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Extreme Simplicity

To live frugally means to live simply. Often it means downsizing your living space and possessions, eliminating what you don’t really “need”, to free you up for other opportunities. I’m come across three extreme examples of simple living over the past few weeks that might just motivate you to take the next step in your own simple living journey.

Some of the earliest micro-home dwellers chose this alternative lifestyle for environmental reasons. Smaller living spaces require fewer materials and less energy to maintain. Micro-homes may be as small as 100 square feet, use a flatbed trailer as their foundation, and maximize every bit of space, both vertically and horizontally. In lieu of a bedroom, there’s a raised loft above the living area with only a mattress. The stairs to the loft also serve as shelving for storage. Reclaimed building materials and solar panels serve to counteract the minor environmental impact of the space. Think motor home without the fuel use or driver’s seat. Some college students have obtained special permission to park their micro-home in a parking lot on campus as their living quarters. The home is paid-for, mobile, and close to campus. Add a bicycle and everything is covered for college living.

Ultra Romance
Speaking of bicycles, Benedict travels the world on his. Benedict, known online by the user name Ultra Romance, has chosen the simple life. He works six months out of the year and sees the world from a bicycle the rest of the year, living on only ten dollars per day. At ten dollars a day, he only has to save less than $2000 to live a life of travel. He doesn’t own a home or a car, sells bicycle parts on eBay, and keeps his savings in bags he buries in the ground. No mortgage, no car insurance, no utility bills, and a minimal grocery budget. Benedict forages for greens and berries while spending most of his food budget on chocolate. He would rather camp than sleep indoors. With years of experience assembling and repairing bicycles, he can now build whatever he needs with whatever parts he finds on Craigslist. He admits the lifestyle isn’t for everybody, but it works for him.

Road to Wanderlust
If bicycle camping makes you feel a bit too exposed, perhaps you would prefer to live out of your car. Chris Farley’s “motivational speeches” made living in a van next to a river sound like a bad thing, but Sam Salwei and Raquel Hernandez love the freedom the enjoy living in their Peace Love Car. These two yogis have put more than 400,000 miles on their little car, learned how to use solar panels to power their refrigerator, and managed to cook meals using heat from engine parts. Sam is (obviously) a grease monkey, so the car maintenance is never a deterrent for their lifestyle. In fact, the lifestyle and the lives of those living it has become an online documentary series. For those who find extreme simplicity to be more than they can handle, you can live vicariously by watching others do it.

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