Better, Bonus or Burden?

After a week of absence I better make sure I finish this blog off properly having blogged daily for an entire month while Living Below the Line and travelling 1000 miles – as much as possible on foot, cycle or pool!

For me in the aftermath I have been looking at everything with the Live Below the Line lens still firmly attached… The first shop post Live Below the Line was with fellow Global Poverty Project co-worker and also month-long Live Below the Line’er, Albert.

We knew we could buy and eat anything we wanted but out habits, thought processes and humility kept it strangly simple. Once had bout some essentials like a six pack of beer, soda water and corn flakes everything from there seems like an excess so we got some lentils, root vegetables and other typical Live Below the Line cusine for cooking.

In hindsight it was quite bizzar we were so programmed to only grab the bare essentials and didn’t even think about the chocolate, dairy, pizzas etc… In the days since then slowly but surely I have managed to get back onto a high calory diet and relished being able to have fresh fruit and vegetables.

The main post LBL thoughts running through my head have been around is having access to everything better, a bonus or a burden? Here is the categorization of my thoughts…


  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • More nutrients, vitamins, nutrition variety


  • Choice of some things so they are better choices such as organic, ethical, Fairtrade, locally produced, smaller more local shops not just the cheapest
  • Being able to have enough calories to run! I love running but could not run while doing Live Below the Line as it is too much energy expenditure in a short period while trying to travel x km’s each day

Bonus: water with bubbles – my luxury in life!


  • Having the expectation to fit back into the excess culture again, people accepted my simplicity when doing the challenge but it is virtually impossible to be accepted if that is your way of life choice…
  • Feeling the consumer pressure of eating bad food and to excess
  • Not appreciating time in the same light when walking, cooking, preparing, etc
  • Less human contact or contact that is very prescribed out at dinner or drinks – Live Below the Line lets you have social / community interaction without having to plan it or pay to do it – it just happens naturally…
  • Needing constant artificial entertainment and pleasure. Under Live Below the Line you create your own fun and don’t rely upon stimulation or rewards, or if you do they are very simple but meaningful like an egg once a week
  • Being oppressed and spoken to by advertising, which 99% of it is for making you feel inadequate – you switch off to this when Living Below the Line

I cannot say how much I feel we are living in an opposite, and for me in particular, less fulfilling world when I am NOT Living Below the Line. I find it incredible that the life outside of Live Below the Line is normal in western society and that someone choosing to do Live Below the Line is the crazy one.

This is a pretty good representation of what I am talking about… how bout the same amount of calories in bananas for that price?

We live in excess that I believe is mostly not for the betterment of our society, culture and environment. I have got a lot things out of the 5 weeks of Living Below the Line such as understanding the topics and issues of the extreme poor, the inspiration a campaign like this provides and how we can learn more and take action to see a more equitable world but overall it is more about the reflection on the society I was in while doing Live Below the Line that was significant for me.

My simplistic ideologies and ways of living have been growing in the past few years but in the 5 weeks of Living Below the Line I have found the practical ways and habits to perpetuate this for the betterment of the way I live, the others around me and the nature I must live with-in. To be sustainable is not enough I strive to be a net contributor to my society and environment and love that Live Below the Line has given me so many practical applications to do this.

So in a second to last blog before I refer you all back to my ‘normal’ slightly frequent (about once a week and a half) blog:  – I believe in fighting extreme poverty ABSOLUTELY but I also strongly believe and practice learning and living from the way they are forced to live so we can choose equality not only by ‘helping the poor people’ but joining them as best we can for our own, societies and the environments betterment.

I like this!

The Official Live Below the Line Week from New York

Day – 29-33 or 1-5 of the official LBL challenge!

  • Breakfasts: oats and orange peel, as per the norm…
  • Lunches: usually left over dinners
  • Snacks: the regular cold cooked potatoes, yams and corn bread one day
  • Dinners: combo of the following… lentils, rice, pasta, couscous, kale, pasta sauce and a few flavours of onion soups, chicken broth and taco seasoning

My own kitchen with stove, oven and more!!!

