Thursday, September 08, 2011

Over Lava Fields & Through Salt Flats to Wakan Tanka's We Go

I hitched out of Oregon, intending to land in Moab, Utah, but bipassed it and landed here in western Colorado.  I thoroughly enjoyed the people on this trip.

Bye Bye Timo & Logan

Yeah, the summer whizzed by and it felt time to migrate south again and say goodbye to Timo and Logan.  Logan walked me to a hitching spot outside of Redmond, carrying the guitar for me.

It wasn't long before an 84-year-old man named Bill stopped to take me to Bend.  He lived there in Redmond, with his wife.  It turns out he'd been in the army of occupation with my dad in Japan at the end of World War II!  My dad says, after all these years, he's never once met anybody else who'd been in Japan at that time.  Bill offered me lunch, but I'd already eaten, so I settled for a rootbeer.

My next ride was from an easy-going 60-something country/blues pony-tailed musician named Dale who cussed like a sailor and had a strong belief in the providence of God.  He said he'd once played with Robert Cray.  He gave me food and let me off in Burns.

I found a variety of fruit at the grocery "specialty section" there, then bedded down for the night in a mint patch in a cow field by a canal and woke up covered in dew. I guitar-jammed as I waited for my bag to dry in the rising sun.

After hitching for a while, a young dude in a dented Suburu with a crazed look in his eyes pulled up and told me this was one of the most dangerous counties for hitch-hiking in the country, that it was the "city of Satan".  "Beware and God bless!" he said as he pounced the gas and sped off.  I simply couldn't keep from smiling, couldn't bring myself to even begin to be afraid. In fact, I oddly felt a stronger sense of peace than before.  I'd hitched several times before through this same area, no prob.

Fear is self-fulfilling prophecy, and our society is running on it, more and more.  Fear fuels the money economy.  Love erases fear.

Cowboy Enlightenment

Within minutes, an old, white stretch-limosine sporting a pair of longhorns mounted with welded horseshoes pulled up on the other side of the road.  A 27-year-old smiling dude dressed to the hilt as a cowboy, spurs and all, got out and asked where I was headed.  "Utah, via Winnemucca," I said.  "I'm heading through Winnemucca tomorrow," he said, "but first I'm going to a rodeo in Lakeview, if you want to join me!" he said.  Lakeview was in the opposite direction.  I totally loved the good-natured vibe of that cowboy and didn't hesitate to hop in his limo with his loveable border collie.  I had no idea where Lakeview was and remembered what that crazed guy before had said, thinking maybe I should beware.  But all my instincts said this cowboy was a primo human being.  And he was.  He was a real cowboy (no wanna-be) named Seth, from generations of real cowboys, and he kept me smiling non-stop the next couple days, with his intriguing stories and good conversation.  On our way to Lakeview, he had to stop at a ranch and shoe a horse, me as his assistant.  He put a smile on the face of everyone he encountered.  I regarded Seth an enlightened being, cowboy and all, to my surprise.

We stayed at the rodeo all night.  He roped a couple steers there. Afterward, he ended up drinking all night with his cowboy buddies, but old-man-me ended up crashing early in my sleeping bag on the grass.  Even hung over early next morn, Seth was as even-keel good-natured as usual.  He gave me breakfast and we headed east through Nevada, through Winnemucca, then he let me off in Wells.  He was heading to another rodeo in Twin Falls, Idaho, to ride broncos.  He invited me there, too.  Tempting, but I decided it'd be easier to hitch east from Wells.

After "shopping" behind the grocery store in Wells, I settled in for the night with my delicious loot under a bridge by the rails, on the chance a train might decide to stop there.  No such luck, but a good night sleep.

Across Deseret

Next morning a spunky 50-something woman named Ann with her young son, Philip, and 2 dogs, picked me up in a U-Haul.  They were moving back to Utah from California.  Unusually friendly and fun, they were.  She took me across the salt flats and, thankfully, bipassed Salt Lake City and let me off in Heber city.

A strikingly good-looking, way-friendly 20-something blond woman named Michaela, with piercing grey-blue eyes, stopped for me in her sporty new car.  She was a beautician and rock-climber was totally intrigued by the vagabond lifestyle, wanting to live that way herself.  She let me off in Provo.

