“I’m the poorest I’ve ever been, but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.” #P2P Vol. 1: Timmy Moutrie
I sat down and had a Skype conversation with Timmy Moutrie, a 27-year-old currently living in Frisco, Colo. Timmy and I have known each other for a couple of years, meeting through mutual friends in late 2010 in the Metro-Detroit area. He moved to Frisco in November 2012 and has hardly looked back since.
Timmy, who gave up a full-time salary position to work for hourly pay not much higher than minimum wage, fascinated me. I was always curious about what inspired him to give up a life so many people aspire to have only to live very fundamentally. One evening, he and I connected and I got to the bottom of his choices.
Making a big leap.
So, what made you choose Frisco?
“I’ve always been a huge outdoorsman. I love wide open spaces, especially mountains. Mountains do something pretty surreal for me.”
How often do you end up on the mountains?
“Last season, I skied for about 120 days from November until the first week of July.”
What do you do in Frisco for work?
“I’m a barista at Starbucks. It’s pretty great. They give us a season pass to the mountains around here, plus I get kick ass health insurance.”
You get great health insurance from working at Starbucks?
“Oh yeah, pretty great insurance actually. Better than I had when I worked full-time. We get health, vision and dental. All of my copays are way less than they were in Detroit, too. It fits my lifestyle of potentially killing myself with extreme sports everyday. I can afford to fix myself.”
That’s pretty awesome. I can’t believe you up and moved out of Michigan on such a whim. What happened with your old job?
“Well, I was working sales for a dashboarding software company called iDashboards. After a while of wearing suits and kissing a lot of corporate ass, I decided I didn’t want to do that anymore. I had friends in Colorado for years that had been nipping at me to move out here. Finally, I was like ‘Yeah. I’ve had enough of this sh*t. It’s time to go.’ So, I finally moved out and my buddy had a job for me at a ski shop. I moved out in November 2012. Best decision I ever made in my life.”
What made you want to go?
“I wasn’t really happy with Michigan. I would come home every day from work and gripe with my roommates about our jobs and how miserable our days were. It really wore on me. My personality really didn’t mesh well with that environment. I knew I had a really good thing in front of me with iDashboards. It’s a really great company to work for and have a career with, but at the end of the day as cliché as it is, the mountains were calling me. So, that was a driving factor in me making the move.”
How did your income then compare to your pay at iDashboards?
“I think I made around $50,000 my first year at iDashboards. Then, my buddy calls me up and says ‘Hey, you wanna come make $9 an hour at a ski shop?’ and I went ‘Yeah, absolutely.’ I did that math pretty quick.”
That’s quite the pay cut.
“It was definitely an eye opener at first. You have to learn how to budget. It’s tough. But, Starbucks pays fairly well and you get good tips during the winter. At the end of the day, the only thing I really need money for is a plane ticket here and there and my skiing gear.”
What inspires you to think in that way?
“That whole attitude and mindset comes from losing my dad all of a sudden. I was never really the type of person who thought of life like that. For a while, I gave a sh*t I guess. I cared about a lot of things. After I lost my dad, I realized that these are things I don’t really need to give a sh*t about. That’s been the biggest driving force in my journey.”
When did you lose your father?
“My friend Sebastian and I signed our lease to live in Colorado Friday, September 14, 2012. Then the next morning, September 15, my mom called me to tell me she found my dad in his chair. I had been partying like crazy the night before, stoked to move to Colorado and then that frantic, hysterical call from my mom changed everything.”
Wow. I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been.
“It still is difficult. It always f**ks with me a bunch. He was 67 and he was healthy as sh*t. He rode his bike like 20 to 25 miles a day. His heart stopped while he was sleeping and we have no idea why. The sh*ttiest part is that he and my mom were four days away from closing on their retirement dream home they had just built. It was just a whirlwind.”
That tragic whirlwind changed up your plans to move.
“When it happened, I said to myself that I’m not moving to Colorado anymore. I planned to stay in Michigan, take care of my mom and all of that. But everyone told me no. My dad was so stoked about me moving to Colorado because it’s something he always wanted to do. He loved the outdoors and mountains. That’s probably where I get it from. Because of that, everyone encouraged me to go.”
Stages of grief.
How would you say you’ve coped with the death of your father?
