Meet Dan Price, a real life hobbit who has been living in his underground hole in Oregon for the past twenty years. He manages to survive with only $5,000 a year – $100 of which goes on the rent for the land he resides under – and doesn’t believe in “houses or mortgages.”
Dan used to be an office job type of guy, working as a photojournalist in order to support himself, his wife and their two kids and pay the mortgage on their house. He didn’t really give his life too much thought until he read a book by Harlan Hubbard which described an existence without the everyday commodities of modern life. After reading the book, Dan soon packed his bags and moved to a peaceful meadow where he tried out various housing options- a cabin, a flophouse and a tepee, before settling in the hobbit house he lives in today. The 8-foot hole in the ground barely accommodates Dan, a stove, his books, a CD player and some clothes, but it’s everything he really needs. Price, who wants to live a life without stress says “everything is at arm’s length when you are sitting there. It’s human scale. The idea is that you can see everything, no fumbling for stuff – that creates stress.”
Despite his primitive living conditions, Dan does have electricity, a phone for which he pays $53 a month and a MackBook Air for internet surfing purposes, as he still wants to be connected to the outside world. “I like being able to do what I want to do,” Dan explains. To pay for these necessities, he sketches the Moonlight Chronicles magazine, which costs only $5 per issue. He also sketched a book on the unusual hobbit lifestyle called “My Tiny House” and was published under the pseudonym The Hoboartist. To make ends meet, he works several jobs as well, including taking care of the lawn in a cemetery. “‘It’s a non-stressful, outdoor job, and one where people around you are unlikely to do your head in with office politics,” he says.
Photo: Offbeat home
Since his move to the woods, the real-life Hobbit has time for more relaxing activities. He spends his days working on the online magazine, reading traveling and landscaping and says that he has always admired people who can build a house and re-shape land, so he just read books on the subject and surfed the internet for ideas until he mastered the skill himself. The heath now features a few ponds that he dug up himself, a toilet, sauna, shower with electrically heated water and a garage for his trike. Dan is happy that he gets to do everything he likes without any compromise or the stress of a 9-to-5 job. “I used to work as a photojournalist with regular crazy hours. The problem is, people have their lives organized so they are the slaves. Basically, the average person spends a ton of their time working for very little money, just to survive. I spend a very little of my time working for enough money to not just survive, but do what I love – draw and travel,” Dan concludes.
Photo: Offbeat home