Hi, I’m Joël Valenzuela. Seven years ago today I arrived in New Hampshire for the first time, and seven years later I’m still here.

My story essentially began with my pre-college days when I learned two things: that I valued human freedom, and that freedom provably makes human society better off. After learning this, I went to where I could expect to make the most difference moving the world in this better direction: the nonprofit world. Some of this work had a direct political impact, but most of it was based on education and advancing ideas; which, while important still left my impatient self feeling unsatisfied.

After getting tired of living in Phoenix, I looked for work in other states in free market think tanks. One such organization was the Free State Project, which immediately struck me as something exciting and different, but I quickly realized that the organization wasn’t hiring, so I moved on. I did, however, follow its progress on social media, and as time went on, I became more and more intrigued by what I saw was happening.

The Moment That Triggered Me

In December of 2012, I saw a story of a Keene-based state representative saying that Free Staters were what she considered to be the greatest threat to the state as she vowed to take away their freedoms to make them go away. I instantly got an irrepressible feeling that something amazing was happening and that I needed to get there and be part of it at all costs. I pledged to move, and nine months later I put everything I owned in my two-door sedan and drove out.

Since then, for the first time I can remember, I have had a distinct feeling of being home. Nowhere have I experienced a feeling of mutual understanding in the value of freedom and individual effort than here, both with fellow movers and the average person on the street. Most importantly, I feel like I can make a lasting impact, and not struggle against an impenetrable wall of the status quo.

Check out this short video for a little more about my story:

Written by Joël Valenzuela.