The next day a 20-something musician named Jeff took me to highway 6 to a better hitch spot.  He said he'd struggled for years with depression and heroin and had a close friend who'd recently killed himself.  He gave me some guitar-playing tips.  I'm quite sure the guitar is helping me get rides, and with pleasant people at that.  At least most of the time.

A couple way clean-cut 20-something boys then took me a short ways down the highway.  They asked me about what I did.  When I told them I'd renounced money, they went totally silent and looked at me funny.

A 70-something guy took me to Soldier Summit (where he lived), and spoke of how he had always hitched that route as a boy, going to school and basketball practice.  He also went silent when I told him I'd renounced money.

Past Moab to Western Colorado

By this time I was thinking I might want to bipass Moab and visit my parents in Fruita, Colorado, since it was my mom's 84th birthday, and I hadn't seen them for months.  I decided if a ride came that was going as far as Colorado, I'd skip Moab and visit my parents.  A way friendly 30-year-old Mexican-American from LA, named Mike, driving a truck, with his pit bull, stopped and said he was going as far as Denver.  He asked me to play guitar.  I finally got to play the 4 Spanish songs I knew to a Mexican, and he knew one of them.  He said he used to sing Spanish songs in his church's praise band.  He also gave me food and took me all the way to Fruita. 

Now I'm at my parents'.  My sister and her hubbie and my brothers are coming next week for a little reunion, maybe with my sis-in-law and nephew, so I'll probably stay for that.

Book and Blog Stuff

Oh, yeah, Mark said the book is becoming pretty much "official" and has a Facebook page (The Man Who Quit Money).  It feels like a dream, sort of.  I'm a bit nervous, but my ego is also tripping, of course.

Funny, the popularity of this blog went way down after my "Operation Bank Bust" a couple posts ago.  Ah, threatening the world's Most Sacred Cow by doing nothing but neglecting the poor creature.


  1. Great to see you're doing well. Look forward to your book!

  2. looking forward to the book - always nice to hear what's happening...maybe the blog appeared to go down in popularity because you said that you were going away for a while. I took it to mean you wouldn't be posting for sometime but I always check every few weeks anyway!

    All the best


  3. Hey Suelo...Great post. I like your stories and the characters you meet along the way. I especially love the part you said about fear fueling the economy. So true. I am anxiously awaiting the bank bust day to see what happens. Funny enough I work at a bank and have for 6 years. I showed your post to a few co-workers and they were not happy to see you so upset at thier craft. I think it is great what you are doing and I wish you well on your journey.

  4. What a colorful post! I love reading your stories, both darker and lighter shades of life. 'Keeping it real' isn't easy, and I do think you do quite well at it.


  5. Great post Suelo!! I especially LOVED reading about the cowboy. It's so cool you get to meet genuine people from all backgrounds.

    I think when you touch on an issue like money, you'll always get haters and lovers alike. I'm never ceased to be amazed at our capacity as humans to love and to hate. It seems both can stem from no where and be lived out to almost inifinte capacities.

    I expressed some discontent with the idea of the bank bust, only because it just seemed to miss something, but I also support the intent. I don't have a bank account, so I guess I'm already counted in!

  6. Strange to hear your popularity went down when you did the Bank Bust post. I would have guessed that most people that visit this site would just as soon see the banks fold, and for good. I would also like to see politicians go the way of the dodo bird and replace government with some kind of management system such as you find in a hotel. Actually, this last idea was one I picked up from Gore Vidal.
    But anyway, let's shut the whole damn system down. Sending a message to the banks sounds like a good idea to me.

  7. Who provides the computer? Who provides the electricity to run the computer? Who makes the computer? Who generates the electricity? How many things are involved in order for someone to voice their opinion? Without those things, can we hear your voice?

  8. Who provides the intercom of a concentration camp? If we can hack the intercom to tell the prisoners there's a way out, should we? If the concentration camp did not exist, would there even be a need to use an intercom?

    Go deeper: virtually all energy on earth, which runs this computer, runs Babylon, runs our bodies, was given completely freely by the sun, given with absolutely no expectation of reward. You can't even pay the sun back if you tried. But those who have hijacked the sun's energy expect reward for what was freely given to them.

