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I moved to New Hampshire almost a year ago. For me, it was a six year courtship with New Hampshire’s Free State Project. But, having just completed my migration to liberty, let me share with you what I would do were I just now starting to think about the Free State Project and trying to figure out whether I wanted to join it, help it out, and/or move here.

So, consider this my suggested eight steps for exploring New Hampshire’s Free State Project.  Which steps you do and the order in which you take them are entirely up to you and will very likely be different, but I wanted you to benefit from everything I learned in my process.

Here are the steps that I would follow:

 


Step 1: Connect Virtually with the Free State Community

Let’s get you connected online with the core Free State Project sites. This way, you can get a sense of what is happening today and that will help you envision what you might want to do were you to live in here.

These three sites start your journey:

A. Free State Project Website

  • The FSP’s official website has many useful resources for you to explore. Read the tabs for
  • Do not yet sign the Pledge to Move. We will be disappointed if you don’t move, so hold off until you are sure. (Unless you really are ready to move here. (In which case, skim the rest of this and jump to Step 7.)
  • But do sign up to be informed about future Free State info. (And then check your Spam folder for whether your email filter — written by some less-than-libertarian corporation — is throwing your FSP info away in the hope that you won’t find it.)
  • And then spend the majority of your time reading the blog contributions of various Porcupines — the personal stories of people like you. The most pertinent to you will be the “New Mover stories”: how people like you first heard about the FSP, explored it, came up to visit, decided to move here, made their move, and what they’ve learned about freedom, about NH, about the FSP, and about themselves since they’ve been here. (There are also stories about events and projects porcupines are undertaking, and various porcupines’ reflections.)
    Scroll back about a year or so, and then see if you’re up for more.

B. Free State Project Facebook Page 

  • This official FSP Facebook page will give you the most curated view of what’s happening today. Click “See notifications first” so that you will see this baseline information.

C. Free State Project Private Facebook Group

  • The FSP private Facebook group allows you to read questions from other potential movers. A group of knowledgeable Free Staters (“FSers”, or “porcupines”) volunteer information and links and suggestions. Look back on prior questions, and then ask your own specific questions to get help (e.g., Use this for “Step 6: Plan a visit.)

 


Step 2: Understand the Historical Context of New Hampshire’s Free State Project

Now that you are connected, let’s take a step back for some historical context.

A. Videos and Documentaries

Dedicate a couple of evenings to watch some videos.

Who best to introduce you to the Free State Project than Jason Sorens himself, the founder of New Hampshire’s Free State Project:

In the interview below, Jason reflects on the fifteen years since he first proposed creating a free state.

In 2014, we Free Staters crowdfunded a fancy-dancy, glossy video about why you should move to New Hampshire and join us. It was called “101 Reasons: Liberty Lives in New Hampshire”. Famous libertarians and early movers share the advantages of moving to NH to grow freedom.

In 2016, enough liberty people had pledged to move that the migration was triggered. In this video, the then leaders of the FSP announced the start of the migration and reflected on the transition from convincing people to pledge to move, to their new task of helping new porcupines actually move to New Hampshire.

In 2010, a (non-libertarian) documentarian turned her camera onto the Free State Project for a very sweet documentary.

When you pledge to come, you may well get a call from one of the porcupines already in the state to find out how we can help you.

If you’d like more, you can always mine the FSP YouTube channel:

B. Historical Documents

Why not read the origins of New Hampshire’s Free State Project?

  • 2001: Jason Sorens: Announcement: The Free State Project
    This is the original 2001 announcement of Jason Soren’s brainstorm. Of course, the concept evolved as more people jumped on board, but it is alway nice to know the seed.
  • 2001: Jason Sorens: Update: Free State Project
    Jason received a lot of comments on his original announcement. Here he responds to some of them. The most important change is that he took secession — which was his area of academic research and what inspired him to first think of a libertarian state — off the table as necessary for an actual Free State Project.
  • 2003: Escape to New Hampshire (Report)
    Michelle Dumas reflects on what turned out to be our first PorcFest, something called at the time “Escape to New Hampshire”, which was an attempt to encourage libertarians to choose New Hampshire (over several other contenders) as the destination state for the Free State Project.
  • 2003: Choosing NH (Report)
    Joseph Spear outlines the process by which the FSP selected New Hampshire for the mass migration.

