Rachel at the Lakes Region Porcupines

FSP Executive Director Rachel Goldsmith speaks to standing room only Lakes Region Porcupines meeting.

In 2009, I moved (with my girlfriend at the time) from just across the Massachusetts border to New Hampshire. I was an active Free Stater even before the move, driving to attend the few events that happened regularly back then. When I moved, I chose a place that had no other liberty folk who were active online. I was alone. I had moved into a foreign land without an ally.

Unloading my truck into the home brought plenty of neighbors who came by and waved in a typical New Hampshire fashion. Though looking at their faces I could read the words “Masshole” and “-chusetts plate” coming off their grimacing faces.

By about the end of my third day of moving, I noticed a flagpole holder on my deck, so I decided that it was time to put up that FSP Gadsden flag. My neighbors’ pained and disappointed faces seemed to turn joyful and relieved. I was also relieved. I had heard horror stories of other Free Staters who had faced backlash moving to town. But soon my neighbors all introduced themselves to me and were at ease with us. Without another Free Stater around, we still found like minds and liberty oriented individuals.

Soon, 2010 arrived and numerous Free Staters moved to town. Glen Aldrich announced that he was meeting Firecracker Joe Roux, a native, for lunch at the local “new” Hong Kong Buffet (they stopped calling themselves “new” this year). Our local Lakes Region liberty group was born. Soon, more and more individuals came and socialized. We brainstormed doing a litter pickup over sushi. We planned our Beach Day barbecue while enjoying crab rangoons. Last week we had a State Senator who is running for a Congressional seat come by to stump for our vote in front of a packed house. That’s not bad for a group that started as a small get-together of Free Staters.

All across the state now, there are active liberty groups that have resulted from spontaneous leadership and a desire to enjoy the company of other liberty people. We see these groups not only holding social dinners but also activism planning sessions, yoga retreats, boat tours, educational endeavors, community marketplaces, even photography tours.

How I look back and think about how much easier it would have been to move here to New Hampshire and have a group on the ground ready to help me move in, get settled, be social and get me connected to the local community. How much it would have meant to know people whose kids I wouldn’t mind mine playing with, people who could help me land a job or find a good school, people we could rely on in that big snowstorm to check in on us and make sure we were shoveled out. It couldn’t happen then, but it happens now – in every single corner of the state.

There is no better time to move as a Free Stater! And with every new mover, a new spirit of liberty grows in all of us who are already here. We greet each other, and typically soon thereafter we take comfort in updating the folks in our area with the new mover counts. It gives us motivation to ensure new folks feel at home, because it’s not always easy to feel that way when you’re picking up and moving to a foreign land. We would know.

Tony Jankowski is an early mover and served as the photographer for Liberty Forum 2017 & 2018. Tony is an organizer for the Lakes Region Porcupines and co-founder of the LRP Toy Drive and LRP Beach Day. Tony and his wife and sons reside in Tilton.