Why I’m relocating across the country in the name of liberty
I’ve never been so excited. Or should I say I’ve never been so terrified? It seems as though both sentiments are delicately teetering on a fulcrum of the fact that none of it has even begun to settle in: I’m moving to New Hampshire.
I know. I KNOW. But the fact is… Los Angeles is eating me alive. Don’t get me wrong, I love L.A. just as much as that other Randy does, but it’s nowhere near sustainable for me to live here anymore. The dollar just doesn’t go very far in Cali, and no matter how much I LOVE the weather, I can’t continue pumping out L.A. rent prices nor can I realistically afford to buy something here.
I started wondering: what if I just started looking at no place in particular? Did a place that was more affordable exist that also had qualities that objectively fit my wants and needs? And in attempting to find the answer to that, I quickly realized that I had to really dig deep to ask something I hadn’t in quite some time: what are my wants and needs, anyway? Beneath the surface, I mean. What is it I’m after and what’s standing in my way of going for it?
Free State Project logo | New Hampshire | Liberty in our LifetimeEnter the Free State Project: quite early in my quest of the self, I’d remembered hearing about a movement of people that was trying to establish some kind of liberty stronghold, if you will. The idea—which got its start back in 2001—was simple: get 20,000 folks who highly value individual liberties to pledge to move to New Hampshire; once that number is met, it “triggers the move”, alerting signatories that the clock is ticking, as their pledges revolve around the intention to relocate within five years of reaching the milestone.
“The Free State Project is an agreement among 20,000 pro-liberty activists to move to New Hampshire, where they will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of life, liberty, and property. The success of the Project would likely entail reductions in taxation and regulation, reforms at all levels of government to expand individual rights and free markets, and a restoration of constitutional federalism, demonstrating the benefits of liberty to the rest of the nation and the world.” —Free State Project mission statement
Having been introduced to the idea of libertarianism in the late 1990s, I’d long been a fan of the principle that individuals should have the right to do whatever they wish so long as it doesn’t infringe on someone else’s right to do the same. I’m all for that!
“The Libertarian way is a caring, people-centered approach to politics. We believe each individual is unique. We want a system which respects the individual and encourages us to discover the best within ourselves and develop our full potential. [It] is a logically consistent approach to politics based on the moral principle of self-ownership. Each individual has the right to control his or her own body, action, speech, and property. Government’s only role is to help individuals defend themselves from force and fraud.” —The Libertarian Party
And I found that I was also a big fan of the other quality of life perks that led to early Free State Project participants selecting New Hampshire as their brave experiment’s home back in 2003. No surprise given that it was the first colony to declare its independence from Great Britain and establish its own government way back in 1776. (“Live free or die” remains their badass state motto.) Factor in the zero-percent sales tax, the zero-percent state income tax, the natural beauty, the fact that I was actually able to afford a house(!), along with plenty of other reasons, I was proud to be person #16,081 to sign their Statement of Intent:
“I hereby state my solemn intent to move to the State of New Hampshire. Once there, I will exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of individuals’ rights to life, liberty, and property.”
And rather than waiting around for another ~4,000 folks to come around, I’m making the big move at the end of March, and while I’ll miss my friends and colleagues dearly, I take solace knowing there are already over 1,700 Free State Project signatories who’ve made the move early and are almost overwhelming in their support and welcome to fellow movers. I’ll actually be out there this weekend to meet many of them at the Liberty Forum in Manchester. Then, it’s back to L.A. to start the move process over the next few weeks. It’s going to be one heck of a ride, and I’m surprisingly ready to meet whatever challenges come my way. I’m leaning in to ‘em.
It’s been an incredible 30 years here in California, and I’ll be back plenty to visit, but a bigger adventure is calling to me and I’m beyond excited to see what’s in store there. I’m thrilled to know I’ll be surrounded by people who are actively working toward protecting their own rights as well as the rights of others, and I welcome to opportunity and the challenge to dig in myself, actually doing something and not just talking about wanting to do something. It is here, in this work, that I believe I will be the best me I can be… and I couldn’t be more excited at the thought.
Wish me luck. Expect big things. Live free or die. Be the change. Namaste.
Manchester, New Hampshire panorama photo by Mike Spenard
Downtown Manchester, NH & the Merrimack River | Free State Project[Photos of Manchester, NH by Mike Spenard (top two) and PSNH (bottom), graciously released into the public domain. Free State Project logo courtesy FreeStateProject.org]