Can You Live Small And Be Happy?


It’s the question on everyone’s mind but few are brave enough to ask out loud. Heck, it was the biggest question on my mind from the moment we made the decision to give up most of our possessions, move out of our house and into our RV until we just made the leap to do it and find out for ourselves!

It’s been interesting to experience the different responses from others when we tell them our family gave up our house by choice to live small. MUCH smaller.

These are a few of the widely varied responses we get:

  • “Oh that’s awesome!”
  • “Really? But why?”
  • “That is my DREAM!”
  • There’s always the “Oh I feel so bad for you” look on the faces of a few. To which I always want to say, “PLEASE don’t waste emotional energy feeling sorry for me.”
  • And then sometimes there’s the response I probably respect the most, “I’m not sure I could do it, but I think it’s really amazing you’re just doing it.”  
  • Is it possible to live small and be happy?” 

The later is the question I would like to address.


 “There’s something in our soul that longs for the freedom to be okay with not pursuing more, doing more, being more.” – Don Miller

So I was going to make a bullet point list of all the reasons why I believe it’s actually a bit easier to be happy living in a small space but then again I realized it doesn’t need that kind of explanation. 

Only this:

Happiness is not found in the size of your house, the size of your bank account or the size of your professional portfolio. Happiness is found only within. People who live small by choice tend to choose this way of life because they are already happy people and removing the clutter from their lives gives them the freedom to stay that way.

There is pure joy to be found in a simple, uncomplicated life. And of course you don’t have to live in a RV to accomplish a more simple, smaller life.

There is something freeing about not being tied down to an object made of bricks and mortar and a thirty year mortgage.

There is something wonderful about having the time and the freedom to spend afternoons wondering down winding trails, swimming in mountain lakes and starry nights around a campfire.


Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with living large either. It’s all in having balanced motives and perspectives on life. And I guess there will always be those who view the choice to live a small life as less of a life. But in fact, I know plenty of people who live large on the outside and have pathetically small lives on the inside.

And maybe there are some who know us who are waiting for us to come speeding back into our hometown admitting, “Oh we HATE IT. Can we just have our normal, good life back!!!!” 

And maybe one day this season of our lives we end and we’ll decide to build a little house of our own and settle down in one spot again. We honestly don’t know and we truly aren’t worrying about it.

But I can guarantee one thing, when the day comes for us to give up our small life on the road for a more “normal” one (whatever the heck that means) it certainly won’t be because our quality of life was better before small life.


At the end of this journey we will all be so very grateful for our time we learned to find true happiness from the simplicity of life itself, not in things. 

And if “normal” is the same life most everyone else in American has, with all respect, “no thank you.

Honestly, I don’t think our family will ever be the same. We will be better for the living small and the being happy and realizing that it wasn’t a sad chore for the opportunity in time to come to this realization –

It was a gift.

So, can you life small and be happy? It depends! Because happiness has little to nothing do with the size of your home or the amount of one’s possessions.

But I can tell you this, I meet more happy people living in tiny spaces than I ever met in any normal, American neighborhood.

“Little home, big life.”

What are some of the reasons you believe it’s possible to live small and be happy? Comment below.

About Rachel Rowell

A true southern gal at heart, Rachel was raised and lives in the deep south and spends her days raising her own babies, writing, making music, reading out on the front porch, and cooking supper for her family to sit around the table and enjoy together at nights! Her ultimate girlhood dream was to raise a family in a house just like "Anne of Green Gables" and now she is living her dream and inspiring others along the way.

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10 Responses to Can You Live Small And Be Happy?

  1. Scott March 11, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

    Great set of thoughts. Conversely, and in support of everything you offered, go big or go home as it relates to enjoying life. I have always believed and have learned well that in order to appreciate something more, one must have less or ultimately have lost something. A terrible lesson if forced upon us, but to be embraced when we can chose a path forward and are subsequently rewarded.

  2. Joe Mann March 11, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

    My wife and are looking forward to retirement as full time RVers. I admire you and your family for doing it now. Please keep the blogs coming. You are serving as our inspiration!

  3. Doug March 12, 2014 at 2:53 am #


    Thanks once more for your vision of what really matters in life – it’s the small things, not lots of possessions, that matter the most. Our cultural vision drives us to want too many of the things that don’t matter at the expense of those that do – like God, family, others, time.

  4. mrsd March 12, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    I have to agree. We went from large to small to large again, now back to small. I have found I am happier living lighter and having the freedom to roam if I choose.

  5. ravinj March 12, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

    I think the key is that you’re living the life you choose, not some default, what’s expected, or what you got stuck with.

  6. John Lamb March 12, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

    A great and insightful post as usual! In our consumerism society, living small is NOT the norm…big house/big car/big mortgage/big credit card debt….keeping up with the Joneses and staying in the rat race mentality….ugh!! So glad 3 years ago I chucked it all and embraced smaller living, simpler living, minimalistic living….will never go back! .

  7. American Gypsy Gibberish March 12, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

    As usual, very well said Rachel. We’ve been living smaller and happier for two years now and plan to do so for the foreseeable future. Who knows what the distant future will hold? But for now we’ll very happily take the nomadic lifestyle over the “normal” lifestyle! 🙂

  8. PersonallySeenThatMovie March 14, 2014 at 12:35 am #

    Your decision to follow your husbands work and spend quality time as a family is courageous. Cherish these times. Once your kids enter adolescence/teen years they will need stable friendships, peers and personal space; as afforded by traditional housing. Prepare for that reality.

  9. mrsbrownlee March 18, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

    I admire what you guys are doing. I wish we had the guts/finances to just let go and slow down. I would love to travel as a family and actually LIVE and enjoy life together.

  10. Scott February 4, 2015 at 12:18 am #

    I know I’m late, but, beautifully said! 🙂

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