New York City FerryBack in 2011, the Freedom in the 50 States Index yielded some interesting information: New York State ranked #50 as the most oppressive, or least free, state in the union. My husband Dave and I wanted out of New York City! New Hampshire wasn't #1 yet, but it was in the top three, so it was a huge consideration.

The Move to Upstate New York

Moving TruckWe decided to leave the city and temporarily move upstate to live with my father-in-law, which would ultimately make the big move to a freer state easier on us. What a great idea...or were we crazy? We went with the first option. So we rented a 24' moving van, filled it to the brim (along with two cats) and hit the road. We lasted three months before we realized we had made a big mistake; we had gone crazy! Next move: camping.

Six Weeks of Camping

Yes, we camped out in a state park in Ithaca, New York, for six weeks, and October nights can get pretty chilly! We had the best time of our lives and found out just how much freedom meant to us. We had a great set-up with living space, Internet, Netflix, new laptop, and phones. Dave rigged power from the car battery. We could breathe, think, and let nature heal some of the hurt and disappointment we experienced. Our two 'indoor' cats even loved it! We both found jobs: mine in Oswego and Dave's in Belize for several months. I found us an apartment in a small town for some more breathing room where we remained for 11 months. We saved some money.

Finding the Free State Project

Then I got really busy researching the Free State Project, an interesting concept a friend of ours told us about. I checked out the website and Facebook pages and immediately felt the camaraderie. We decided to attend Liberty Forum, where we signed our letters of intent to move, and PorcFest that year. We got a full picture of what could be and liked it.

The Move to New Hampshire

Family PhotoOn September 15, 2013, Dave, MJ (cat), and I embarked on the journey of a lifetime. We moved to Manchester where a great job awaited me. The following morning, 12 complete strangers came by and moved us in! We just so happened to live right around the corner from That Place – a local FSP clubhouse – instant community!

But soon enough, life threw some curveballs. Our one car broke down; my new job stunk and ended; and Dave was unemployed. We hunkered down for the first winter, which was a doozy, but we had faith, each other, and our community. The moral support was fantastic, but the struggle was real. It was stressful and frightening, like any major move or change can be. We had to find our own way and place here, and to be honest, we're still doing that four years later. There have been lots of changes, ups and downs, but always with adventure and in freedom.

Thoughts for Movers - and Jennifer’s New Column

Be open minded. Nothing is perfect. Ask for support and assistance, and people will be there. As a counselor and life coach, I was asked to give that very type of support to community members, and that morphed into a career change for me! But it is still unfolding and takes time. Don't be discouraged! You're not going to like everyone or share their opinions, and that's OK. Come here expecting great things. Do your part by taking 100% responsibility for your happiness, freedom, and lives.

Next month, I will talk more about moving challenges and expectations. Hopefully, I can share some tips and tools to better prepare you for the time of your life. In peace, Jennifer. #whatelsecangoright?!