In August 2004, there was a rumor that my employer might close the facility where I worked in Texas. While discussing our options, I mentioned to my wife that a new facility had just been approved in New Hampshire.
Her response: "Are you serious? How soon can we go?" I smiled and said, "Well, let me tell you about this thing called the Free State Project."
Neither of us had ever lived in New Hampshire, and had no ties to New England or even the Northeastern U.S.; we were solid Southerners who hated the heat. But thanks to the FSP, we were able to research towns where we might like to live, compare housing prices and tax rates, and generally fall in love with New Hampshire.
We made our first visit to the 2006 Porcupine Freedom Festival, and spent a week touring the communities of the Great North Woods. The next time that we set foot in New Hampshire was October 1, 2012, when we arrived pulling all our household goods behind us to move into a house we had purchased online without ever seeing it in person.
I don't recommend it, but it worked out wonderfully for us!
Since moving, we have not been activists. We live in our community and try to be the best neighbors that we can be. We donate and support local charities. We shop at the farmer's market every Saturday. I found myself accidentally elected to the board of my county's Republican party, just because I voted in a special primary and then showed up at the meetings.
Life hasn't always been easy living so far from our natural family in the South and Midwest. Two of our adult children, a son and daughter, moved with us. Our son took his own life at the age of 19, and the support of the Porcupine community was overwhelming. Our daughter gave birth to our first grandchild, who was stillborn, and again the Porcupine community responded. But what is more important in both events is the response of the local community where we live.
Anonymous bags of groceries were left on our doorstep. A local monument company donated all labor and installation costs for a monument for our granddaughter. Relative strangers have stopped us in the store to express sympathy, and give hugs, despite that stereotype of "reserved" flinty New Englanders.
The tragedies would have happened in Texas as well, so it's certainly not a consequence of our move. What is a consequence, and a very positive one, is the response of the local community where we chose to live and become involved.
We love our life in New Hampshire. We love the challenge of winter and the beauty of all the seasons. We love our town and the surrounding area, and we don't have to make the headlines in order to help create a society where the maximum role of government is the protection of life, liberty, and property.
Not long after I moved, a local coworker who has rarely ventured outside the county pulled me aside to whisper, "I heard why you moved here. I think it's great!"
And that is why New Hampshire is our home.
Moved October 2012