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As of today, my two children and I have been in the “Shire” for four whole weeks. We conveniently landed in our new home after the last snowfall and before the hot humid summer. Mostly I’m buttering my kids up for what I know is ahead of us. Ticks. Mosquitoes. Blizzards. My son has promised to shovel snow. He thinks it’ll be no big deal… Score!
We left California--where I spent my entire life--for good on February 24, the day after the judge let me off of formal probation for a felony I was given for attending a birth in 2007 while I was a midwifery student. I was not allowed to leave Los Angeles County while I was on probation and was restricted from my work as a midwife. Because of my felony, I was unable to find work in a county with a nearly 20% unemployment rate. My income had decreased to one-tenth of what it had been before my arrest. I cleaned toilets, babysat, washed cars, ran errands... all for friends, because strangers ran criminal background checks.
Many “Free Staters” have two concerns when considering their move to New Hampshire: a job and housing. There is a free market solution to both of these problems which might be a good fit for some. This opportunity involves private education, which is alive and well in New Hampshire. You might even get a free lunch!
According to The Boarding School Review there are 435 private schools in New Hampshire serving 35,481 students and ranging from small daycares to large college-prep boarding schools. In general, private schools do not require teacher certification and, importantly, have many employees that are not teachers. Some schools hire dormitory staff, tutors, coaches, chaperones, accountants, landscapers, IT techs, and more.
After the winds of Winter Storm Nemo had subsided and the raspy protests of shovels scraping pavement commingled with the mechanized purr of snow blowers moving mounds of nature’s frozen tears, we took a much needed respite from our participation in the clearing activities to reflect on our new life in the Granite State. The two of us have been through our share of winter storms, but Jeremy, our teenage son who made the move with us, left New England before he had developed a full appreciation for some of the nastier offspring Old Man Winter and Mother Nature can create. For the better part of the past decade, and hence the majority of his life, we had lived in the balmier climes of North Carolina. Freezing temperatures weren’t foreign, but their stay was usually brief and rarely were they accompanied by more than a dusting of the white stuff. That said, you might suspect that a generational storm would dampen our enthusiasm as one of the newest families to officially move to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project. On the contrary, we found Nemo to be a welcome challenge, telling us it‘s time to put up or shut up.
Making the move to New Hampshire for the Free State Project was an easy decision. At the time, I was in the process of separating from the Navy and looking for options on where to start my new life. My other half mentioned New Hampshire and the FSP when I was in the thick of discovering what freedom and liberty means. I immediately signed up and decided to move there in six months.
I moved on December 17, 2011 from San Diego and was greeted by a large group of Porcupines who helped me move in and welcomed me with open arms. So far, I have gotten involved in several activism events. In January, I campaigned for Ron Paul in the New Hampshire primary and met hundreds of students from around the country who share my passion for liberty. I also started a Young Americans for Liberty Chapter at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester, where I major in Politics and Society using my post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. Last year I helped Emily Sandblade with her winning campaign for State Representative.
A few years ago, my father started listening to a radio show called Free Talk Live. I was 13 or so, and politics was something I never thought about. I knew who the president was and what school taught us about voting Republican or Democrat, but that was about it. My dad had always told me he was an anarchist and that meant he didn't believe in government. My mother worked with the state police department and I didn't understand how he could want her to be out of a job. How could he not want police? They keep us safe! After opening my eyes, things changed a lot.
Dad started talking to me about things he heard on Free Talk Live, asking thought-provoking questions like, “without government, who will build the roads?” I guess I had never realized before that taxes were stolen money, and although schools, food for unemployed neighbors, and roads were important, this was not the way to go about it.
Phil and I met in May 1999 and instantly connected, in large part because we are both lifelong instinctive libertarians. As we developed our relationship and our businesses, we knew we couldn’t stay in California. By early 2001, Phil was actively gathering data on a variety of factors to figure out which states were to be on our short list for consideration. One evening Phil showed me a tiny blurb on something called The Free State Project, our eyes lit up; we went to the website, read what was there, and signed on the spot. In the summer of 2004, we flew to Boston, rented a car, attended PorcFest for several days and explored the state on our way. We were both thrilled to have found a group of people where personal responsibility made sense, and were both very inspired and ready to start the process of relocating our lives and businesses. My business, Curious Creek Fibers, was fairly easy, as I produce hand-dyed yarn and sell it wholesale to specialty hand-knitting shops around the country but because Phil’s pharmaceutical engineering consulting business needs clients, that was a bigger consideration.
I signed on for the Free State Project when I was a sophomore in college, and it took me almost 10 years to make the move from Pittsburgh, PA. When my husband and I moved to Lincoln last month, we knew we had made the right decision. Once we walked through the door of our new home, we realized that the 14.5 hours we spent driving in a car with two not-sedated-enough cats and an impatient 90-lb dog were well worth the effort.
Our rental came fully furnished, so we didn’t have much to move in. However, we did have some beds to move out to make room for office space – and several people offered to make the drive upstate to help. Mark Edge and Ian Freeman were two of them, and it’s not every day you get two nationally syndicated radio hosts in your house moving furniture around! Thanks again to everyone who helped, and we still have plenty of beer left over if anyone wants to come up for a visit.
"It's OK, I've been here before, you're expected to push," an American voice managed to cut through the thick of the human mass. We had never been to Kiev’s Boryspil Airport before, but I could feel the Communism was still in the air. Like humidity in a coastal city, it always manages to linger.
My brother Josh and I had left Ben-Gurion airport in Israel about four hours earlier and were rushing to make our connection to New York. Aah, I gasped as I started making my way to the gate. Finally on my way to the land of the free and the home of the… security lines, questioning booths, and body scanners.
The truth is, the first time I felt optimistic about my life change was about twenty hours later when we first drove our rental car past a large and clumsy sign that read: "Welcome New Hampshire. Live Free or Die."
On June 5, my husband Adam and I arrived in Manchester, NH after a seven-day drive from Los Angeles, California. We had been planning our trip for over three years, since our first visit to New Hampshire for Liberty Forum in 2009. This spring I started blogging at The New Porcupine to document the planning, spending, and experiences that go along with moving across the country for the Free State Project. After three weeks of apartment-hunting, PorcFest, and hanging out in different regions of NH, Adam and I moved into our new home right in the heart of Manchester. We look forward to hooking into our community of fellow Porcupines and other New Hampshirites and helping to achieve liberty in our lifetimes!
And now, to answer some New Mover questions:
1. What online resource did you find most useful when planning your move?