    Those who expect payback to themselves can't pay back. Those who expect forgiveness for themselves can't forgive. Taking freely and then expecting payback is the very foundation of commercial civilization. For example, who gave the USA the land we are on right now and the minerals we use? And who charges rent and fees for these things?

    see the FAQ in the website

  9. Suelo. I understand your argument and I agree in principal that the sun is what provides the earth's energy and life blood freely. Indeed, all energy sources are natural. Oil, water, wind, solar, and even nuclear power comes from natural elements at its core. It would be great if the energy around us was free in terms of cost. (I think it would be wasted at a much higher rate if it was free and the earth would not be able to sustain a "free for all" of that magnitude. Cost can make people more conservative.) However, the problem I see with your argument that energy should be free of charge is the cost it takes to develop the technology and the labor it takes to turn that natural resource into usable energy. No matter how hard I try I can't manufacture in my own home wires, cables, sockets, and lightbulbs to light my house. I can't build a dam that can create hydroelectric power on my own to make energy or dig for oil shale and extract out oil and then refine it to produce oil. All the natural resources that can be turned into energy take a large amount of infrastructure that we can't really expect to just benefit from and never repay the risk taker or developer.

    I do agree the corporations have grown too large and prices are too high. There is for sure a lot of collusion going on. Greed is a big part of that and I think that is what you are trying to suggest. So I guess if I want energy to be free I need to go back to torches and build some sort of windmill in my backyard to generate power of some kind.

  10. People love to put out bird feeders and watch the birds that come to eat. Why? Those mooches didn't do anything to "deserve" that birdseed! Those birds didn't take a job to make a few bucks to pay the nice people for the bird feeders and bird seed! The reason is because birds are beautiful and we love to watch them eat and get that good feeling knowing that we helped nourish them. Unfortunately, with our fellow human beings it's different. I for one don't think it's different. Every human being is beautiful and good just like those birds. We should all be so loving and compassionate as to feel joy in making sure every human being is nourished regardless of whether they prove themselves worthy by some arbitrary, man-made scale of judgment.

    A week ago, my dad said he thought my education was a waste of money (presumably because I am now on the spiritual path, not the consumer/capitalism path). I was so hurt, angry, offended. But I didn't lash out or react at all... I gave it some time. Alone, I cried, wrote furiously in my journal, was depressed for a while, cursed angrily, listened to music, and then read Peace Pilgrim's book.

    Then, last night I was ready to talk with him. I explained that I had left the contrived world that judges me based on how much money I make, what kind of work I do, or how educated I am. I had entered the natural, wonderful world where everyone is loved and appreciated just for existing, like those birds. And there is no going back.

    I explained that every species on earth, including humans for most of our existence, receives what it needs to survive for free. I don't mean free of effort; rather, I mean free of money or obligation. People need very little to live in abundance. We need shelter from the elements, protection from extreme temperatures, clean air and water, and nutritious food (but not too much). That's all! And it is our Right to receive these basic necessities for free. Again, not free of effort; rather, free of money and obligation.

    Every species puts effort into getting food, finding water, and making shelter. Spiders build webs, birds forage for seeds, berries, and bugs and collect material to make nests, foxes hunt and make dens, rabbits seek out tasty greens and dig burrows, squirrels collect nuts and store them for later. Until relatively recently, native Americans and other aboriginal people around the world put effort into collecting and preparing food, seeking out water, hunting, and building shelter, but those necessities cost no money and they certainly did not have to justify or prove themselves worthy of using their locally-sourced renewable resources to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves.

    Nowadays, we have been so brainwashed that we have to prove to others why we deserve the very basic necessities of life. This is very very sad. We have been brainwashed/conditioned/taught to judge others based on external things that do not matter now or ever - career, money, cars, clothing, gadgets, college education. We have forgotten the things that do matter - loving, compassion, sharing, giving, receiving, helping.

    Dying people come to understand the Truth. They judge themselves not by how much money they made, nor what title they achieved in their career, nor whether they owned a Mercedes-Benz. No. They judge themselves by those happy moments they shared with loved ones. They judge themselves by the times they helped others, freely, out of love. They judge themselves by their experiences and expressions of true, unconditional love.

    It is my mission in life to reduce my needs to the absolute minimum so that almost all my efforts can go toward helping anyone and everyone possible, free of judgment. I have a long way to go, but I'm taking baby steps... baby steps. It is my hope that everyone in the world learns the Truth before they are lying in a bed in Hospice, unsure if they have one more hour, one more day, or one more year to Love others.