C. Podcasts

Of course, New Hampshire’s Free State Project has been talked about in detail on a variety of liberty podcasts. A selection:

D. Notable Articles

A few articles written by mainstream sources have been positive, but most media are anti-liberty, so, as a rule, they eye-roll and fear-monger. Here is a cross-section.

E. Media Mining

Of course, there is a lot more (mostly negative) MSM press about the FSP. Here are a few sources to see their concerns, their curiosity, their dismissals, and sometimes their curiosity about what we “crazy liberty folks” are up to.

  • Reason Magazine Articles on the FSP
    These will be more positive, although the early articles primarily negatively cover the Keene civil disobedience subsegment.
  • NH Public Radio Negative and positive coverage from NHPR.
  • The New Hampshire Union Leader articles on FSP The main state paper covers the grittier side of FSP.
  • Free State Project Watch The main authoritarian opposition to New Hampshire’s Free State Project. It considers bringing freedom-oriented people to NH a bad thing, and emphasizes past bad behaviors of some Free Staters as determinative of all Free Staters. You know you’re over the target when you get directed flak.

 


Step 3: Attend a Big Event

New Hampshire’s Free State Project puts on two major events a year. This is an excellent time to visit, to meet porcupines, and to plan on coming back. You have two choices:

A. PorcFest

PorcFest – The Porcupine Freedom Festival: June in Lancaster, NH.

PorcFest is held at the end of June in northern New Hampshire. It’s a pain to get there (about 2.5 hours from any hub) but once you’re there, you’ll be happy you have escaped authoritarianism and are now in the beautiful mountains.

This event is great if you like parties. There are many official speakers, but most of the fun activities take place in the campgrounds. The costs are dirt-cheap, especially if you camp and get your tickets early. (I usually spring for a room in one of the nearby motels, cause my days of sleeping in tents are over.)

Over years it has tried to appeal more to families. I took my pre-teen up there twice and she loved it. (See <1230> <1230> on Quora.)

PorcFest is probably your best chance to talk to a wide array of porcupines about what creating a free state is about. The PorcFest website starts posting information on the next upcoming PorcFest usually around January, but you can visit it year-round to see the previous event. I recommend the VIP package if you want to rub shoulders with the in-crowd and if you like drinking during a festival.

Do attend the “Meet the Regions” and “New Movers” events, and write down names and contact information. You’ll be needing this soon.

I’ve written a couple of Quora answers on my experiences at the 2019 PorcFest, which should give you a flavor of the festival:

And 2020 was even better for me!

B. Liberty Forum

Liberty Forum takes place in February in Manchester, NH  in the dead of winter in an attempt to prove to non-porcupines that one does not literally die in the NH winters. It is a conference, held at a hotel and featuring speakers, in the largest “city” in NH. It is much easier to get to, and is much more staid and conventional than is PorcFest. The informal interactions are primarily around the hotel bar, and you will be joining and meeting folks to eat at the many restaurants in town.

Do sign up for the out-of-the-hotel tours, during which you can talk to attendees informally as you visit freedom groups outside of the conference room. And spend a lot of time in the Exhibit Hall talking to the porcupines there. Especially, go to a liberty clubhouse party, which is usually on the last night.

I do not recommend the VIP package (at least, not from my experiences in 2018!)

Insider Tip: When you attend these events, introduce yourself to everyone and tell them your intentions. Collect names and phone numbers. You’ll need them for later steps.

 


Step 4: Choose a New Hampshire Region

So, by now, you have a pretty good sense of what we’re trying to do up here, and if you have freedom in your bones, you should itching to shrug off your chains and start to participate creating freedom here with us.

