When I turn a light switch on, I often think of a bloke I met in the Rocky Mountains.He doesn't have electricity in his remote log cabin, and the power I take for granted would qualify as an incredible luxury for this real-life mountain man. He doesn't have running water, either. So what is he doing there? Well, he couldn't stand the stultifying boredom of his previous life, so he decided on a sea change. Only his sea change was a snow change, and he didn't do things by half measures. One minute he was working in insurance in Birmingham, Alabama, the next he was driving a snow groomer at Keystone, Colorado. "I swapped a house and a mortgage for a log cabin 12,000 feet up in the Rockies," he told me as I shared the warmth of his groomer between ski runs at Keystone. "Now, instead of polishing my shoes in the morning, I lace up my snow boots." I was intrigued and inspired by the story I heard from my new friend, 31-year-old Brent Critchfield. One curious part of it is that he can't ski, which is a real rarity for people who go to live in the snow. His big passion is fishing. Give him a brown trout over a black run any day. I suspect, though, an even bigger passion is pushing his own personal limits. He describes himself as a "loner kind of guy" but is affable and talkative. "This kind of life suits me," he says. "I figure if I can survive a winter here, I can survive anything."For relaxation he mostly reads by lamp light or makes fishing lures.The cladding on his cabin is not perfect, and the wind often whistles through. Outside temperatures can get as low as minus 20, and if he hasn't tended his log fire, it's not much warmer inside."I'll try to leave the fire stoked when I go out so it's not like an ice box when I get back," he says."I also have to stoke the fire in the middle of the night, usually around 3am. If I forget to, I pay for it."Brent has to phone his parents in Kansas every other day to reassure them he is okay.His ambition is to build two huts with his brother, who now lives in Alaska, and live in them."My folks raised two very independent boys," he smiles.Sufficiently independent to get out of a rut and do something with his life, experiencing what it's like to live on the roof of America.How many of us find it too hard to wriggle out of those straightjackets we fashion for ourselves in the city?How many lack the courage to change the things we don't like about our lives?How many soldier on in a sort of benign acceptance, never discovering that things can be different if you take the plunge?Brent Critchfield is often cold, but he is also very happy.He is one of the throngs of people I have met over the years who have found contentment in the Rocky Mountains.I have known the same contentment, often but sporadically, as I have visited then left to return to my "normal" life.As I farewelled Brent after a memorable day at Keystone, he said to me: "When you flick your light switch on, think of me once in a while."I still do.* Doug Conway is one of Australia's best known journalists who one day hopes to overcome his fear of dentists.