Simple Life History

By Dan Price

In 1990, I moved back to my home state of Oregon intent on living in a tipi and getting rid of mortgages or rent. I looked for a suitable piece of property for months and finally located a 2 acre meadow next to the Wallowa River near the town of Joseph. The owners agreed that I could set up a tipi there in exchange for clearing downed trees and repairing the fence lines. A few months later I moved out of a small room up town and into the tipi full time. I spent three seasons in that 16 ft tipi.

In order to simplify, I sold the tipi and built a 9 ft X12ft red willow hut, complete with carpeting and blanket door and proceeded to live in that space for 2 years. Luckily I was able to put in underground electricity early on so was able to have lights and a small heater which helped in the winter months. The came a time when my Moonlight Chronicle zine got a corporate sponsorship from Simple Shoes in California and I spent the next 4 years mostly traveling around drawing and writing.

Back in the meadow I took down the hut and would erect a 4-season mountain tent when staying there. Eventually I built a tiny building (6 ft X10 ft) and lived in it for a year or so until it got robbed. I lost $5000 worth of cameras and computers!

So I dug into the hill side and made a tiny (8 ft) underground room with a skylight. This structure is basically burglar proof and I enjoy the coziness of such a small space, which is also easy to heat and cool. I have now been in the “Hobbit House” for almost 10 years.

To learn more about Dan visit

I would say that it may give our planet a big, much needed rest if more people choose to scale down on their living spaces. For me the old saying “Less is More” has become a motto. Less always makes me a happier human.

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deryk - October 25, 2011 Reply

Very nice, much smaller then my boat, but I agree small spaces are better.

deborah - October 25, 2011 Reply

For sure! This is happiness and contentment without all the stress one has to normally deal with on a daily basis. Congratulations on finding the answer so early on… - October 25, 2011 Reply

Dan has some videos up on utube and a web site he has been spending the winters surfing in Hawaii he lives an interesting life to be sure.

Bob H - October 25, 2011 Reply

What an interesting tale & life style.

Dale Foster - October 25, 2011 Reply

This is great! I would love to know more about the construction of the ‘hobit house’, and some progress pics of the process.

gregory - October 25, 2011 Reply

Bravo! I think I have a new hero! You are an enlightened man.

ginmar - October 25, 2011 Reply

Oh, wow, did you lay that wondeful patio? That looks so wonderful and cozy. I, too, second the request for more pictures.

MBee - October 25, 2011 Reply

This is absolutely extraordinary.

Michele - October 25, 2011 Reply

I’m so glad to see Dan Price on this blog! I’ve been following his Moonlight Chronicles and reading his books for years. An extraordinary guy making extraordinary choices.

mike - October 25, 2011 Reply

that underground one is crazy nice! same with the dome tent thing… very unique…

Deek - October 25, 2011 Reply

“Radical Simplicity”- one of my faves- in my top ten tiny house book list on my blog. Dan, I tried to contact you for my book/input- but any publicists/book co. people (your past pub houses) didn’t reply. Oh well- Great book though. I’ve read it twice and passed it on to many.


LEE - October 25, 2011 Reply

I just finished reading “Radical Simplicity” for the third time on Saturday. Dan is also in Lloyd Kahns great book “Home Work” page 190 entitled Less is More. Peace, Love and Anarchy-Lee

BigGoofyGuy - October 25, 2011 Reply

I think it is a cool idea; especially as a retreat or cabin. As a place to live, I would need some thing bigger; big enough to have a bathroom and shower.

Where does he go to the bathroom or get clean? Still a way cool place. 🙂 - October 26, 2011 Reply

    He has a separate small building for that .

Michael in SoCal - October 25, 2011 Reply

This guy has just become my new personal hero! Been reading through his free issue of the Moonlight Chronicles. Just amazing stuff. As a fellow surfer, earth lover, earth builder, and writer, I am literally floored that this guy has done everything I have dreamed of. Thank you so much for posting this Kent! It really IS all possible!

In a blissful state,

bill - October 25, 2011 Reply

I really enjoyed Dans sight but , but where is the benifit to society , there is none..Just a hermit that lives in a hole in the ground. Food,shelter thats all that is really needed ?
He rides his bike, made in factory and designed by engineers.I assume he has seen a doctor in the last 20 years or has taken meds or has purchased food that was made and packaged..Oh lets not forget the camera’s and computer and electricity.
He consumes the benefits of our socity (humane society).But seems the effects of the society,,Very strange….

    ginmar - October 25, 2011 Reply

    What a false choice THAT is. Why does he have to eschew all modern conveniences? The important thing is simplifying what one can.

    And for somebody criticizing someone else for using a computer while you use one yourself….. - October 25, 2011 Reply

    the benefits …well the model of a small foot print living in the now saving the planet, low carbon footprint, lifestyle design ,is compelled to consume to contribute and return a certain amount of value measured by who and what standard ?

    where is the balance ? hardly a hermit if you read his travels. beacause he does not drive a car and live in a house and work at a “job” and consume the planets resources like all the other americans he does not contribute ? I guess he is just more conscious damn you Dan 😉

Deek - October 26, 2011 Reply

I would definitely consider his spreading the message (via books, internet, tours) of being content and living with less, especially in this day and age, as a contribution to society.

alice - October 26, 2011 Reply

Not everyone can have a life like this, but he’s not a drag on ‘society’ either. He takes care of his needs and wants by trading his knowledge and skills. By consuming less he leaves more for others to share – isn’t that a benefit? By being an inspiration to others to show that living lower on the economic scale doesn’t have to mean misery, isn’t that also a benefit? He’s more symbiote than parasite and that’s a good measure of worth in my estimation. If a person is considered of lesser worth because they don’t pay a lot in taxes how much lower are those that waste the taxes?