It was by far the easiest week of cooking and eating as I was based in one place for a whole week and with another partner in crime who also was doing the challenge for a month. So we pooled costs and ate simply but well.

The official week of Live Below the Line was just fantastic – so nice to be joined but over 10,000 others around the world in this amazing campaign. I was also very fortunate to be doing it out of the Global Poverty Project USA office in New York.

Certainly not the roads I was riding on the West Coast – same sky though!

It is my first time in New York and it is a very distinct place, culture and way of life. I have continued to walk a lot, walking to the office and back at least a 16km round trip and soaking up everything around me with the LBL perspective.

One of the bridges that connects Brooklyn to Manhattan on my walks

There was one major highlight from the week. I had a unique and thrilling opportunity to give a live streamed presentation on Google + Hangouts on Air at the Google office on Thursday going out around the world to anyone tuned in. If you missed it, bad luck (or maybe good luck!), but the filmed Q&A session is available with some great questions and hopefully decent answers –

I will save the next blog for how I ended my Live Below the Line journey as I think it was pretty cool and in totally New York style.

A huge congratulations to all the people who took part in the week and I know they will have received a lot of perspective, insight, reflection and hopefully lots of resolve from the week!

Not very often I get to unpack my bag and use a cupboard… Special moment for the next two weeks moments!

Live Below the Line: Live Simply so ALL can Simply Live

You know the old saying ‘Live simply so others can simply live’ actually I don’t know if that is a saying or if I made it up… Anyway there is more to that saying than what you might first think.

The work I do with the Global Poverty Project addresses the simply live part of 1.4 billion people in the world who can’t obtain it but personally I am just as passionate about the live simply part for the opposite 1.4 billion people in the world (me and likely you if you are reading this blog…) who can choose it.

I am not going to tell people what to do but… personally I have really learnt from the poorest in the world that simple living has a lot going for it especially if you get to choose it and not live in hunger, fear, sickness or absolute uncertainty.

Anyone I have met who has visited a developing country has always said ‘the people seem so happy there’. Well they are because they have to be as there is very little else in their life to distract them from pure, humanistic and simplistic living of people, community, family and friends.

I am totally glorifying the noble savages here and making a slight mockery of poverty but there is a huge lesson in this for me. As I have slowly learnt to perpetuate the developing way of life in the developed world I have become richer for it. Less means so much more to me now and it keeps my body, thoughts, environment and community much purer and happier.

In developed countries to give me the purity of life I strive for with the most satisfaction – Live Below the Line is the best thing I have done along with hiking and cycling trips.

Like the 10km walk to the airport in Portland with this stunning sunset

For me Live Below the Line redefines how life can be in the developed world and makes those things that are so important in life that much clearer such as family, friends, community and nature – all of which are free but priceless. It really showcases to me that the best ‘things’ in life are ‘doings’ – talking, writing, walking, riding, helping, reading, learning, sharing, teaching, living!

I can’t tell people to change their life and live simply but I can do it for myself and hopefully model that less income, more time, more family, more community, more nature, more pure living is a richness that is totally undervalued and underappreciated in the developed world. If we can learn a few of these joys I am sure we will see a world where we can all simply live.

Day 27

  • Portland and on plane to New York at 11pm
  • Breakfast: porridge pancakes with my wonderful friend Julianna
  • Snacks: bread and plenty of it!
  • Lunch: onion soup broth with bread
  • Dinner: Leftovers from dine below the line – lentils, rice and quinoa

Another day of catching up on food – nailed the rest of the loaf of bread!

Another simple happy breakfast with an old friend!

Dine Below the Line – Cinco de Mayo!

Day 26

  • Portland, Oregon
  • Breakfast: oats as per the norm and a 45 minute podcast interview with Brock at the Sprocket Podcast (not loaded yet but check them out)
  • Snacks: bread bread and bread!
  • Lunch: last bagel and banana
  • Dinner: Dine Below the Line – quinoa, lentils, homemade bread, beans, rice a few greens of simple shoots and weeds basically but yum!

