The man who quit money visits Grand Junction

By: Cassie Heykoop Email
By: Cassie Heykoop Email

GRAND JUNCTION We depend on currency for food, shelter, transportation and pretty much everything else in life, but 14 years ago Daniel Suelo literally quit money.

He decided he didn't want the burden of finances anymore, so he left his entire life savings in a phone booth and walked away.

"I had this intense feeling of gratitude when I realized everything I need comes as I need it," Suelo said.

Since he cut ties with currency his story has spread all over the country causing people to wonder how he does it.

"I feel like the challenges are nothing like what I experienced working 9-5," Suelo said.

Suelo eats by searching for waste in dumpsters, finding the occasional road kill and even by searching for wild vegetation such as nuts and fruits. Filmmaker and friend Cullen Purser has been following Suelo's life for months and even spent some time living the same lifestyle.

"It's just fun to be around him, plus he's like a chef," Purser said. "He's an amazing cook. He understands food science and so we know to grab vegetable oil, but he just knows other things that do the same thing as that."

He is a modern day hunter-gatherer, which he says is a lifestyle that not only makes him happy, but makes him feel free as well. When it comes to transportation, he makes the situation work by walking, hitchhiking or cycling from place to place.

"It's so hard to not know when your next needs will be met and he has consciously, minute by minute, denied that fear and he has done it so long that he just isn't afraid," Purser said.

Suelo explained that by giving up on money he is able to live in the moment and enjoy it for what it is. He has spoken to a number of groups around the country, but unlike most guest speakers he does not accept payment. Instead he operates on a pay-it-forward mentality and asks that the money be given to others in need.

"It kind of amazes me that more and more people are interested in this and fascinated with it," Suelo said.

Suelo doesn't pay taxes or accept welfare or food stamps either.

He lives in the Canyon Lands of Utah just outside of Moab, but he is currently in town visiting family. He was at The Commons at Hilltop all morning to answer any questions that people had.

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