Mindful Simple Life With Less for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle

Discover the importance of living a mindful simple life with less and focusing on happiness. I discuss my mindset and introduce you to three other bloggers who each have their own unique approach to mindful simple living.

Mindful Simple Life With Less Manifesto

I have shared my Mindful Simple Life With Less Manifesto many times here on my Mindful Explorer blog with the last major recap in my post; Little Spark to a Big Change . In that post I outlined my list of mindful strategies to help me achieve that lifestyle.

  • Decrease our footprint by Reducing our possessions & finding a highly walkable town
  • Own less, spend less and intelligently Save at a rate far higher than the national average
  • Sell off the Excess in our life such as overpriced new vehicles, used is good
  • Embrace a lifestyle that focuses on spending time in the outdoors
  • Strive for constant Mindfullness and Positivity to make a difference to those around us
  • Achieve financial independence to retire early and live a more meaningful life
  • Focus on only what brings Happiness to our lives , the highest ROI

3 Ways To Approach Mindful Simple Life With Less

My life in its current state did not just happen organically on its own. The mindset I have, the financial position I am in, and the love for the outdoors I possess was an evolution through reading and engaging with other bloggers. I am very thankful that others took the time to share their stories and create wonderful helpful blogs. Knowing what I benefited and cultivated from others I wanted to share that with you here.

I have asked three different bloggers with different ideas of what a mindful simple life with less looks like. The common theme among them all is that they have a passion for the outdoors like me so that helped me choose who to share with you here on Mindful Explorer.

Before we jump right into their stories here is a brief introduction for all three.

Welcome to Our Financial Independence Guest Bloggers

Steve from Think Save Retire was one of the first bloggers that comes to mind. Not only does he write great content, live a digital nomadic life I one day want to try but he has also helped me in being a better blogger over the last few years. He writes on his website intro “I retired from full-time work at the ripe ol’ age of 35 to a life of freedom and travel in our 2005 Airstream Classic travel trailer that we’ve named “Charlie”. Yup, we’re good like that and name our house. 🙂 ”

Accidental Fire became a staple for my reading as his passion for mountaineering and mindset shifting away from the corporate world clicked with me. On his blog he lays out in his bio that “I’m focused on living a more rewarding life, especially one that doesn’t involve a mandatory 40-hour sentence in an office every week dealing with crap.  My version of a more rewarding life includes copious time in the outdoors and in nature, usually doing human-powered adventures.”

Bob at Tawcan lives in the same region of the PNW that I do and we have very similar interests which includes the outdoors and photography. On his blog he writes “I’m a millennial, frugalist, investor, portrait & wedding photographercookbook author, and outdoor enthusiast. My wife and I started our quest for joyful life and financial independence in 2011. I use this blog to chronicle our quest for joyful life and financial independence.”

Simple life with less chris istace mindful explorer

Think Save Retire on a Simple Life With Less

We live in an amazing world that most of us don’t get to truly experience. Part of the problem is our reliance on stuff. On things. Our lifestyles drive us away from the great outdoors, and my wife and I noticed that same phenomenon happening with us – until about three years ago.

Living a simple life allows us to experience much more of our natural world than we ever could have imagined. About three years ago, we sold almost everything we owned (including two homes) and bought an Airstream travel trailer that we now live in full-time. We travel for a living, often with a light-weight camera in hand. We love every minute of exploring our surroundings without the added burden of, well, complications that materialize from our things.

My wife and I found that living a more simple life has allowed us much more freedom to explore. The fewer things we have, the less time we spend maintaining those things. And working to pay for them. Instead, we spend the time that we would have spent using/futzing with all that stuff outside instead, traveling from state to state, getting our boots sandy in our national parks and tasting local cultural flair (usually in the form of beer!) everywhere we go.

Best of all, we don’t feel as if we’re “sacrificing” a traditional life full of stuff. We human beings possess a remarkable ability to conform to our surroundings and adjust to environmental change. We live in a 200 square foot trailer, a far cry from our 1,600-foot abodes that we used to call home. But even in this small of a space, our needs are completely satisfied. We feel happy, healthy and energetic darn near every day. Our relatively simple lives allow us to devote energy only to those activities that truly bring us happiness.

Our carbon footprint is incredibly small. We live for weeks at a time out in the middle of nature and provide our own power through solar. Hiking, biking and exploring very often fill our days, and we return each day to our little 200 square foot space that provides everything that we could possibly need.

