel like a millionaire (in Healthy Time, the only true wealth there is) I cannot even begin to describe you the feeling of freedom that it means TO WORK just for the PLEASURE of it.

Nobody told me it was possible and I didn’t believe it was, but like with so many other things — I was wrong.

I believe it’s an endemic illness of adults to transmit their children that work or a job is something hard, tough, boring, an obligation...”hell, if it wasn’t, do you think they will pay you?”.

I am reminded of the time 2 years ago, while manually harvesting sesame and hibiscus for a month in the heat of a God-forsaken town in the middle of Mexico, sharing home-made tortillas and fresh fish with my very humble host family who believed I was the second coming of Christ (no joke) because nobody else would help them with the job and the harvest would be lost.

Not even youngsters from their own family wanted to help, even offering to pay them: the field was too far (5kms) and slightly uphill and they requested taxi or their parents buying them a motorbike — it was too hot and too far to bicycle.

And this is a very poor region of Mexico recently struck by a big earthquake (I could feel the replicas almost daily) — just imagine what twisted hierarchy of values/needs/wants has a kid in Europe or the USA in his/her mind.

But this one time in Oaxaca, Mexico, I knew I had my bicycle ready, my tent & hammoc, and...$10k in a bank account.

And I enjoyed every drop of sweat I left in those fields :-)

I also got payed for this job (80 pesos per day, plus 3 meals and a place for my hammoc), and I accepted it because it meant appreciation for my work, for my Time dedicated to this and not to something else — because with savings in my bank account, also come options and freedom of choices.

And of course I did invite the family a few times to some Coca-Cola (this was a big treat for them, they were saving each week just to buy the essentials), or even shared a big beer bottle on Fridays with the father over a starry nightsky, with the murmur of the river nearby while he sang on his guitar.

Once the harvest was finished, I left with an honest handshake and hugged everyone — but the last thing on my mind was leaving/giving them some money as charity.

In the same way it happened to me with Mongolian nomads or indigenous Bolivians, it would have been highly disrespectful to give money in return for hospitality — I now get this, finally.

I will go even further: giving money to people almost NEVER helps them, just the opposite, it perpetuates laziness and even poverty.

But in the western world young people continue not to be well educated, we think we know everything and we are kings of the world, and we are such ignorants after all.

I know it. I was one and I’m still “working” my way out of it xD

Now I travel the world spending €1.000 a year or less and working or volunteering along the way just “to rest from the saddle”, to take in the scenery and the culture, to keep other muscles active, to meet people, to eat delicious food, to learn new skills and to help others with the ones I already learnt.

And all the time I have the choice, the options: should I go here or there? Stay longer? Go back for Christmas? If something urgent happens to my family I don’t have to ask THEM to buy me a plane ticket back.

And when I finish my trip I can take my time to look for work without bothering or asking help from no-one. I used to travel until the last cent, arriving back home with empty pockets, always relying on my parent’s hospitality — whereas now I go back for a short visit, help them with anything they need and even bring them some souvenirs!

Finally, 13 years, 80+ countries and countless experiences later, I am the one beating my mum to clean the dishes! ^^

So...realize how privileged you are of all the opportunities you have been given, realize the value of your time and health, and:

Get a job, save some money, get on a bike.

You can’t fail this way :-)

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Living without money

Living without money is possible. Mark Boyle, author of The Moneyless Manifesto has proven it. Rob Greenfield did it for a while. And they aren't the only ones. But all of those who live or lived without money for a shorter or longer period always did work in exchange for their food, shelter, etc. Whatever you are able to do in exchange (from hard labour on the land to making music or art) do it. I wish you the best. 

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