Monday, March 20, 2023


The peace and satisfaction of “living small”

By Jimmy Smith
Time takes on interesting qualities out here in the land of no particular place to be and no rush. My view on that has been a decade in the making with many stops in between.

Last August, Sweet Julianne and I left our rather loosely organized life and our volunteer positions at our co-op RV park in Oregon, and set out on another drift around the USA. We have been traveling for five-plus months now, and all is as it should be. Swell. We say we are on our honeymoon and that feels right.

Living small

Exploring ‘living small’ continues to intrigue and attract me. In our 10 years of meandering, we have called ‘three different slide-in truck campers, two 5th wheel trailers, one B class motorhome, a destination trailer, and now a little A-frame pop up trailer’ – home.

Being infected with a fairly typical nasty disease called ‘desire,’ I have spent most of my entire life ‘wanting.’ No matter what I have claimed as mine, it seems that within short order, I have wanted something different, something more.

Of course this ‘malady’ gets a great deal of support and encouragement from many quarters in American culture. On our current voyage in our little, less than 100-sq-ft, RV I have relished living small. (I’ll keep you posted if I catch any new form of desire.)

A few deeper musings

Recently, a couple of my very best friends have been handed sobering health diagnoses. As I lay in my bed at night, my heart is sore. And it does not take much awareness to feel pain for all the suffering and chaos swirling around the daily news cycle.

It is quite a thing to square all that with my own deep state of gratitude and satisfaction with this life I call mine. As I rest here I wonder about how my own chips will fall. How will some ‘diagnosis’ attempt to derail my sense of deep gratitude and the ‘Thank You’ I use as my one prayer.

The sun is shining.

Time to step outside.

Jimmy Smith and his partner, Julianne Crane, began their extended RV exploration of the USA in 2009. Ten+ years later, they continue searching for sunsets to watch, trails to hike, streams to fish, lakes to paddle and new friends to get to know around warming campfires. Keep up with their travels at RV Wheel Life.



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Linda Stoffel
1 year ago

Great essay. Well written.

Joe A
3 years ago

Like to see their rig.

RV Staff
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe A

I think if you click on the link to RV Wheel Life at the bottom of the article, there are some pictures of their pop-up rig. 😀 —Diane at

Jimmy smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe A

If you visit there will be pictures of our rig and its various reconfigurations

Sink Jaxon
3 years ago

Great essay Jimmy…very thoughtful and touching. Safe travels friend.

Patrick Granahan
3 years ago

My son is in the process of selling his 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom home. He is a single guy and never should have bought this over sized castle. The costs were destroying his lifestyle.
I asked him what was his next home going to be. His answer was one I would never have thought of…..he is going to live on a boat in a marina!!!
Turns out that a few of his friends (also single guys) are also living in some very impressive
Yachts….seems these beautiful vessels purchased on the “used market” can cost very little.
The monthly marina docking fees are very reasonable (under $400 per month including use. Of the marina’s club house, gymnasium, pool and utilities!!!
I had suggested an RV for full time living but the Yacht won. He has no interest in ever leaving the dock…this will be his home.
I was shocked at the purchase price for this 38 foot beauty with new air conditioning, a new engine and interior in mint condition…..only $7,500….interior is similar to your average RV.
This sure beats the high cost of housing….location: coastal South Carolina.
Bigger is not better!

JBC Cripps
3 years ago

Beautifully written – ‘Thank You’

Donald N Wright
3 years ago

Which A frame do they have?

3 years ago

We have an Oregon built Chalet Model 1930XL

Jimmy smith
3 years ago

Chalet XL1930

3 years ago

Any discussion about wants and needs could get a little testy, because almost everyone I’ve met in my life has differing needs wants and aspirations. I think that’s why we meet so many different people travelling with so many different types of RV’s. For us we think we live the perfect life. We travel all summer in our 26 ft Sunseeker with one slide. We think this thing is a castle. We don’t need nor want anything bigger. When at home, I have a nice garage full of tools, welders, table saw and a life time of miscellaneous equipment to handle just about any task. I could never give that up. It would kill me to hand a hundred bucks to someone to weld 2 pieces of metal together, or change the oil in one of our vehicles. My wife has a very large speciality vase collection, she’s been putting together for a very long time which today may be the largest of it kind in existence.

I’m an automotive writer, having amassed over a 30 year period a very large library to draw upon. I’m an environment/ current events/ business politics/ human studies book fanatic so having a place to house this material is a very important part of my life.

For us it wouldn’t be possible, nor could we imagine a full time on the road scenario – We’d both get bored very quickly. Me maybe the stress of not knowing exactly where we’ll be able to find a spot from week to week, might shorten my life. We are not the type of folks comfortable in awning to awning situations nor do we gravitate to crowded elbow to elbow commercialism – trade shows – and the like. We love and cherish peace, freedom and space to breathe. That’s our ultimate goal in life and it has worked for over 50 years.

Ah, then there’s the volunteer work we do which is important, the hospital visits, and on and on.

As far as downsizing. We live in what I think is the most modest unassuming home in our community. It’s large enough to have everything we need in the way of space to be orderly, and small enough to not be a burden. Off a paved laneway we have a pad at the rear of the property which will accommodate five vehicles including our RV. The yard is zero maintenance natural features/landscape, so no water used. The house is triple insulated, with a foam/block lined foundation providing surreal insulating qualities. The water system is a tank less on demand system and so on. It’s all part of the perfect life for us two because we’re completely in control and most importantly – it’s ALL paid for – most important for us. The plate on the toad is NO PMTS, so If you see us wave hi, and if you park next door the coffee will always be on.

Jimmy smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Alvin

We’ll be over in a little while. Ha ha. Sure miss a few of my larger tools but I’m getting pretty good with a hand saw.
It is obvious that you folks have found your own perfect formula for “the life.”

Tommy Molnar
3 years ago

At some point in your life, you find out that every day is a blessing. Don’t throw any of them away.

Jimmy smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

I couldn’t state it better.

John vaughn
3 years ago

i read all about your travels .and wish we could do the same .we have 2015 Winnebago which we love .BUT , MY WIFE WANTS A HOME TO COME BACK TO. NOT ME HoME IS WhERE YOU PARK IT, JUST A FEW YEARS .IM GOING ON 73 .I DONT KNOW HOW MUCH TIME I HAVE , SO THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO ..WELL HAVE FUN, GOD BLESS YOU BOTH. JOHN IN PA.

Jimmy smith
3 years ago
Reply to  John vaughn

Hi John
I was raised in Pa. Up the Allegheny River country. You know there are always trades. My sweet wife can’t handle elevations above 4000 feet and some of my favorite country is in the mountains of Oregon. So we ply the lower elevations and sometimes I slip away and fish and hunt with my friends.
It’s all good. Go camp in your Winnebago in the back yard, build a fire and kick back.

George Bogosian
3 years ago

Many of us share your longing…and gratitude….carry on.. times awaiting!

Jimmy smith
3 years ago

Amen brother

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