The way in which Dan Price lives his life will change the way you look at your own, proving that you don’t need lots of money and possessions to be happy. He lives in a hobbit style hut he built himself from scrap wood, and survives on just $5,000 a year.
Dan entering his house he calls the ‘Hobbit hole’ which he built by himself Joseph, northeast Oregon. Costing him only $75 to build, it spans eight-feet across in the shape of a circle, and has a four-feet high slopped roof. Rather than worry about space, he is more concerned about the basics. “The things I need are food, clothing, shelter”.
Price prepares simple meals. He has just one spoon, one fork and one knife. Since he does not have a refrigerator, he uses water instead of milk on his cereal.
This is “Moonlight Chronicles”, an illustrated journal of his life’s adventures, produced over a span of 20 years. This small booklet earns him a modest income, allowing him the approach sponsors for necessities such as tents and clothing in exchange for a mention in his journal.
Price has no running water, so doing the washing involves visiting the river than runs along side his property. Price said, “What happens when you get richer and richer is you dream of making a paradise for yourself”.
“What I have here is what rich people have.”
Price is seen here clearing brush from a cottonwood tree that he felled the day before, where he has lived for 23 years. He removes one every year, and replaces those with evergreens. He rents the property he lives on for just $100 a year.
Price doesn’t bother buying new tools, and prefers to buy them from a garage sale or on Craigslist. He makes sure not to be wasteful so he uses them until they are so broken they can no longer be used.
In order to keep fit, price curls a barbell he made from scrap metal and concrete. He hasn’t had health insurance in over 3 years. His last trip to the hospital was for a kidney stone, where he picked up a $3,000 bill.
Price doesn’t own a car either. Instead he chooses to get around either on foot or by pedalling which also keeps him fit. Here he can be seen riding his recumbent tricycle. He managed to get sponsored by a tricycle manufacturer and went on a 4,500 mile journey which he documented in his journal.
Price buys a file for just six dollars to sharpen his friends chainsaw before cutting down a tree where he lives.
“People get this real high when they buy something. That’s why they buy stuff all the time. I’m the opposite. When I buy something I get this depressed feeling.”
Here, Price is helping to take down a teepee at a Nez Perce Native American photo exhibit in Joseph. He volunteers here because of his expertise he gained when he lived in a teepee, before he built his hobbit hole.
“When we got here in 1865 there wasn’t one bucket of concrete anywhere, telephone poles, fences, barbed wire, roads. And yet they had lived here successfully for thousands of years without touching the environment. That was the hugest thing that ever happened in my head. Apparently the hunter gatherer types had all kinds of free time. And so that really impressed upon me – I’m not gonna do what every one else is doing. I’m going to go a whole different direction.”
During a low point when there weren’t many sponsorships for his journal, Price applied for a job as a caretaker for the local cemetery.
“It was like a revelation. Caretaker, there’s something so cool about that word. Like being a monk. I love mowing and taking care of a place. I wanted the job so badly I started cleaning up [the grounds] before I got the job.”
He worked there for two years, earning $475 a month. The lifestyle that Dan Price chooses to live should be an inspiration to us all. He has created a stress and worry free lifestyle that most people work all their lives to achieve.