No money trek ends in French misery

BUSINESSMAN Mark Boyle's attempt to walk from Britain to India without spending a penny has come to an abrupt halt in cold and wet Calais.Mark Boyle, 28, set off at the end of last month on his trek from Bristol to Gandhi's birthplace in an attempt to prove there could be a world without money.

BUSINESSMAN Mark Boyle's attempt to walk from Britain to India without spending a penny has come to an abrupt halt in cold and wet Calais.

Mark Boyle, 28, set off at the end of last month on his trek from Bristol to Gandhi's birthplace in an attempt to prove there could be a world without money.

The journey, for which he packed a few T-shirts, an extra pair of sandals, sunscreen, a knife and one bandage, was expected to take two-and-a-half years. But Mr Boyle's trek lasted one month before ending in the northern French coastal town.

The former organic food company boss blamed his defeat on the language barrier and the cold.

Mr Boyle, who belongs to the Freeconomy movement which wants to get rid of money altogether, had to use money to fund his return to Britain.

He wrote in his blog: "Not only did no one ... speak the language, they also see us as just a bunch of freeloading backpackers, which is the complete opposite of what the pilgrimage is really about.

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"That really scared us, and given that we now were pretty much out of food, hadn't slept in days and were really cold, we had to reassess the whole situation.

"We spoke to a few people who were willing to talk and they said that France would not go for this unless we could speak fluent French, which none of us could.

"The advice was to make a bee line for Belgium as folk said they would be more likely to want to speak some English.

"The only trouble was the first decent-sized town in Belgium was 170km away, and all we had was three tins of soup, a bag of trail mix and a chocolate bar to sustain us.

"As it was unlikely that we would get a chance to help or be helped by French people in the journey getting there, the task looked daunting to say the least.'

Mr Boyle now plans to walk around Britain instead.

He said: "What we are going to do is walk from town to town asking people 'Can I help you?'.'

Explaining his motives for the trip on his website before he left, he said: "For 28 years I've been part of a world where money means security. That's 28 years of knowing where my next meal is going to come from, 28 years of knowing I can have a roof over my head.

"But it's also been 28 years of insecurity, fear, complacency and non-momentary living.'

Freeconomy now has almost 3,000 members in 54 countries. It offers people the chance to barter their skills and labour.

To follow Mr Boyle's progress, visit www.justfortheloveofit.org/blog.php.