Food brought from Allen and his mother

A fantastic shared dinner which really makes it quality, quantity and fun!

The spread of food from all the dinner guests… not bad eh!

It was an idea for those who wanted to join in with people who are doing Live Below the Line for a meal. For my poor friends they kind of have to do it but it is a great concept.

Try this at home anytime and even better with a group of friends…

  • Potluck meal where people have to contribute food to the value of 50 cents per head (in the US)
  • Set your best dining table at make as formal as you like
  • Enjoy the evening with friends, family and great conversation!

The most important part of any meal – people!

I can see myself setting up a few of these kinds of dinners and you will be surprised what you can come up with when all pooled together and even better under a theme like our Latin American Cinco de Mayo festival dinner!

Desert was a fantastic full moon – the closest the moon for the year!

Living Just Above The Line – I Think Is My Utopia

Day 25

  • Olympia, Washington State
  • Breakfast: my favourite steal cut oats, orange peel and water – cheap one so more snacks in the day
  • Snacks: ¼ banana, sunflower butter, ½ bagel
  • Lunch: lentils with dash of curry powder, 1 onion and 1 bulb of garlic (half), 1/2 yam
  • Dinner: lentils with dash of curry powder, 1 onion and 1 bulb of garlic, 1/2 yam and half a bagel

Rained non-stop, not even 1 minute break, for the whole day and I was very happy to be in a wonderful hosts house preparing for global polio eradication advocacy I will be doing in Canada this summer – a new role with Global Poverty Project!

If I could double my daily amount to $3 of food or even $5 I think I would be in utopia…

Live Below the Line has taught me so much on this journey and how to appreciate everything that little bit more and how special even the smallest things are… I love living with this appreciation but I would also like to do it where I can eat a few more fruits and vegetables.

Simple lentils and yam means so much when you have little – thats the way I like it… The bagel is pure luxury!

I can see myself Live Just Above the Line on many occasions from here on. When I did LBL last year for a month I continued to do LBL every Monday for the few months after. I think I can take it to another level this year – not by doing LBL more as I really need to put on a little weight but to live, eat and act simply, meaningfully and appreciatively.

Less if often more as you will have gathered in my posts to now but Live Below the Line has given me an avenue to pursue and enjoy it in a way that I haven’t been able to do as easily in developed contexts.

I can only encourage others to think about doing a Live Below the Line meal, day or week – anytime and then enjoy the satisfaction of it and think about how you might look at doing it on a more regular basis… or I could sell this with – save money, eat healthy and feel great about the world around you!

Everything I could ever want in life – transport, accommodation (tent) and freedom to do it…

Then to tie it all back into the Live Below the Line cause – imagine what it would mean to someone who lives in extreme poverty FOR LIFE to double their earnings… and the scary things is it doesn’t usually go into food but to education and an attempt to create access and opportunity… amazing eh – they put up with so much and are so powerful to overcome these things everyday – that is my greatest appreciation from this trip so far!

Not much but means so much – access, opportunity & the future without extreme poverty…

Presenting Live Stream Global Poverty Project Presentation

So sorry to drop off the face of the earth – especially as it is the official Live Below the Line week but I have been busy… I have written the blogs for each day since day 25 just not posted them.

BUT I have some great news about a Global Poverty Project presentation live streaming tomorrow night that I will be presenting – see the details below!

