“What brings you to New Hampshire?”
We get this question all the time. We still don’t know how to answer it. It’s such a long story, and we doubt the random stranger we’re talking to at the time wants to be here for an hour while we tell it.
So, they get a short answer. My fellow porcupines are not so lucky. You get the long version:
My (Ben) story began the same way it did for so many libertarians before me:
Six years ago, I sat at a table in a cute little tea shop in Upstate NY. Across from me sat the young woman I was dating.
“You’re an anarchist?” she asked with a combination of horror and curiosity in her voice.
She then baited the trap: “Tell me more.”
I quietly sighed and prepared myself to “talk her off the ledge.”
We’ve all been there. It rarely ends well. Especially in places like the Vampire State (New York).
Thankfully, my story has a happier ending than most. When we fast forward to last month, we will find that same young woman moving to the “free state” with her husband of five years: me!
It was a long road to get here, but we are glad to finally be here!
You see, I have wanted to move to New Hampshire ever since I heard about the FSP on an episode of Stossel, 8 or so years ago. The idea of moving to a state that was already leaps and bounds better than the place I was living sounded appealing. Then, to have like minded people moving in as well, all of us focusing on making the state more free, well that sounded almost too good to be true!
The problem was that I owned a business in upstate New York. I had spent the better part of a decade building a good reputation and a solid customer base. It was difficult to just walk away from all of that hard work and start all over at the beginning.
When we married, Kelly joined me in the business. My heart may have been in New Hampshire, but we were just too busy with the business in New York to even consider moving.
We did decide to honeymoon in New Hampshire, though. This is where Kelly came to love this place as much as I do.
After our honeymoon, we made sure to come up at least once a year for our vacation. Every time we had to leave, we were both disappointed. On the trip home, we would get a sinking feeling in our stomachs when we saw that big “Welcome to New York, now bend over” sign. It would make us wish we could live in NH and never have to go back to NY.
We had no idea that a door would open for us to do just that.
Last spring, our attorney advised us to structure our company differently, due to some new laws that were going into affect in NY. At his recommendation, we decided to create a new LLC.
About a month into the process of changing the business, we realized that what we thought was going to be a simple restructuring felt an awful lot like starting a brand new business from scratch. This realization caused us to ask the question, “Do we really want to do this in New York?”.
The answer to that was an obvious. “No!”
So, we decided to see if it would be possible to make the move to New Hampshire.
Not knowing where to start, we reached out to the Free State Project group on Facebook. We were lucky enough to make a connection with an amazing couple there. They hooked us up with a place to live while we look for a home to buy.
We finally made the move last month and we are going all in! We transferred our business to New Hampshire, effectively closing it down in New York. We are opening up shop here, doing kitchen and bathroom remodeling for all the great folks in the free state (rothrockcarpentry.com for those who are curious).
We have heard positive things about the market here, but time will tell how true they are for our company. Either way, we are not looking back. We have promised ourselves, and our fellow porcupines, that whatever happens, we aren’t going to move back to New York. We have had enough of that awful place! We are home now, and that is a great feeling!
We look forward to living our dream of experiencing “liberty in our lifetime” along side all of you!
Ben & Kelly Rothrock