We Made the Move! Alec Muller
Date of move: June '04
A Journey Toward Independence
by Alec Muller
Ten months ago I was unemployed, living at home with my parents, and struggling to finish grad school (through distance-learning classes). I'd spent five months looking for work both inside and outside New Hampshire with very few leads. I'd been at home in Maine for just over a year, and I'd been trudging my way through a master's degree for almost three years (they're supposed to take about half that long). Gainful employment, a sense of independence, and the satisfaction of having completed something all seemed just beyond my reach. I was beginning to get discouraged.
All that changed, however, on a fateful day in May. A small engineering and design company from Manchester called me and told me they'd take me on as a contractor for a few weeks, and that it had the potential to turn into full-time employment. I was elated to find any work at all, but this was a double bonus because it meant that I'd actually be able to move to the Free State right away, instead of waiting and having to change jobs later on. "How soon can you start?" they asked. "Two and a half hours," I answered, remembering how long it had taken me to drive down for the interview several months earlier. They laughed and told me the following afternoon would be fine.
I made arrangements to stay with an aunt and uncle in northern Massachusetts, and for the next six weeks I commuted 45 minutes to an hour each way into southern New Hampshire. Tired of the commute, I talked to other Free Staters, found a rooming house through Joel Rauch, and did the paperwork to become a New Hampshire resident. Deciding that a motorcycle wasn't going to cut it through a New England winter, I made use of my residency and bought my first car. New Hampshire's tax advantage hit me right away, and I figured out that between sales tax and registration fees, I'd saved the equivalent of four months worth of car payments just by being a Granite State resident.
The benefits of moving to the Free State go far beyond taxes, though. Even before I got here there was an existing network of people who'd moved before me or had lived here all along, and they made it far easier for me to set down roots and establish a circle of friends than it's ever been for me before. Bars, movies, get-togethers at people's homes, a day or two in the blazing sun collecting ballot access petitions at town dumps I've realized that it's important to have friends wherever you go in life, and for a libertarian in New Hampshire, it's been a lot easier than I'd anticipated.
After five weeks in the rooming house, I moved in with fellow porcupine Karl Beisel; he has a beautiful house in a nice north end neighborhood that's only seven minutes from where I work. It has enough bedrooms for five or six people, and he lets out rooms to porcupines, students, and professionals to help pay his bills. It was a great improvement over the rooming house and the long commute, but I think I liked the idea of Karl's house too much to actually live in it for the long term; I wanted to copy it instead.
Over the next six months I saved everything I could while working on distance-learning classes and pestering my bosses to define my employment. In December I finally finished grad school after 3 ? years of screwing around, and in early January, I finally came to an agreement with my bosses and became a salaried employee after eight months as a contractor. Eight days after that I made an offer on a six-bedroom house, and last week I closed on it and moved in. After moving ten times in four years and owning nothing that couldn't be moved by motorcycle, I finally have a place to call my own.
My struggle for personal independence is far from over, but the last few months I've spent in New Hampshire have given me a tremendous sense of self-confidence and satisfaction. My only regret is that I didn't start looking for work here even sooner than I did.
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