Chris has served as the Mover Coordinator for the FSP Team since 2012. An early mover in 2004, she uses her knowledge of the state and the liberty community to help visitors and movers network and build new lives here.
There were a lot of factors in my life that pushed me to make the move to New Hampshire from New York. As my small decking business was continuously hampered by regulations, I grew angry. While New York delivered for me in terms of high paying clientele, the actual experience of running a decking business there was absolutely miserable. For every deck I built, I needed permits, and an engineer or architect to approve my drawings. Most architects were unwilling to sign off/make my drawings since they were busy producing their own projects, and those that were willing to help took at least 3 months to attend to the project. I have my bachelors of Architecture, and knew how to make construction drawings, so I hired an engineer to stamp all my in-house drawings. Unfortunately, the building department only likes drawings by architects they know. I was constantly complaining to people about how wrong the construction process is in New York. Everyone; family, friends, and coworkers thought I had a problem adapting and accepting their world.
To me, accepting the New York state of mind was compromising my principles and beliefs. To the people around me, I was being pretentious. They didn't understand that I was suffering at my core. I became embarrassed to express how upset I was, knowing that my family and friends saw it as whining, and not adjusting to take the pain of the rules like everyone else. I wasn't fun to be around: I sounded repetitive and obnoxious. I felt really alone, the people around me ignoring my pain.
I was so emotionally deprived from being violated by New York, everything else there was dimmed, even connecting with my loving family. This is when I started to seriously consider the Free State Project.
I knew about the Free State Project for 3 years; around the same time I fully embraced my libertarian nature. I was afraid to commit to New Hampshire, thinking that I was treating it like a drug. Maybe everyone was right in New York: that I was just not accepting reality. Perhaps I was fantasizing about some Utopia. Things came to a head when my mom emphatically told me "You have to learn to accept the way things are here, Adam," and I remember aggressively responding "Well, I don't accept it! I don't accept any of it." It occurred to me then, when someone doesn't accept their circumstances, they're ready for change.
I worried about integrating into the Free State Project community. I'm an introvert. I was concerned about the social pressures to do political or social things I wasn't ready for. And my commitment is to my business above all else. At first, I felt ashamed to admit this, thinking that I would be considered less committed to the cause of liberty.
However, the complete opposite was true. There turns out to be a whole ecosystem of different kinds of libertarians, many like me, who are more business driven. The way the community works is based on the actual libertarian values; it's not like some kind of clan for utopia or conformity, it's just a lot of different libertarians, living close to each other, and playing supportive roles in one another lives. The networking is extremely powerful here. Within the Free State Project, I have found a sub group of people who I like to spend time with, and I have just networked through them, rather than by talking to every person at every event. This style has worked for me, and I imagine many others who are more to the introverted side.
I have already begun to merge my business into a partnership with two people here, who are extremely competent, kind, and decent people who share libertarian values, and similar business vision. Since being here, I have felt my purpose more than ever. A local building inspector caught me doing a project without a permit, and he just asked me to sketch the project on a piece of graph paper, and he'll call the permit closed.
My business is blossoming, and there is plenty of work. The culture of the entire state is libertarian leaning already, so even without the Free State Project, the people here support small business. Most of my projects get closed extremely quickly, and my profits have increased, despite only being here for 5 months!
I realize now, the Free State Project is nothing like Utopia, it's hardcore reality. Now that New York is behind me, I see that it was even more suffocating than I knew. I was so nervous that I would have the same struggles here, and would learn that government is everywhere, and I came here on some false hope. New Hampshire has been better than the fantasy. It's like oxygen, like coming up from a fog, like finding shade at noon, like cracking your knuckles. It's not some kind of high, it makes me feel alive.