Living simply is simply amazing. Steve


Enjoy this video from Steve and his wife when they recapped their favourite 2017 views from the road in their digital nomad life of financial independence. This is a great page from their website also that recaps how you can put your own plan into action, Do You Want to Retire Early

Accidental Fire On A Simple Life With Less

When Chris messaged me about this post he asked for some words on how living simply and personal finance allow me to pursue my passion of outdoor sports.  I thought about it and suggested the opposite.  What if I write about how my love of nature and outdoor sports grounds me and helps me live a simpler and more deliberate life?

Or how about both?  In reality for me at least, they’re symbiotic.

Throughout my career I’ve worked hard and often long hours to get ahead.  Almost all of it in an office, in front of a computer.  That might sound incompatible with an outdoor lifestyle, but it’s actually the opposite.  It demands nature and outside time to rebalance and recalibrate.

For the majority of us, the daily noise of meetings, technology, and business meld into a constant background-hum of stress.  While necessary for a successful career and income, this lifestyle can only be sustained when countered with periods of peace, quiet, solitude, and physical effort in nature.  That’s been my reality.

Effective recharging doesn’t happen by USB port or plug, it happens in their absence.

In the truest sense, my adventures in nature directly inform and guide my lifestyle.  They teach me lessons no book, blog, or mentor can.  I learn the most from those long, epic excursions that demand self-sufficiency and physical suffering, and involve unplanned set backs.   When all you have is some thin plastic fabric for shelter, a sleeping bag, and a metal cup, you forget complexity and appreciate simplicity.  You learn to demand less, find gratitude in the basics, and to stop and stare.  In business terms, you “de-scope the project”.  Your life is ultimately the project after all.

Nature, and particularly wilderness, remind me of my smallness and insignificance.  That I’m temporary, and replaceable.  Just like in my job.

The evolutionary story of humans is over 99.9% set in nature.  To pretend that an abrupt break in that story has not upset the apple cart is illogical, if not foolish.  There’s a growing school of research showing that nature is where we feel most comfortable and free of our distractions, inertia, and addictions. John Muir once said, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity”.  For me, the curative effects of nature are self-evident, and it’s where I will always find balance and seek meaning.

Live simple with less Chris Istace Mindful Explorer Accidental Fire

Accidental Fire climbing Vinson Massif is in the Ellsworth Mountains of Antarctica


One a side topic this post that AF wrote on Fred Beckey the Original Dirtbag is awesome.

Tawcan On A Simple Life With Less

Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) is a bit of the internet hype lately. More and more major media outlets are publishing stories about FIRE. Unfortunately too many of these articles focus solely on the Retire Early (RE) part and paint the wrong image of what FIRE is really about. I get it, writing about early retirement is sexier than writing about being financially independent. Sex sells and that is why these major media outlets are doing it.

To me, retire early or not is not critical. The more important aspect is becoming financial independence to gain freedom and power in life. Along the financial independence journey, we need to learn how to become more mindful of our time, the environment, our health, and our time. The aim, is, to learn and grow, so we can become a better version of ourselves every day.

Technically my wife and I are financially independent but we choose not to. We decided to slow down our approach to FIRE. So, I continue to work in the high-tech world because I enjoy what I do and my wife is staying home with our young kids. When our kids start school, my wife plan to resume her holistic healing career to help people. We plan to continue to generate income by doing things that we enjoy. Therefore, work will have a completely different meaning. For examples, my photography side business has allowed me to express my artistic side and my blog has created an outlet to express my thoughts. While both these are generating some income, I simply don’t see them as work.

Back in my bachelor days, I used to do a lot of outdoor adventures. I rock climbed, I hiked, I summited pointy mountains, I skied, I kayaked, and so on. Although I had a demanding full-time engineer job, I prioritized, and I made tim to do these activities that I truly enjoyed. I was being mindful of my time. Now with two little kids, I don’t spend as much time with outdoor expeditions. Instead, I make time to be with my wife and my kids. I make mindful conscious decisions, so I can spend quality time with them. For examples, before breakfast, I often spend 5 or 10 minutes playing Lego with my kids while my wife gets ready. Recently, I have been turning wifi and data off on my phone when I am at home, so my evenings do not get interrupted by notifications. And my wife and I sit down and have hygge every night when the kids are in bed to continue build on our relationship.

Along our FI journey, we have realized that there are many levels to being mindful. Step one is being mindful of your time and yourself. Step two is being mindful externally. We have become more mindful consumers by doing our parts conserving the environment. After all, FIRE would not matter to any of us if we end up living in a post-apocalyptic type of world.

Simple Life with Less Chris Istace Mindful Explorer Bob Lai Tawcan

Bob enjoying a successful summit in beautiful British Columbia

Tawcan  : https://www.tawcan.com/

Simple Life With Less Final Thoughts

As you can see from my thoughts to each of those presented by the guest bloggers is that an individual’s approach can differ greatly. What the key take away is that if you adopt a mindful approach to a simple life with less, and financial independence you can achieve happiness as well as a healthier lifestyle. I am sure through discovering this lifestyle for yourself that it will become a new passion to guide your life.

