Why I lived 5 years without money

[ Deutsche Version ]

Do you think that everything in this world is perfect or you would change something? I believe all of us would like to change something, but often we don’t know where to start.

Today we all know, that if everyone in the world would live a European lifestyle we would need three other planets. I discovered that we are often not aware of the consequences of our way of living on the animals, people and our ecosystem.

But I believe that every person has a good heart and we all want peace in the world where nobody is starving nor suffering.

Moneyless journey from The Netherlands to Mexico


I discovered this beautiful fact, when I stepped out my comfort zone. It was 2010 when I embarked on a moneyless journey from The Netherlands to Mexico.

Together with 2 wonderful friends we went through Europe, Morocco to the Canary Islands where we found a sailing boat which took us to Brazil.

What started as an experiment turned out to change my life upside down. In the middle of the ocean I decided to live also after the journey moneyless. My wife Nieves joined us in Guyana and  after 11 month we made it to Mexico.


Atlantiküberquerung auf dem BootThere I witnessed climate conference and realized that we need to live the change we wish to see and not wait for others to fix the world. A month earlier I took one step closer to my vision of treating others like I want to be treated. I adopted a vegan diet. I realized that the animal agriculture is actually the most destructive industry in the world accounting for 51 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans. I realized that we humans have shifted the face of the earth in the last 50 years more than all generations before us. I found out, that the animal agriculture is the leading cause for deforestation, water dead zones and the largest mass species extinction in 65 million years.

 I realized that besides feeding and killing 60 billion animals per year. Million of children are dying each year because of hunger and about one ⅛ of the world population is still starving. I found out that most of our food is produced to feed animals and 70 percent of the entire agricultural land is used by the livestock industry.

But it’s too late to be pessimist and I wanted to stand up for our planet and to create change.

Raphael Fellmer Tonnentauchen 

Beginn of my money strike in Berlin

After 15 month of traveling, 500 vehicles, 24.000km on the road we returned to Europe because we were expecting a baby – the biggest gift of life!

Back in Europe, I continued my money strike to raise awareness for our wasteful society. Somebody offered us their unused apartment and after years of dumpster diving I was ready tackle global food waste.

Today a ⅓ of all produced food is wasted and we wanted to change that and inspire others to show how easy it is to reduce one’s carbon footprint.
In March 2012 a supermarket in Berlin allowed us to save food which can not be sold anymore but was still perfect to eat, which was the spark of the foodsaving Movement!


Even I was busy 60 hours per week organizing and enabling more people to join the foodsaving movement, I felt I reached a limit with google maps and excel sheets. Since my money strike I gave interviews, making TV reports and taking Part in TV Shows and documentaries as well as to hold lectures. When I met Raphael Wintrich, a brilliant mind and developer, we felt a direct connection and dreamed together of a world where money was no object and everyone shares his or her skills unconditionally. Later Raphael was passionately developing an efficient platform which gave wings to the foodsaving moment where we included the foodsharing feature in the foodsaving Website and merged everything under foodsharing.de.Raphael Fellmer beim Lebensmitte

Today foodsharing has 110.000 users, 14.000 Foodsavers who regularly collect and share unsold food at 2.300 supermarkets, bakeries, restaurants and other businesses.

350 foodsharing ambassadors managed to organize 250.000 food collections which account for 3,5 Mio. Kilo of saved food. All this is possible because of 600.000 hours of voluntary commitment by an ever raising group of people who contribute with their time, skills and energy.

I wanted to continue others, to reduce their ecological footprint and to show that everyone can create change by eating local, organic, vegan, travel by train, use second hand cloth and only buying what we really need.

Often people doubt if we can change the world, and they are right, but we can change our self and by changing our self we are changing the world!

foodsharing Treffen Mai 2015 in Berlin

End of my money strike

Meanwhile the foodsharing movement was flourishing our second child was born and it became difficult to find a stable place to live. After 5 and a half years of rejecting money I started to accept money again.

IMG_1645What I learned the most is to be humble and to appreciate family and friends, a peaceful environment and the privilege to do what I love to act as if money was no object. I wanted to continue empower others to experience the beauty of unconditional giving and receiving.


I believe every human has an inner light and like when we share happiness, friendship and love we can light up thousands of candles without shining less, but just creating more light around us!

Listen to your heart, let your inner light shine and live the change you want to see in the world!