Ten years ago, a job opportunity took me and my husband from California to Seattle. Although we immediately fell in love with the beauty of the area, we were never able to find a warm community to call home. The atmosphere felt divisive and suffocating, with “us vs. them” politics and a lot of hateful rhetoric. We had two kids and began to raise them in this emotionally unhealthy environment. As a self-identified “free-thinker”, I felt like an outsider. I couldn’t prescribe to far right or far left politics, which made me a bit of a loner. I was always surprised and disheartened by how difficult it was to find someone who was capable of thinking outside of a blue or red box.

My frustration with the politics and social climate of Seattle grew to a climax earlier this year. After learning about the Free State Project,  I impulsively requested a job transfer to New Hampshire. Amazingly, my transfer request was quickly approved, and my husband and I decided to take the leap. Neither of us had ever lived on the East Coast, so it was a scary decision, but sometimes the pursuit of happiness requires some risk. My transfer request was approved in April, and by August, we were moving into a new home in New Hampshire. I was welcomed immediately with open arms by so many people who knew exactly how I was feeling, because they had all taken that leap before, too. The community I spent ten years searching for in Seattle, but never found, exists here in New Hampshire.

Having been here for only two and a half months, I am in constant awe of how immediately “at home” I feel. People here are generally more down to earth than what I’ve ever experienced anywhere before. We chose to settle in a small town in Hillsboro County, and the options for local activities are endless… farmers’ markets, town concerts, fairs, apple picking, cider presses, scarecrow competitions, fall festivals, pumpkin picking… we’ve been busier having fun in our little town of 5,000 people than we ever were in the urban mecca of Seattle. We are also loving the fresh produce and meat that we regularly purchase from a small farm down the road.  I’m 35 years old, and I feel like my life has finally begun. Bring on the winter, because I’m ready for it all!