AND I have been asked to project manage global polio eradication advocacy in Canada this summer – keep you in touch about that one…

So the info for the live stream GPP presentation I will be delivering at 7pm New York time from the New York Google office – 

Lots of Live Below the Line posts to follow this one but if you have had any burning LBL questions for me tune into the live stream and ask away or on twitter #LBLhangout
Hi Folks,
Anyone / Everyone can see a Global Poverty Project 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation live streamed this Thursday 7pm New York time from the Google office where I will be presenting.
Please send out to your networks and anyone who might be interested. Also a great opportunity for future presentation and engagement opportunities…
Many Thanks, d’Arcy.
Many people have said they would like to see a Global Poverty Project presentation that I give someday… well you have a chance on Thursday 10 May 7pm New York time!
I will be doing a live stream broadcast of the Global Poverty Project 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation from the NY Google office and through their new initiative – Hangouts in Google+. Google approached us with this amazing opportunity and we are expecting 100s from around the world to tune in. There is no sign up required just go to this link: tomorrow (Thursday) 7pm New York time (see your corresponding time slot below).
There will also be a Q&A session at the end so have your questions ready and twitter loaded (#LBLhangout).
For a guide to times of the presentation see below:
Thursday 7pm New York time is…
Thursday 4pm Pacific time
Thursday 5pm Mountain time
Thursday 6pm Central time, Peru, Mexico
Thursday 8pm Brazil, Argentina
Friday 12am in London
Friday 1am Paris, Berlin, etc…
Friday 2am Ethiopia
Friday 5.30am India
Friday 7am Perth and Beijing
Friday 8am Japan
Friday 8.30am Adelaide, Darwin
Friday 9am Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart
Friday 10am Vanuatu
Friday 11am New Zealand
Happy to answer any poverty, polio and or Live Below the Line questions as I will also be on my second to last day of Live Below the Line (living on less than $1.50/day for all my food and drink) for 5 weeks!!! (
Love to see you join in on this great opportunity to share the GPP presentation, what I do and an opportunity to join the movement that can see an end to extreme poverty…
That very special link again to see the GPP presentation 27 hours from now…
PS. CANADIANS… in June and July I will be travelling across Canada for global polio eradication advocacy – would be great to catch up and let me know if you want me to present to schools, businesses, Rotary clubs, churches and more…

One of over 120 presentations I have given but the one tomorrow will be my first online!

Skype: lunny06
Teacher, Global Poverty Project Presenter, Volunteer and Advocate
Cycling, Swimming, Presenting and Living Below the Line in the US and Canada this April & May – and Then heading across Canada for global polio eradication advocacy

Clarifying my version of Live Below the Line from the past 4 weeks

I need to make some very serious comments and points from my last blog post.

  • I did not starve myself intentionally on my trip – that was never the objective
  • I do not suggest or recommend anyone do what I did and it is very different to the official Live Below the Line campaign which is 5 days and not designed to starve people
  • My health is fine and I unfortunately have been in ‘skinny situations’ many times before from living in developing countries
  • I knew I had reached my limits and did something about it – I am eating more and exercising less

The important messages I was trying to get across were:

  • I first and foremost tried to replicate what it must be like to live in extreme poverty
  • It proved that with the amount of energy needed to do the hard heavy labouring work people do in extreme poverty compared with calorie intake it is simply not enough
  • I can choose to end my trip, eat more and stop exercising, people in extreme poverty can’t and if they must stop, they suffer because of it – reduced work, lack of income, increased hunger, etc
  • For the majority of people to get insights into extreme poverty the normal Live Below the Line 5 day challenge is the way to do it
    • I am experienced in what I did and I knew what I was doing, although I had not expected the hunger pains! I was also consulting with people throughout

Please please please do not think what I did is what you should do, do not get angry at me for doing what I did and no not think I would try to deliberately harm myself…

What I have learnt from this experience is significant and it should be seen as an insight into what I have done is nothing compared with 1.4 billion people who endure more and forever in our world.

Whatever feeling you have from my trip I only hope it will result in better understanding, perspectives, insights, resolve and action to make this beautiful world of ours shared so we can all have enough to eat, clean water to drink, access to health and education and be able to enjoy the most simple things in life…

The blog post from yesterday is now a few days old and my physical journey has ended in Portland as I had planned. I will now join in with 1000’s of others around the world taking part in the official Live Below the Line campaign from New York giving presentations, eating and relaxing and also proving that you can put on weight during Live Below the Line!!!