Now is the time to select one of the six regions in New Hampshire as your most likely landing place. You can always change your mind, but this will help you focus your discussions and visits. 🙂

If you don’t know which region to tentatively select, chat with the people whom you’ve met so far (e.g., on the virtual sites, or at PorcFest or Liberty Forum). You should have also gotten clues about which is best for you from the big events (e.g., PorcFest features a well-produced event on the last day that introduces all the regions and gives you access to scores of people to talk about their region.)

Just so you know, each region has towns that are “great for families” or “picturesque”. My characterizations below are gross exaggerations of tendencies. (For example, my town Dover is fairly anti-freedom relative to the rest of NH (but not relative to where we were escaping from — Massachusetts), so you might not want to move to Dover if you might run for office. But we love how close it is to Portsmouth, and swimming from our dock.)

Which Region Is Right for You?

Explore New Hampshire's Free State Project

 

We porcupines break New Hampshire into six geographical regions, which have some general, different tempos and themes. Decide which you want to explore. (My description is below, but I link to other porcupines’ descriptions so you can get a range of perceptions.)

Once you’ve tentatively chosen a region, sign up for the internet group for your region, and introduce yourself to them.

Once you link up with your regional virtual group, chat with folks there via the group. Add folks to your list of contacts. (You’ll need them in Step 6.)

 


Step 5: Sign Your Pledge to Move With New Hampshire’s Free State Project

You’ve talked to lots of porcupines, heard and read their personal New Mover stories, and have thought about how the Free State might help you live and maybe even advance human freedom.

If you haven’t already, you certainly should be ready now: Pledge to migrate to NH to create liberty in your lifetime:

You’re on your way home… :).

 


Step 6: Visit/Vacation in New Hampshire

So, you’ve attended a big event, you’ve monitored our discussions, you’ve read pro and con pieces about us, you’ve asked questions and met porcupines, and yet your drive to create human freedom is strong enough that you remain undaunted and have actually pledged to move!!?

You may well be a porcupine!

It’s time to visit us more informally but more purposefully — to explore housing, work, leisure, and connections.

A. Serious Virtual Groups

Let’s get you connected with three more groups. (You should Sign the Pledge in order to be added to these.)

  • FSP Welcome Wagon
    This FaceBook closed group is for liberty people who are serious about exploring moving. The porcupines on it are very knowledgeable and very dedicated to helping you. Post that you are thinking about visiting, and ask for recommendations
  • FSP Housing Search This FaceBook closed group posts houses and rentals as they come up. This will give you a sense of the market.
  • FSP Job Alert 
    While professional work is not posted here (here will be mostly lower salary postings), this will connect you with others seeking employment. You’ll still have to network to find your professional job. (Or, maybe, start a business yourself.) But use this group to talk about the job scene in NH.

B. Realtors: Find your New Home

We have Free Staters realtors who sell/rent hundreds of homes to new porcupines like you. They know pretty much everyone and every place and they can answer your questions and steer you to places that you are more likely to enjoy. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Mark Warden (603-391-2888) Porcupine Real Estate has found the most homes for Free Staters. He’s been doing this for years. He regularly contributes his time, labor, voice, and dollars to a broad selection of Free State activities. He has run and holds NH legislative office, and votes consistently liberty.   He can tell you about the regions, about porcupine activities, and about the vagaries of the real estate markets across the entire state. His growing team (Constance, Regan, Jack) covers mostly the southern part of the state, and he can direct you, given your preferences for lifestyle, work, leisure, and liberty activities. He will introduce you to others with your interests. Call him first.
  • Marika Yakubovich (603-340-2122) is another Free State realtor on the scene, largely around Manchester. She is also a very active porcupine.
  • Calvin Beaulier (603-991-7301) and Levi Dunn (888-398-7062 Ext 169) are porcupines who cover the northern (White Mountains) regions.
  • Aubrey Freeman (603-210-4444) lives, works in, and covers the Lakes Region.
  • Check PorcManor and Ledgeview for rentals

C. Schedule a Date to Visit

I recommend that you schedule your visit on dates that give you the most opportunity to meet other porcupines in your selected region, but don’t restrict yourself to just one region:

  • The FSP Calendar of Liberty Events. This amazing calendar contains most of the public liberty events that are occurring around the state. There is something happening almost every day!! I wish I had seen this before I moved, so, I’m telling you about it now. Use it!! Schedule your trip to attend as many of these events as you can, and introduce yourself to all the Free Staters at each event. Don’t be a weeny — drive to the events, and meet your soon-to-be fellow porcupines.