  11. I wish there was a way out of the concentration camp of society that has been created here in America. I don't see the way out quite yet in my current state. The problem I run into is that I have to make a choice...I either have to live like you with no money at all and freely use and give what is already in existence (which I respect and admire) or live in society and use its money and systems, but just be as simple as possible and not go too crazy. With a wife and kid I doubt I will ever live your lifestyle, but I intend to be simple and give of what I can and tread lighlty upon the earth.

  12. @ Carolyn: Yes!

    @ Chris: I agree with you that we likely wouldn't have the infrastructure we have without money, and high cost does make people "conservative" IN THE SHORT TERM. But all evidence shows the marketing system, in the long term, makes people obscenely un-conservative. Energy companies, or any corporation, by their very nature cannot be concerned with conservation or ethics, but profit, not matter what they say in advertising. They don't charge you more because they are interested in conservation, but because of profit. Check out high gas prices. Has it made Americans drive less? Aren't there more cars on the road now than just 5 years ago? I guarantee, if Americans started driving less, gas prices would drop, no matter how short the supply, no matter if we have to destroy the last mountain to get it.

    Without marketing, conservation automotically regulates itself by Natural Selection. Look at any natural system compared to any commercial system.

    You're right, without marketing, we surely couldn't maintain the infrastructure as it is. Is that a bad thing? That's not even saying technology is evil. It's saying technology would become balanced. Why? It would be done for neighbor, tribe, community, not for profit, for love, not money. If profit is our motive, it can only bring harm, on big or individual scale! Is this naive opinion, or is it simple observation?

  13. @ Chris - re: your second comment. Yeah, all we can do is what we know we can do--not feel guilty if we can't. Not everybody can live in a cave, but everybody, family or individual, knows they can simplify, take only what they need, no more, no less.

  14. It is hard to know how much more wasteful we would be because there has always been a cost on energy in its current form, but I see what you are saying. Most of us do drive a lot and use more than we have to of any product. Esepcially us Americans...we are a wasteful society. Just take a look at our landfills. I have been to several foreign countries and we are doing pretty well as far as curbing polution...some regulation is better then none.

    Yes technology is unbalanced. Technology goes too far. I look around and I fear for the future because technology is invading every aspect of our lives and it is making us lazier, worse communicators, more isolated, more sad, and more tied to the source of the technology...the big corporations. Our freedom is disappearing. Our voices are becoming more dull. Our thoughts are becoming more dwarfed.

  15. @ Chris and everyone concerned

    Chris I have really identified in my life with the sentiment you mention, "I don't see the way out.. in my current state."

    It's a very real sensation that I believe is being felt by big swaths of humanity; this pressure, this sensation of being trapped, as if there were no where to go. I think it's something we're collectively experiencing at this time.

    Almost anyone with some degree of sensitivity understands this, has felt it.

    I would just like to put out there something that has brought me answers and a real sense of possibility. I would suggest you look at the life of one of the greatest Buddhas that has walked the earth, Ramana Maharshi.

    Look at David Godman's site at some of the free material there (there's quite a lot, actually):

    You may want to start with Ramana's essay he wrote himself entitled, 'Who Am I?'.

    I can't begin to describe how good I feel by just contemplating the words and learning to sit in the silence.

    All the great teachings say the same thing: it is the silence within that gives all answers.

    'Be still and know that I Am God', so says the old psalms. I really feel that therein lies the key.

    Love to all you conscientious, spiritually-minded people.

    I love reading these posts because they remind me that the world is full of love, too; not all greed!

  16. Sos un pelotudo viviendo en una cueva! que ganas de probar pelotudeces que tenes! te odio a vos, a tu familia y a la cueva de mierda esa en la que estas!

  17. Thanks, Anonymous 2:51!

    @ Carlo de Pija: la mierda de uno es el nectar del otro. ¿Cómo puede la vida continuar sin la mierda? ;-)

  18. As far as feeling trapped by the system, I feel completely free even when I use the tools of the system like money, electricity, and consumer goods. This is because my reality is not dependent on these material items nor is my life given unto the acquisition of these items. I use them because they are convenient, but I don't seek them and I try to be responsible in my use of them.