I got a few friends together for a Dine Below the Line dinner which meant 50c a head for food but great variety and quantity! Just what I needed…

Please feel free to write to me, add comments, concerns, frustrations and I will address them if you have issues built up from my last post.

Happy Live Below the Line week and join in or support those who are taking on the challenge! I am kind of looking forward to finishing on Friday but more importantly the resolve I will carry with me far past this Friday…


I have an energy debt…

Day 24

Not a great sight but the reality of how 1.4 billion probably look without scales telling them they need to eat more…

It is currently 5.09am and I have been awake with hunger pains for about an hour as has been happening for the past three mornings or so. The headaches are stronger and I can feel my hip bones wanting to pierce the skin as I lay flat on my back smoothing my hands over them and my concave stomach.

My body feels like it is starting to eat itself – which in reality it probably is…

It is day 24 for me doing Live Below the Line and in my 1000 mile journey that was meant to be by bicycle but because of my knee I wasn’t able to complete the cycling component. However I have managed almost 500km of cycling, 200km of walking and over 6km of swimming.

I believe I am now in an energy debt that is having an effect on my body. I feel like I am starting to loose muscle and my sinew is now my strength. I have been in this energy debt before when I was living in Ethiopia with lack of food variety and decent clean drinking water while training and then completing a marathon for my 30thbirthday. I did it to raise funds for the orphanage in the town I was living in. I am not going to let myself get to that level again (I was healthy but a bit on the skinny side…).

Also the hunger temptations are becoming almost impossible. I am not much lighter than when I started as I am now 62kg (137 pounds) compared with my starting weight of 68kg (148 pounds). But I really wonder what exactly I have lost in those 6kg – it feels significant.

I will complete the time challenge I have set myself for Live Below the Line which was for five weeks and join 1000’s of other next week for the official 5 days of Live Below the Line May 7-11 but the exercise needs to stop and I need to decrease the current energy/calorie debt I have, that is of course after a 55km [32mile] cycle to the train today to return back to Portland!).

The biggest debt I feel though is indebted to the 1.4 billion people who HAVE to struggle like this everyday, most for their whole lives. I am also indebted to the Live Below the Line campaign and challenge for the incredible insights, perspectives, conversations, inspirations and realities it has created for me and those I have come across and hopefully those who have read a blog or two.

I strongly suggest that no one should take on the Live Below the Line challenge in the way that I have for health reasons (and mental!) but even more passionately I suggest that no one in the world should have to face similar challenges without their choice…

It’s a shame it has taken such an energy debt for me to feel this so strongly again as I do when I am in developing countries but I am thankful for these feeling and the learning it has brought. If you feel concerned or angry at me convert it into inspiration (or frustration) to take action…

Join the campaign and Live Below the Line next week May 7-11 to learn like you may never have before or support those generously who are taking on this challenge to encourage them and for the amazing effective programs associated with Live Below the Line like the Global Poverty Project and more so they can lead the movement that can see an end to extreme poverty.

Don’t want to Live Below the Line but keen to donate? Sure…


US –

End note – I have been eating (remaining bagels [in budget]) and resting all day and slept much better!

Happy and Healthy!

$1.50 a day is small change for a major change…

Day 23

A portal in the clouds for a Seattle sunrise!

  • Seattle sunrise and back to Olympia
  • Breakfast: Whole-wheat bagel with lentils on top!
  • Lunch: Leftover corn bread and ¼ cold boiled yam (not boiled in cold water, cold after boiling the day before)
  • Dinner: Bagel and sunflower butter – bit crazy on the bagels but can’t carry them all now back on the road travelling and ate less than I though I would so far!

A fantastic presentation at Washing University with International students – they all want the Global Poverty Project in their home countries including Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Japan, Brazil and many more!

