Hit & Run

Hippie Can't Speak French, Abandons Quest for Moneyless Society

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Freeloading hippie Mark Boyles, 28, decided to demonstrate his contempt for the modern world, materialism, and a bunch of other really terrific things by walking to Gandhi's birthplace in Porbander, India. Boyles is an acolyte of the "Freeconomy" movement, a method of living that, according to the group, "allows people to make the transition from a money based communityless (sic) society to more of a community based moneyless society." In other words, he's a middle class beggar. On the first day of his trip, according to this BBC report, he scored two free meals in the English town of Glastonbury. Hardly surprising; the town is, after all, listed as one of England's "hippie havens."

Boyles and two friends then managed, in a grubby version of Operation Overlord, to land in Pas-de-Calais, France, where the mission encountered into its first snag. According to the BBC, the wandering Freeconomist was quickly mistaken for an indigent "because he could not speak French [and] people thought he was free-loading or an asylum seeker." On his blog Boyles complained that "not only did no one not (sic) speak the language, [the French] had also seen us as just a bunch of freeloading backpackers, which is the complete opposite of what the pilgrimage is really about."

The group was now "out of food, hadn't slept in days and were really cold," and decided, in a grubby version of Dunkirk, to abandon the mission and head back to England. Boyles is disappointed-but not deterred. He is, the BBC reports, planning "to walk around the coast of Britain instead, learning French as he goes, so he can try again next year." At which point the cycle begins anew, when, upon reaching Baden-Baden, the poor lad will realize that he should have also studied German.