We’re walking 10.000 km, currently without money. We began our walk with 1000€, and after 2 months came to 400€. We didn’t want to be stressed each time we enter a supermarket and leave another 5€ there, so one night in November 2015 we talked and said: “Let’s stop using money for food from tomorrow onward! We’ll see what happens. :)”
Next morning we started with a breakfast our hosts offered, and then continued our walk. It was past 3pm and we were getting hungry. Oh wow! There are kakis on the tree!! We were excited like little kids over the chocolate and climbed the kaki tree to get some fresh and delicious fruits.
After that we managed to get free food in various occasions. Here are 9 ways we get our food form (and most probably other forms exist, too!).
Ps. please note that we’re sharing our experience from Spain, we don’t know how it works in other countries.
1. We get majority of the food at open weekly markets.
We come at the end of the market when vendors are cleaning up and throwing away fruits and veggies they can’t sell any more. They usually leave them in plastic trash bags, plastic organic bins or boxes. So we just browse through and take the good ones. Sometimes we get even up to 5 boxes! When we do, we’re so happy we can share it with our hosts.
2. We ask for a meal in restaurants.
We tend to not come during the rush hours, as the waiters have more time to talk to us. We tell them that we walk 10.000 km for freedom, sometimes we have a little chat with them, and ask them if they have some food that was left from the lunch, or something they are about to throw away.
Sometimes they are kind and give us whatever they have left. We got slices of pizza, pasta, salad, …
Sometimes they are so inspired by what we do that they say: “Tell us what you would like. We’ll prepare it for you.” People are really good!
3. People we meet on the street invite us for lunch.
We meet people while we walk, and they ask us what we do – our signs we wear on our backpack and on our chest speak loud! We start a conversation and some of them invite us for lunch in their home, or in a bar/restaurant.
4. We also dumpster-dive!
We find lots of veggies, fruits and other things, too: till now we found olives, yoghurts, cheeses, chocolates, cookies, bread, cakes, croissants, honey, lentils, … You name it.
We only look at street bins that are close to supermarkets or veggie/fruit shops, or bakeries. We usually come after the shops close (9:30-11:00 pm).
The problem with big supermarkets is that they store their trash behind locked doors, so make sure you find a medium/small size supermarket. Tiny supermarkets usually don’t throw things away (especially in villages).
5. We do an exchange with schools.
When we do school presentations of our journey for kids, schools offer us a lunch and give us some veggies and fruits to take with us.
6. Sometimes we collaborate with other projects and they offer us a meal.
People get to know us from free workshops we’re doing, and they connect us with other projects. When we meet and while we’re doing brainstorming, they offer us a meal, too!
7. We also help at the gardens and we get organic veggies!
We usually meet Couchsurfing people that have a garden and we help them. Sometimes we pass by the fields full of vegetables and if there are people, we ask them if we can pick the ones that are not looking nice (because they can’t sell them).
There is also a possibility we haven’t tried till now: Wwoof – helping people who have organic farms, and in exchange they give you accommodation and food. Or Workaway – which is similar to Wwoof, the only difference is that you have a possibility to do other work besides gardening.
8. When we stay with people they also share a meal with us.
Their faces look so happy when they open a fridge and put the food on the table. People have always been excited to share food with someone who walks 10.000 km and stops by. And we sometimes bring a bag or 5 boxes of fruits or veggies to share it with them
9. And of course, there are always many delicious things we pick in the nature!
Depending on the season, in nature we found from figs, to almonds, mushrooms, chestnuts, walnuts, apples, special mountain cherries, wild asparagus, cactus figs, and there is so much more! You can either learn from people who live in the villages, who know a lot about wild plants. Or you get so connected to the planet Earth that you know instinctively which plant is edible or not. We’re on the way there!
There is another way we haven’t used yet. If you have a well visited blog or Facebook page: you can ask for a meal in a restaurant, and in exchange post photos and your experience on your Facebook page / blog.
If you have an experience, please let us know if there are any other ways to find free food! Leave your comment below.
Trust that you will survive. Just surrender and stop worrying about money.