    My life is dedicated towards finding happiness and love, so my motivation for using these tools is totally different. I can't be made to feel guilty of these things because my heart is free.

  19. Carolyn, Thank you for such an eloquent, clear post and for sharing. I was nodding in such a strong agreement, and just excitement that someone could write it that way. I feel so unable to put feelings into words lately, so I am often quiet. But to read this, in such an accessible, simple way was so lovely.

  20. Chickie, Thank you for that. :) I am really glad the words I wrote were helpful. Most of the time, I also feel totally unable to put feelings into words. It's only every once in a while (like the other day) when I get inspired and thoughts flow more easily into words. My latest inspiration is Peace Pilgrim. I am in awe of her complete faith in humanity, the world, and the universe, even in the midst of extreme hardship or violence. If everyone on earth were to work hard like Peace did to do, think, and be good all the time, the world would be an amazing and nurturing place to live.

  21. Carolyn, love the post but found your comment "A week ago, my dad said he thought my education was a waste of money (presumably because I am now on the spiritual path, not the consumer/capitalism path)" was for lack of a better word kind of ironic. He is probably right, not that education is bad, oh no, far from it, but that he spent money to get you inculcated into the system and it failed!!
    Do not worry,to thyself be true,he will see someday the example your setting and respect you for it.
    Your just not a sheeple!!
    Vaya con dios amiga!

  22. Hey Suelo

    Just wanted to say thanks for the comments on my blog, you hit the nail on the head as always and I am going to go with what you said. Mark Sundeen has been in touch, and I'm going to help him promote your work anyway I can, next March he said. Let me know if there is anything I can do.

    I'd also love to read the blog you deleted if you still have it - email it to be if you do!

    Lots and lots of love Suelo - I'm still hoping that one days we find an excuse to be in the same place. I'm going to ask the universe for that excuse right now :)

  23. Thanks, Mark.
    I don't have that post anymore - I totally obliterated it. A reader had said he/she had a copy of it, so it might be out there somewhere still.

    I'll put out a request for the same excuse, Mark. Infinite love to you.

  24. Another great post by Suelo. Keep doing what you're doing. I look forward to checking your book out.

  25. Occupy your city! Corporations are not We the People! Things are not right in the world of big money, big corporations, and big politics!

    Scale down... simplify... grow your own food... help others... share... love...

  26. Suelo,

    I appreciate what you are doing. I think you have a lot of great ideas for how to live money-free. Right now, in light of the protests in NYC and mirror protests in other cities, this is a pertinent issue. I feel like some of your arguments are riddled with logical fallacies. However, you seem to be making it work for you. This is not to say others could make it work just as well as you are. Some could, some couldn't. Nature may be balanced, but it is not fair.

    Those who are chronically ill would not be able to live your lifestyle. You can do what you do for the most part because your body works pretty well on it's own, without the help of medications, devices, etc. Some of us are not so lucky. Those people benefit greatly by the infrastructure created by money.

    I imagine that, philosophically, no human is special if we assume the "Be Nature" mindset. Any wild animal that is unfit will die. There is no medical establishment to rescue the sick and injured like there is in human society. Perhaps that is a blessing and a curse. For the time being, though, I think caring for the sick is important. I don't have any better ideas right now.

  27. @ Beta F: I, and all of us who are human share your sentiments. But I can only speak for what I choose myself, to not take care or anything if it isn't freely given, & I can only speak what I observe. Never have I said anywhere don't care for the sick, because caring for the sick is only natural, when it is *freely given*. When it isn't freely given, it creates what we have today, obvious for all to observe. If there is more sickness, chronic & genetic disease, overpopulation, obesity & malnutrition in wild nature than within the jurisdiction of our civilizations, then you have a point, that nature is unfair to send sunshine and rain freely on the "just" and on the "unjust".

  28. I can't speak for anyone here but myself when I say this BUT I believe unbridled capitalism has outlived any usefulness it might've once had. If we don't look out for our sick,elderly,and our poor then what does that say about us as a culture?

  29. I think we can live by the principles of balance which is found in nature without having to adhere to all of its tendencies, which would be legalistic. Caring for those that need help may not be observed commonly in nature, but humans are social creates and it is in our nature to empathize with our fellow species. Afterall, it would be a lie to say each one of us totally supports ourselves independently. No, we're all interdependant, it's just that having this isolated economy causes us to forget that humans were made for one another.