“The first six weeks after my dad passed I can’t tell you much about. I crawled deep inside a couple of bottles, amongst other things. Then, when I moved out to Colorado I didn’t drink or do anything for a month. I tried clean living. But, with all of the ski bums out here, partying is in our nature. Thanksgiving and Christmas last year sucked really hard. It was really tough. I used drugs and alcohol as a crutch from December until April since my dad’s birthday was in March. I numbed myself to a lot of sh*t.”
‘Numbed.’ Past tense. Are those days over?
“Mostly. One day, I had a wake-up call and thought I should chill out before I mess myself up. I figured it might break my dad’s heart to watch me do all of that.”
How are you doing now?
“It’s weird because I still feel as sh*tty as the day he died. I have this huge, gaping hole in my chest. Random things will make me lose it — but not as often. Six months ago, I might cry 2 to 4 times a week. Now, it’s maybe twice a week once every couple of weeks. There’s still some days where it kills me. Sometimes I look at my phone and I just want to call him. It’s a huge part of my life and I wish it wasn’t. There’s no way of making it go away. There’s not really been a happy or sad phase. It’s more of a sad phase, or a sadder phase.”
What gets you through it?
“I have to accept that it’s not supposed to just go away. The active lifestyle helps me keep my head clear. Also, you never realize how many people around you have lost loved ones. You get forced to join a really sh*tty club of people that no one ever wants to be a part of. But, once you’re in it the people there know what you’re feeling and they’re there for you.”
Has your family gotten closer because of it?
“Actually, we’re probably the farthest apart we’ve ever been right now. My dad was the glue that held our family together. For the first time, we’ve had issues and conflict within our family.”
Has your family taken away a new perspective from the loss?
“Oh yeah. Ever since then, I’ve come to realize I don’t care about all of the random, mundane things I used to. Same with my mom. She went and got tattoos with my brother and I the last time I went back home. It was awesome. I hid my first tattoo from my parents for almost five years, so in retrospect it was even more awesome.”
The pursuit of happiness.
If happiness was a currency, what kind of work would you do that would make you rich?
“I’d work on a mountain. Right now I’m the poorest I’ve ever been, but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I look out my window and I see a mountain in the not-too-far distance. They take me to another place. My jaw still drops when I walk out my front door every day. I’d rather spend money on a bunch of gear to live in the mountains than therapy, because the mountains are my therapy.”
So, what’s next for you?
“At the end of this ski season, I’m putting in a request with Starbucks to transfer to Alaska and work there. I want to see if I can live fundamentally for a couple years, disappear into the woods and find some things out about myself.”
Do you have any expectations on what you might find?
“Nope. None. That’s the thing. I’ve discovered so much about myself in the last year that I want to know how much more I’ll find out about myself once I’m truly disconnected from the world up there. Who knows what I’ll find?”
On deleting Facebook.
“After the Trayvon Martin thing, I deleted Facebook. How many people suddenly became certified lawyers and paralegals after that case, deciding that they knew everything? I realized how many stupid people I was associating with, so I did the Facebook purge because of it. But, when I got bored at my second job at a hotel working midnights, I reactivated it.”
On social media.
“Social media is a unique thing, something we’re learning about every day. It’s a great way to stay in contact with people, a great way for artists to showcase their talents, but some people take things way too seriously. It’s laughable.”
On the upcoming 50 Shades of Grey movie.
“I hope it bombs. I never wanted to be one of those people who just talks sh*t about something they know nothing about, so I read about 50 pages of that book before I had to stop. It is pure garbage. Absolutely garbage from a literary stand point. I like to think I know a thing or two about decent books.”
Five years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday? Or the day before that?
“I think so. Absolutely. Most people would consider what I did today pretty mediocre for a ski day, but I had such a great time. It’s a day I know I’ll never forget. I had such a blast with my friends doing the same sh*t we always do. I love it so much that I never forget it. It’s so fun. Our close friends get together and we clown on each other for fun, but we share the same passions so we get stoked about the same things. These years of my life I know I’m making memories I will never ever forget. I’m happy as a pig in sh*t.”
Timmy’s story is a part of #P2P, a recently launched blog series that profiles the choices, risks and lifestyles of influential people I come across. For more on my personal journey with #P2P, subscribe to my blog, follow me on Twitter or subscribe to me on Facebook.