Live Below the Line is proving to be quite transformational for me again this year and it has me renewing my usual crazy New Year Resolutions and looking at some new ones or making certain promises and commitment to myself that I would like to perpetuate in everyday life that I have learned so far on this trip.

  • Eating to live as opposed to living to eat is a healthy attitude from time to time – to take a step back from having fantastic delicious meals all day everyday and to appreciate some simple beans and rice or lentils and onion
  • Walking, riding and swimming are worth spending time on – the days where I walk or ride for at least 4 hours have been great and has been time well spent
  • Healthy body… healthy mind… allowing myself to take time to do things, exercise and time to think, contemplate and reflect
  • A great diet, maybe not enough, but certainly a good basis for healthy eating on oats, lentils, vegies, rice, pasta etc… would be nice to have more fruit though!
  • Eating locally, in season and unprocessed  -basically you can’t afford anything that is pre-made and it all comes from natural basics – basically nothing from a factory or using heaps of resources to produce or be shipped
  • Interaction – with people and nature. The simple free things in life become important, meaningful and fulfilling – especially meeting people and talking
  • Transport of walking or riding to get from A to B I have been loving – even if it will take a couple of hours or a day. Best when the weather is nice but humbling when its not and I like making the time and enjoying the trip

I will be banging on about the richness of simplicity in the next few blogs so I’ll save those thoughts for now.

  • Did I also forget it is extremely powerful for insights and understanding in to how 1.4 billion people live everyday and how your efforts can made a massive difference to them in advocacy and sponsorship!!!

All I can say is that Live Below the Line is one the most transformational experiences I believe you can have in the developed world to understand, appreciate and be inspired by the way people live in the developing world.

Are you doing Live Below the Line NEXT MONDAY? You should – it’s a life changer and a great one at that!

Sign up through the Global Poverty Project and find out more here

OR have you sponsored me yet…?



Dine Below the Line – 50 cents a head all inclusive food, drinks and entertainment!

Day 22

  • Seattle – Fremont and U District (Uni of Washington area). Now not recording my physical attributes, except that today was an 8km walk day 😉
  • Breakfast: oats, orange peel, dash of cinnamon and water
  • Snacks: piece of bread with ¼ banana on it
  • Lunch: pasta in broth of ramen sachet with ¼ yam and small slice of corn bread
  • Dinner: Big slice of corn bread and ½ yam boiled earlier

I think one of my lowest exercise days but biggest eating days – bout time I think as I am feeling the cold a lot (it could just be cold) and my chin is getting a little sharp. Day should be remembered for a nice intimate presentation at Recycled Cycles in Seattle…

This blog though is about Dine Below the Line and a dinner I have organised with friends this Saturday night which is also cinco de mayo (5th of May) celebration for the Latin American community in Portland. You should also organise your own Dine Below the Line too… especially for next Wednesday in the official Live Below the Line week!

Dine Below the Line

This Saturday 5 May – Cinco de Mayo – lets have a fiesta! With a little difference…

Lets Dine Below the Line – Basically a shared meal for 50c per person!

Time: Saturday 6pm

Location: My friend’s house, Portland


Being cinco de mayo I think we can make it a Latin American theme and I know I have lived below the line in many of those countries…

Please RSVP and write what you will bring. I suggest we bring a 50c plate of something each – put your name next to your choice and depending on the number of people just double up on some things

Rice –

Beans –

Tortillas –

Lentils – d’Arcy,

Picante sauce or salsa –

Drinks (max 50c as well) –

Other…? –

My suggestion is to not get too tasty as more is usually better and ANYTHING you use must have a cost even that little pinch of salt or rotten tomato!

For free will be:

Good people, good conversation, good thoughts, good learning! Might even show a few slides and stories.

Many Thanks






d’Arcy Lunn

Global Poverty Project Advisor, Advocate and Ambassador

Skype: Lunny06


Cycling, Swimming, Presenting and Living Below the Line in the US and Canada this April & May – http://lunnyLBTL.wordpress.com and