Each region has regular events — schedule your visit accordingly. (Events within each region listed in my recommended order.)

  • Merrimack Valley Regular Events
    • New Movers Potluck: First Tuesday of every month
    • Merrimack Valley Porcupines: First Saturday of every month with speakers, in Manchester.
    • Nashua Liberty Social: Every Sunday night for dinner
    • Taproom Tuesday: Dinner and drinks at a Free Stater’s bar in Manchester every Tuesday at 5P
    • TGIF Lunch: Lunch on Fridays at a café
    • Crypto Meetup: Learn about and use crypto, every Sunday night in Manchester
    • Manchester Liberty Market & Mingle: Every third Saturday, in Manchester.
    • Freedom Film Festival: Movie and discussion every Friday night in Weare.
    • New Hampshire Libertarian Party: Dinner on first monday, in Manchester
    • Twos-Day Liberty Meetup: Every second Tuesday at a liberty bar in Concord
  • Seacoast Regular Events
    • New Movers Potluck: Third Sunday of the month for brunch
    • Liberty Outreach Meetups: Every Thursday night. Location moves from Dover, Exeter, Rochester, to Seabrook, alphabetically by week of month (e.g., “D” Dover is first week; “E” Exeter is second week)
    • FreeCoast Liberty Market & Mingle: Second Saturday of the month in Dover
    • Portsmouth Dash Meetup: Every other week on Wednesday night. Learn to use crypto at local businesses to buy food and drink.
    • (Most weekends: events at a clubhouse, especially The SHELL. Wednesdays: forums and debates. Check the SWELL calendar)
  • Lakes Region Regular Events
    • Liberty Lunch Meetup: Every third Saturday, in Belmont
  • North Country Regular Events
    • Porcupine Potluck: Third Sunday, in various locations, but often Berlin
    • Carroll County Liberty Meetup: Second Saturday of every month, in Madison
    • North Country Crypto Meetup: Irregular schedule, in various locations
  • Upper Valley Regular Events
    • Liberty Tuesday: Last Tue of the month in West Lebanon
    • Bardo Potluck Dinner at the Farm: First Saturday in Croydon
    • Farm Friday with Friends: Kids event every fourth Friday lunchtime, in Croydon
    • Conversations in Crypto: Third Saturday, in Claremont
  • Monadnock Regular Events
    • Liberty Thursday: Every last Thursday in Alstead
    • UMLV (Upper Monadnock Liberty Meetup): Every third Tuesday, in Hillsboro
    • Social Sundays: Have dinner at longest running liberty meetup in NH, in Keene
    • Breakfast Buffet: Every Wednesday morning in Keene
    • Keene Crypto Network: Learn about and use crypto in local businesses every six days (different day, different location) in Keene

BTW, I highly recommend that you visit at a time that you can attend one of the New Movers’ Potluck Parties (Manchester on the first Tuesday night of the month, or in the Seacoast on the third Sunday of the month for Brunch) These are regular gatherings whose nominal purpose is to welcome people like you. (Meeting you is also our excuse for the community to gather.) Check the FSP Calendar. (BTW, the name is a bit of a misnomer: as a new mover, you don’t take food to the “New Mover’s Potluck”: we bring food for you.) 😉

D. Book a Room

Now, if you attended one of the Big Events (See Step 3), and you’ve been chatting it up on the boards (See Step 1 and Step 6A), you should have plenty of names of porcupines in your region of interest. Give ’em a poke and see if they’ll put you up. At the very least, have them recommend places to stay, things to see, food to eat, etc.

Carol and I rented apartments via AirBnB three times in our region, taking three full weeks of vacation across three different years, but we’re a bit anal about our decisions, and I know of no other porcupine who did as much due diligence.