In the article of mine from 2016 that I shared at the start of this post, blogger Physician on Fire commented on the post. He pointed out that this lifestyle took over his mindset and he referenced the movie Inception with a line from Leonardo DeCaprio which I really liked.

What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An Idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed – fully understood – that sticks, right in there somewhere.

My hope is that you enjoyed this post and I would love hearing your feedback. Are you considering making a change in your life or are you already well under way in the simple life with less manifesto? Thanks for reading and always #ExploreBeyondTheUsual


Join the discussion 20 Comments

  • Team CF says:

    Great post and some stunning photo’s and video you guys! Nice, makes me want to leave for our 9 European road trip right now 🙂

    • Chris Istace says:

      Thanks for stopping by to check out the post CF and really glad you enjoyed it. I need to swing by your site and see what this road trip is all about as I am a huge fan of those if you have taken a peek around my site.

  • We have been working to make our simple life with less for the past 4 years or so, and have been amazed by the progress we’ve made. It’s great seeing these three guys’ stories together and summarized this way.
    But I especially enjoyed your bullet points at the start of the post. I will definitely be coming back to those points since I have not yet read your manifesto!

    • Chris Istace says:

      I am always shocked when I look back at what the power of habit has on our lives. With the changes you have seen in the past 4 years just imagine what the next 4 will bring. Thanks for the kind words about my bullet points too, I take great pride in that guiding manifesto 🙂

  • Nice post Chris! This has been on my mind a lot lately (doesn’t help that you introduced me to the mustacheians) and this post hits the nail on the head!

    • Chris Istace says:

      Hopefully all the extra reading that the FI world and MMM content out there helps you build that lifestyle that brings the most happiness to you. It is a great mindset and philosophy to adopt especially as you strive to build Adventographer and become more of a digital nomad possible.

  • Great interview. They all have similar outlooks. We don’t need to spend a lot of money to enjoy life. Nature is available to all of us and it’s much healthier than spending a lot of time indoor.

    • Chris Istace says:

      You summarized it perfectly Joe, it makes me smile that you see that and appreciate it. Also I really enjoyed your podcast with Pete at DYEB. I listened to it as I walked my dog last week, now I need to go read your daughters’s blog post to see the real talent in the family lol.

  • Tawcan says:

    Thanks Chris for putting this together. It’s really cool to read the other perspectives about FIRE and being mindful.

  • aGoodLifeMD says:

    Awesome stories guys. I love following this crew. Like Tawcan Im not sold on RE. Plus We’re still basking in the glow of recent FI. Motivating paths to follow regardless.

    Physician on FIRE turned me onto the RE, common sense turned me onto the FI.

    Love the pics.

    • Chris Istace says:

      Thanks for stopping by and checking out the collaboration I put together here. I really enjoyed the diversity and different perspectives each offer. Myself I’m FI but took that as an opportunity to work on my passion of writing, photography and blogging. POF is a great blogger too. Thanks for the pic compliment , did you check out my gallery by chance? Cheers ~ Chris

  • It really is no surprise that us FIRE folks are big on the outdoors. I’d much rather be out on the trails then hanging out in a big house (that I then have to clean!)

  • Loved this post Chris (and Steve, Bob & Accidental Fire). Great stories and mindsets on living a more simple yet fulfilling and adventurous life. Lots of takeaways and ideas to ponder here

    I miss the beauty of the Pacific Northwest but try to make the most of exploring the great outdoors as best possible here in southern Ontario…all your photos on the site help bring back those BC memories!

    • Chris Istace says:

      Thanks for stopping by and reading each of the perspectives and stories regarding the outdoors and lifestyle.

      As for BC, moving here in my pursuit of financial independence was a good decision. I have fallen in love with the beauty and grown my passion for the outdoors.

  • Stumbled across this post through Rockstar Finance and knew I had to read it. This mindset has definitely gotten into my mind and taken hold. I’ve been living and working in Sydney, Australia the last 3 years, and come the end of this month, we’re selling all our possessions and starting out on a world adventure through Asia and Europe with only backpacks. Not sure what waits in the future once I return to the U.S., but this same mindset will stick with me for sure.

    • Chris Istace says:

      Enjoy your last bit of time in Australia and your upcoming adventure sounds great. To me the key thing with trips like this is to first and foremost to ensure your financial health and “foundation” is set. This will allow you to enjoy that trip with a piece of mind. Find a way to put your funds from selling all your possessions into a place that will work for you while you are traveling. Best Wishes on your new Adventure

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