    So, we all need each other, it's just some of are more obvious about needing that help.

  30. Any of the people I know who have gone moneyless, or started to be self sufficient, homestead, live off the land, have all but cleared themselves of chronic illnesses they faced. Across the board. I have known of both a man with severe, insulin dependent diabetes and a woman with cancer to become healthy and freed of any medical necessity after switching to a diet of all raw fruits and veggies. In my own body, I have been cleared of any issue that ever ailed me, by eating only raw fruits as they'd come off the tree.
    I think these illnesses are actually created and worsened by the very medication that is being advocated for.
    The angle of talking about how we need to care and have compassion for the sick with the use of medication is assuming the solution is a lie we've been sold. It's very possible that the most compassionate thing would be to go back to the simplest, cheapest way of not putting these things in mouths in the first place and watching the magic of Nature and the human body under healthy conditions, absolutely heal itself.

  31. Yes, I agree, Ben, Raj, & Chickie. I'll clarify again that if we all followed our own Nature, all would come into balance, as wild Nature is balanced. It would not be in the nature of a lion to fix the broken leg of another lion, and it would be harmful to the lion population if it did. But it is in human nature to fix each others' broken legs. But it is not in human nature to fix broken legs ***for profit***. Our system goes against our own nature, and we all feel it strongly. Love is our nature, and love does what's best for ourselves, our neighbors, and the world. Love may even be respecting a lion to be allowed to die with a broken leg, allowing her her dignity.

  32. You're absolutely right Suelo. This system is completely against the nature of humanity and the promoters of unbridled capitalism know this deep down in their own psyches.

  33. Ever since I started seeing how people lived I saw what many people did not see. I saw people enslaved to money and when I brought it up, people said that that was the only way to live.

    Congrats on living without it for 11 years now. You are a hero to me for showing me that peopel can live without a 9 to 5 job obbsessing over bills.

  34. PS: Is it possible to do what you are doing if you have bad eye sight, that will only get worse?

  35. I like your blog and I am starting to follow it. You seem to have a life of adventure, a life I want to have.

    This makes me think of why so many people fight with depression. It could be the side effects of doing the same job that they dont like for day in and day out for decades. They dont get much from it other than money and then they worry about the bills.

    Cant wait until I am 19 and out of high school to try this life style. But then I would meet oposistion and then my parents would try to convince police that I was missing and mentally unstable.

  36. @ Thedreamer: thanks!
    And "Is it possible to do what you are doing if you have bad eye sight, that will only get worse?"

    I believe most anything is possible if you put your mind to it. But I can't talk for somebody else, it's something they'd have to prove themselves.

    @ Sahasrahla: I think you're right. But we have to be careful. We can carry on the same depressing mentality of the System even when we walk away from it, which is why I like to stress a strong spiritual base if you're thinking of taking the plunge. That means keeping the thoughts clean, away from worry, away from opinions, not letting the mind be consumed by cynicism or anger. Meditation/prayer is a good tool.

  37. I agree. It's natural to feel anger and other negative emotion but as with anything else - to dwell on it only makes it worse. Having a spiritual base is a necessity if one is to successfully take the path that you're on Suelo. Stay strong buddy. Your life is an expression of freedom. Not saying it doesn't have it's ups and downs but what doesn't? I'm looking forward to reading your book. When is it supposed to come out?

  38. Thanks, Ben.
    It's supposed to be out March 2012.

  39. Amazing! I look forward to it. I bet it'll be a page turner too.

  40. thank you for following heart. it's synchronistic that i stumbled on this blog this morning. tomorrow i'm taking a train to grand junction and plan on wandering to moab, to the 4 corners. just listened to your interview with bbc as well. i too grew up in an evangelical christian home and wondered who was reading jesus' words. i feel your heart buddy, cool beans! love the experiment processing open living. blessSings!

  41. If you weren't so willing to live off the labor of others (free transportation, free food, etc.), your argument might have limited validity. As it is, you are what my hardworking parents called a "bum".

  42. like your parents your a cold hearted capitalist pig. i guess the animals in the woods are bums for eating off the land that they dont own. theyre just mooches and lazy,eh? get a grip! suelo is doing nothing wrong and its people like is why the world is in the sorry shape its in.