E. Tell Us of Your Planned Visit

Inform the FSP of your visit:

This will probably get you in touch with the FSP Mover Coordinator, Chris Lopez. If you don’t hear from her, call her 603-263-0308 as you finalize your plans. She will make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything obvious and she’ll send out a note on FSP Welcome Wagon about your visit, a Facebook group to which I recommend you post the particulars of what you want to check out on your visit. We got great advice before we came for our last week-long vacation.

And then contact everyone you’ve collected on your list — from PorcFest, from Liberty Forum, from Porcupines FB page, from the FSP Welcome Wagon, from your regional FB pages, etc. And post about your visit in all your regional groups, asking to meet with folks.

Tell us which week you’re coming and where you’ll be staying. Schedule some meet and greets with folks. (For example, we threw a wine and cheese party at our AirBnB in the middle of our first vacation here. About 20 porcupines came.)

NH boasts the highest concentration of liberty podcasters, of liberty bloggers, and of liberty Quorans. If you’re a follower (e.g., of me on Quora), send a PM to these guys!!!

F. Plan Non-FSP Activities

Sure, you’re moving here because it is our best chance to experiment with human freedom at this moment of human history. But man does not live by freedom alone!

Carol and I used TripAdvisor and friends and FaceBook events (look at the listed Events on the pages I’ve given you) to find a whole bunch of places to see and activities to try out, given our interests. Let me share what we checked out. (Of course, your activities and adventures will differ by your region and by your interests.)

My wife loves to paint and to play her viola and to sing. So, we visited art galleries, we attended chamber music. We talked to the lead violist of the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra. We went to chorals. She brought her paints with an intention to paint, but we were so busy going to restaurants and dancing in bars that instead she snapped pictures for future paintings. (She’s working on one as I write.)

I love more robust activities, so we hiked, and walked, and kayaked, and skied, and sailed, and swam. (A good group to talk outdoor activities is:

And we both love to dance to rock & roll music all night long, so, I found a different rock & roll music bar every night and we danced to live music.

And we did touristy things and went to touristy spots and listened to historical docents. We ate at the Top Restaurants and breakfasted at the Top Breakfast Nooks.

And we asked porcupines as well as NH natives we met (the AirBnB hosts are great sources) about what was fun and what was good and what we should definitely not miss out on.

And I don’t think we missed out on much! 🙂

In our last visit we spent most of our week doing the touristy things and investigating non-libertarian opportunities; we only met with Free Staters at one meetup. But we had had two other visits, and I had attended several PorcFests and Liberty Forums, so I had met a lot of liberty folks. (Remembering everyone’s name was another matter. Write the names down!)

 


Step 7: Schedule Your Move With New Hampshire’s Free State Project

You have an idea where to live, where you might work, whom to hang with, what to do when you’re here.

Now come home to liberty.

  • Welcome Wagon/Move-In Party:
    Besides all the regular things that one does to move to a new state, the one thing you want to do for sure is call Chris Lopez chris@fsp.org to schedule a Move-In Party for you. Porcupines will greet your U-Haul and help you unload. (You supply the pizza and beer.) It’s is a great way to meet your neighbors, hear the inside scoop, and realize that you are now amongst friends — as well as movie in all your stuff in less than an hour.
  • Inform the FSP/Be Counted:
    Let Chris@fsp.org at the FSP office know that you have made your move. You will then get an official mover number. 🙂 (Mine is 1990, and Carol’s is 1991.)
  • New Movers’ Potlucks:
    As of Jan 2020, there are two of them. One every first Tuesday in Manchester. The other less regularly on the third Sunday in Rollinsford. You just must come to these. Both of them!! And often!! And write down everyone’s name and tell them what you love to do and arrange playdates to do fun things with them. This is your “Coming Home” party, and we’ll cheer ya, and listen to your stories, and give you goodies and pointers and introduce you to folks and connect you up with your interests. Check the FSP Calendar. (BTW, the name is a bit of a misnomer: as a new mover, you don’t take food; we bring food for you.)

 


Step 8: After Your Move

You’re moved in, you have assured your income and safety, and you are all ready to help create freedom.

