Meet Awesome Person #12 – Larry Hutton!
Meet Larry Hutton – a man who went from having it all (according to some) to giving it all up (according to others) for…HAPPINESS! A leap of faith and following his dreams makes for quite an inspirational story, if I’ve ever heard one 🙂 Enjoy!
Tell me about your story. What made you want to drop the life you had and embark on a new adventure?
After 12 years working my way up the ladder in the medical sales industry, the company I was working for announced a national layoff. I called and volunteered and they took me up on it. I took the severance check and started living my dreams… Traveling, taking better care of myself and ultimately moving to the mountains… I started making 90% less money, but was 100% happier right away!
What made you pick being a photographer as your first seasonal job?
Well, I originally wanted to be a ski instructor at Vail Mountain. After several weeks of emails and phone calls, I still hadn’t received an offer. The season was quickly approaching and I was determined to move to Colorado, with or without a ski instructor job. I interviewed for a Lead Photographer position on a Thursday, was hired on Friday and was asked to be in Breckenridge, Co on the following Monday. I packed my bags and headed north (from Texas). The funny thing is, the Vail Ski School called me about 4 hours after my boss in Breck did to offer me a job as an instructor. I turned them down having just accepted the other job…. It’s funny to think how different my life could have been if I would have moved to Vail instead of Breckenridge.
What happened after your move to Breckenridge and first seasonal gig as a photographer?
Well, by about mid-way through my first season in Colorado, I learned of some opportunities up in Wyoming working for Vail Resorts in Grand Teton Nat’l Park. I took a position working up there and ended up going for two Summers… I swore that I would only do seasonal work for one year… That was 4 years ago.
What do your non-seasonal family & friends think of your lifestyle?
Let’s just say my Facebook page gets a lot of traffic from people back in Texas who live vicariously through me (their words, not mine). Sometimes my mom worries about me not making enough money (relative to what I used to make) but in the end she is my biggest supporter. The people who have known me the longest have never seen me happier and they are proud of me for following my dreams.
Seasonal life and dating – you’ve scored the girl! How did you make it happen? 🙂
As we all know, women can be a tricky animal… The secret is to act un-interested… 😉
In the seasonal life, everyone is going a thousand different directions every six months. Finding someone that has similar plans is challenging and meeting someone and being willing to alter their plans (or vice-versa) within one season is even more so…
I had given up on searching for a relationship in Summit County as the girl t0 guy ratio is super un-fair for men… Plus, I’m about 10-12 years older than most of the ladies in the area… About a month after I told myself I was over “the dating scene” I met my best friend and fell head over heels for her. We’ve been together for over a year now and I feel SO lucky to have found someone that is on the EXACT same path as me. (The fact that she’s smokin’ hot, loves the outdoors and can rip on skis doesn’t hurt either…)
What are the common criticisms you hear? You had the career and a “stable, traditional life”…you must hear some negatives about it!
People ask me a lot why I gave up the career I had worked so hard to build. I just point to my office (the nearest mountain) and smile. They seem to understand most of the time. In fact, if they aren’t currently in the seasonal life, I often see the “I wish I had the guts to make that move” look in their eye… “Criticism” often turns to curiosity and I end up giving advice about how to make the switch.
What do your “off seasons” look like and how do you plan for them?
I try to travel as much as possible. The key is to plan as far in advance as possible. Saving money can be a challenge, so starting early is key… Working in trips between jobs can be hard too, so you have to be flexible… I’ve made it work so far, having spent a couple of months in Europe, a month in South East Asia, skiing, camping and road tripping all over the US and I took a motorcycle trip to Canada and back.
Does your seasonal lifestyle come with hardships? If so, what?
ABSOLUTELY!!! Thanks to the modern advent of social media, people often assume that my life is all rainbows and roses… NOT TRUE!
This lifestyle can be hard and it takes a certain determination to stick with it.
Moving every six months has taken its toll on me. The stress of not knowing what you’ll be doing three months from whenever can be hard. Making friends and keeping them (in the traditional sense) can be a challenge (as you part ways every six months). Money is always a concern, as you have to constantly save to make sure you can survive the “shoulder” or “mud” seasons (especially if you like to play as much as me during your off time)…
The bottom line is, nothing good in life comes without sacrifice. Living this lifestyle comes with making a LOT of sacrifices, but the good FAR outweighs the bad. It’s completely worth it… TRUST ME!
Do you have any regrets or things you would have changed along the way?
I only wish I would have started sooner… I’ve got no real regrets though… I’m pretty happy with the way things have turned out so far.
What would be the greatest lesson you’ve learned so far?
Follow your dreams and seek happiness daily NO MATTER WHAT.
Here’s your chance to hand out a piece of advice… what would you say to someone looking to embark on a seasonal adventure? Or better yet, for anyone stuck in a rut looking to make a change?
I could talk about this for hours… I worked hard to get my education and even harder building my previous career… I was making a boat load of money, living in a huge house, going on expensive vacations and weekend trips and I had all the big boy toys… So, on the surface it seems like I gave up so much to pursue this life.
At some point, you have to ask yourself what is important to you… If making money and having expensive, nice things is the answer, then you should pursue that… Some people’s idea of paradise may be going to an office building and sitting in a cubicle all day… Some people may think selling cars or being a school teacher is heaven on earth… If you ask the question “what is important to me” and you’re not fulfilling that, it’s time to make a change, no matter what that change may be… If you’re a teacher and you want to be a firefighter… APPLY TO THE FIRE DEPARTMENT! If you’re a fireman and you want to be a truck driver, GO TO TRUCK DRIVING SCHOOL! Even if you’re out of shape and you want to get fit… GO TO THE FRIGGIN’ GYM AND STOP EATING JUNK FOOD! It’s up to you to decide what is right for you… which by the way, was a hard lesson for me to learn after I moved to the mountains. It was my idea of paradise, so I tried to convince everyone to move here with me… Some people hate the mountains! YOU HAVE TO DECIDE WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU!!
In my case, I was a medical device sales person who wanted so badly to ski for a living… My tipping point came when I was on a SCUBA diving vacation in the Cayman Islands and I found myself checking work emails on my Blackberry… I decided a change needed to happen. So, eventually, my desire for change became a reality.
Trust me when I say that if you’re good at your job and you’re a smart person where you are now, you will be good at your job and a smart person ANYWHERE YOU DECIDE TO BE! The transition will be hard, it will be scary and you will have to make sacrifices to pursue your goal, but don’t give up… IT’S WORTH IT!!