60 Square Feet of Wisdom

Carol Venolia's eco-friendly trailer exemplifies living on less.

| May/June 2009

  • Carol's trailer offers consistent comfort amid constantly changing backdrops.
    Photo By Carol Venolia

This morning I woke up snug underneath my organic wool comforter, opened the blinds by my bed and gazed through paloverde branches at a clear blue desert sky. I opened the window and inhaled the cool, dry air with its overtones of mesquite and creosote. The calls of cactus wrens punctuated the peaceful silence.

A few days ago, I awoke in the same cozy bed and gazed into the branches of a sequoia. Opening the window brought the scent of forest and the sounds of jays and a rushing stream.
This is life in my tiny trailer. I love living in a familiar cocoon, yet waking up to new worlds outside.

Living large

When my first book, Healing Environments (Celestial Arts, 1988) came out, I was invited to lecture all over the country—crossing time zones, sleeping in strange beds in rooms with chancy air quality, eating marginal food and dealing with wrinkled clothes. It occurred to me that an RV would solve all those problems, but I didn’t want a monster bus with single-digit gas mileage. After much research, I bought a small, aerodynamic Casita fiberglass trailer and a four-cylinder Toyota Tacoma to tow it. Between the great gas mileage and my frugal use of propane, water and electricity, I now use fewer resources on the road than I do at home.

My 10-foot trailer offers 60 square feet of living space. At first I thought it might feel claustrophobic, but it turns out to be just right. And after a dozen trips, I’ve learned many unexpected things from living in this compact space.

Just enough

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