Here are my first recommendations:

  • The FSP Calendar of Liberty Events:
    Go to as many liberty events as you can fit in every week. There’s something happening almost every day. Introduce yourself. Find out what other folks are working on. Try a few things on for size. (The first few things I tried, did not fit me!!) Put some miles on your car. I made a dedicated effort to go to at least two events a week, and I drove all around the southern part of the state.
  • Porcupines Facebook Closed Group:
    This is a raucous site. This is the central discussion board for we who have already moved, so, you can connect with what porcupines are thinking and debating right now. There will be dirty laundry here, but if you’re into this whole liberty thing, you should be comfortable with a bit of spontaneous order. 😉
  • New Hampshire Liberty Alliance:
    Join the NHLA (preferably, as a full paying member, but you can become a non-paying member or (like me) a lifetime member).
    Volunteer to help out (e.g., read bills and make recommendations). They have regular trainings: after two hours you will be reviewing proposed New Hampshire legislation for its impact on human freedom. Visit a few subcommittee meetings and try your hand at testifying. NH is a small state, and you can have a big impact.
  • Liberty Clubhouses:
    Visit as many of the current liberty clubhouses as you can find as often as you can. (While there may be as many as four today, depending on how you count and depending on who’s starting up what, I am only at liberty to mention The SHELL in Rollinsford.  The rest you will have to ask around to learn about.) These clubhouses are all different. If you believe that you fit in with any clubhouse, tell them that you would like to be considered for membership.  But remember: You’re a libertarian. You can always start another liberty clubhouse or liberty group. There are plenty of liberty people here. 🙂
  • New Hampshire – Americans for Prosperity:
    Join the Americans for Prosperity in New Hampshire. It’s the most libertarian branch they have, and they have great activities and good trainings. I came from the left, and I have not been uncomfortable with AFP so far.
  • Volunteer:
    The fastest way to meet an assortment of people is to volunteer to help at one of the two big events (PorcFest, Liberty Forum.) (See Step 3.) As you’re meeting people, you’ll hear of other events and other volunteering opportunities — jump in as quickly as you can!
  • Passport:
    I’m working with Carla to create a “Passport” for Free Staters that lists activities that you can do to quickly get to know the regions, the activities, and your fellow porcupines better.  As you check them off, you will earn PorcBadges and advance your knowledge of the opportunities for you in the Free State.
  • Create:
    So, here’s the thing: We are just starting this whole “liberty state” up. If you have an idea, don’t whine to someone else about why it isn’t happening yet. Create it! Tell everyone about it and ask whether it excites them. Don’t bitch; do.

A few porcupines wrote another document about what to do once you’ve moved with additional ideas.

I wrote about the activities I saw in NH after just a few months in NH; it might give you a sense of what else you might want to explore: How is the Free State Project impacting New Hampshire politics?

And here’s a reminder of what we are all migrating here to do: What objections do people have to the Free State Project?

 


Step 0: Help New Hampshire’s Free State Project

Let me end this by reminding you that regardless of whether you’re moving today, next year, or never, you can — and should — help create liberty in your lifetime in the Free State.

 


TL;DR

Liberty lovers living in authoritarian states is one of the saddest things I know of. You may not realize how outnumbered, how isolated, how disparaged, and how dismissed you are — simply for the “sin” that you do not believe that humans should be violated by violent political thuggery to serve the interests of a psychopathic ruling class.

But as you explore the Free State, you will start to realize that you don’t have to live like that any more! There is one place on this earth where your insistence on peace, love, and tolerance is not unique, where thousands similarly hold your ethic, who are willing to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you to advance its spread into every aspect of human relationships, until we all respect each other’s consent, until we all live in voluntary cooperation for win-win mutual benefit and enjoyment.  And you will realize that a burden you have carried in your chest — one you had carried so long that you didn’t even know it weighed you down — will fall away, and all of a sudden you’ll be breathing more freely than you ever breathed before.

That is the free society we are creating with New Hampshire’s Free State Project. And we sure could use your help.

Please come soon.

By Dennis Pratt

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