Simple Living: Less is More

The author shares his story about simple living and the idea that less is more, includes paring down belongings, portable shelters and building a simple lifestyle.

| December 2002/January 2003

Learn about simple living and low-cost ways to live with less commercial consumption.

Simple Living: Homesteading

I once lived in a log cabin with a window that framed the ski runs above Sun Valley, Idaho. Off from work one day, some friends and I explored a remote canyon road in an old Chevy. After bouncing along for an hour we came to a dead end. There, sitting in a grove of Aspen trees was the most beautiful sight I'd ever seen: A towering white-canvas tipi, sitting like Buddha — simple and utterly perfect.

No one seemed to be around so we nervously rolled back the door flap and peeked inside. There in the nestlike dwelling was a mattress covered with thick down sleeping bags, an old trunk with clothes spilling out and a shelf lined with rice, crackers, bottled water and some French bread. In the center, surrounded by blackened pots, there was a still-warm rock fireplace. We thought we had a glimpse inside heaven.

All the way back to town we discussed the purity of living in such a fashion and how with some common sense and a little hard work, we could achieve that kind of purity for ourselves.

I've noticed that most people's homes are high-maintenance money drains. Every day people have to leave their homes to go to work so they can pay off their mortgage. I wanted the chance to build a simple, affordable home in which I could spend my time, rather than all my money.

It was easy for us rowdy young carpenters to dream and make grand statements about living free. But before long, responsibilities to parents and girlfriends, then wives, children and bosses, made our dreams seem childish and unrealistic. Like generations before us, we obediently marched onward.

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