Sarah - October 26, 2011 Reply

wow, that is amazing! a little safe space to lie down in is all we really need:)

Christina Nellemann - October 26, 2011 Reply

What a wonderful life and a wonderful little house. It’s nice to see a slice of old school with the Moonlight Chronicles.

Josh - October 27, 2011 Reply

Eventually I built a tiny building (6 ft X10 ft) and lived in it for a year or so until it got robbed. I lost $5000 worth of cameras and computers!

I think you mean it got burglarized; robbery requires assault. - October 27, 2011 Reply

    Your a real negative guy ,that’s a shame 🙁

      Josh - October 27, 2011 Reply

      I guess I am negative for being intelligent to know the difference between robbery and burglary. By the way, “your” is a possessive pronoun; what you wanted to use there is “you’re,” the contraction for “you are.”

        alice - October 27, 2011 Reply

        Shouldn’t that be “intelligent enough”? You wouldn’t happen to be a high school English teacher would you? I actually get a good laugh out of the corrections some of the time in spite of their pedantic nature. I can see that all those little spelling and grammar mistakes might tend to make a person cranky sometimes but . . .

          Josh - October 27, 2011 Reply

          You’re absolutely right, it should be “intelligent enough.” To answer your question, no, I’m not a High School English teacher…

 - October 27, 2011 Reply

          Feel better ?

        Josh - October 28, 2011 Reply

        Feel better ?

        Not necessarily. However, if I found out that someone now understood the difference between robbery and burglary, I would feel a little better. I feel good about teaching people things.

          rae - October 31, 2011 Reply

          Actually, I love to study words and I thought I knew more than is typical about our language, but I’d never realized the difference between burglarize and rob. I’m glad to know it. Thanks. I can see, though, how a bit more social grace and careful manners might have made that medicine go down better. There is an art to the nets. Sometimes, too much typing and not enough in person interactions does make us all cranky! - October 28, 2011 Reply

Awe cmon Kent that was fun needling the needler 🙂

Bea - October 29, 2011 Reply

Is there a companion in your life ? I wonder how
a woman would enjoy that little slice of solitude?
In the underground . Spiders? Snakes? Other
creepy crawlies? I think it is a wonderful idea and I could live in the wilderness but with a few more modern conveniences and a couple of mean dogs.

» Simple Life History – Dan Price life as practice - August 16, 2012 Reply

[…] Simple Life History So I dug into the hill side and made a tiny (8 ft) underground room with a skylight. This structure is basically burgerler proof and I enjoy the coziness of such a small space, which is also easy to h… […]

Dobby - August 26, 2012 Reply

I have wanted a tiny house for many years, however, I am not sure if I should sell my large house because by the time I figure in a couple acres, well, and septic system, I won’t be able to afford a tiny house. Does anyone know of any tiny house builders in Wisconsin? I am nearing retirement, live alone, and don’t have a lot of money to spend. Thanks.

Hooray! We are … « marieandtheappletree - October 7, 2012 Reply

[…] Hooray! We are now going forwards with our energy plan! I can tell you we have had some serious mental conundrums deciding what to do! For example, the components are from China, sadly thats all we could afford, and I do have concerns about working conditions of the local people there, but this is really where we are at with affordability. I’m sure the German made ones will probably last longer (depending on the warranty etc) but thats where we are at. Its Spring and yesterday we made over 8 KW on a 1.5KW system. I am stoked! Some of my friends use around that much every day. We have sat down and studied the difference between my household and theirs, and realized its the cooking and water heating creating the most draw down, and the dreaded PC! Eeek! So, we found a great second hand slow combustion stove with water jacket so we can cook and heat the water using our own firewood from our own property. We do plan to do solar cooking and rocket stove cooking in summer but frankly you need to heat these homes for 80 per cent of the year (at the latitude I live on). The other astounding realization is that this two year old house could do with a lot more insulation in the roof cavity, making me think the Building Code should really have more of a clue when it comes to energy efficiency. My In laws have a lovely warm home due to much better standards in design (including glass on the windows). I realize new houses off-gas particularly nasty chemicals, and this is why the standards for light and ventilation are so much in Australia (eg large windows and openings), but natural building materials (especially wood) are much better for everyone! This guy has taken simple efficient living to the next level, with much more severe climate extremes compared to here […]

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Chris - October 2, 2013 Reply

Thanks for sharing; we live “Less is more” also; not as extreme but congrats Dan!

Dan Price’s “My Tiny House” - January 28, 2016 Reply

[…] I loved it! I first learned about Dan Price though my good friend Kent Griswold’s website Tiny House Blog. When Kent published the article about Dan Price I immediately told him it was my favorite post on […]

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