I am mover #1653. To know my Free State Project story, I must tell you where I was and how I got here.
It’s mid-July, 2014 and I live in Marion, OH, an hour north of Columbus, when I first hear of the Free State Project. Marion is a place where jobs were scarce. Ironically, I had moved there, in 2008, for a kitchen manager position for a new restaurant concept. Then the financial crash came and my position was absolved. What followed over the next 7 years was my full awakening and transformation into the person I am today.
In 2010, after a year of being unemployed or underemployed, I returned to college, at 40, to pursue a career in web media design. Most of my previous work experience had been restaurant related. After the experience in 2008 I felt I should pursue other interests of employment. It took me 3 years to get my Associate's degree in Interactive Media. In those 3 years; I was homeless 2 consecutive summers due to lack of viable work, I learned to grow marijuana on an expert level, and most importantly became a non-statist.
In 2013, upon graduation I designed a local restaurant's web site, became their webmaster, and worked in their kitchen part time. I also did a few other freelance design jobs that made me feel like things were headed in the right direction for me professionally. In May 2014, I was preparing myself for a big change. I needed to escape this downtrodden town, where most of the populous was on state assistance and there was a serious heroin epidemic. I was never a user, but saw what it does to people and families first hand while living there. I had met a handful of like minded, awake, non-statist people there. Nothing I would call a community though. Being an advocate of cannabis and hemp legalization and decriminalization I was considering relocating to Denver, Colorado, which seemed to be the epicenter for those interested in such things. Then, in July, I was talking to a friend who is a New Hampshire native about politics and liberty. She suggested I check out freestateproject.org as they seem to share my ideals and thoughts on government and such.
I went to the web site. I read the entire thing in 90 minutes. I immediately signed my statement of intent to move. I am admittedly impulsive, but in this case, I felt deep down in my soul that the FSP has it right. That THIS movement could make history. That the FSP is something I NEEDED to be a part of.
Within 6 weeks, I had sold all my furniture and my last harvest to fund the move. My friend who told me about the FSP said I could come stay with her and her son while I got on my feet. On September 11, 2014 I arrived in Bradford, NH where my friend lives. I met a neighbor of hers who was a freestater from Texas. I constantly talked to her about the community and how to get connected to the right people for employment and to become active. While staying on my friends couch a few days our relationship became strained. I no longer felt welcomed. I had to leave. When I left Bradford I had less than $400 in my pocket, I had no idea where I was going, where I was going to live, or how I was going to survive.
The freestater neighbor referred me to FSP Facebook groups, she talked to some FSP friends of hers and suggested I go to a private members-only club in Manchester. I wrote a synapse of my situation and posted in a FSP group. A freestater from Chicago, living in Manchester, contacted me. We agreed to meet at a local coffee shop to see if he would be willing to put me up for a couple of nights. Our conversation was informative for both of us.
I learned about the size of the community in Manchester, about the diversity within the community, and that the club was having a social event that very evening. The freestater from Chicago, Scott, invited me to attend this event with him. He explained it would be a great place to start networking within the community. He expressed that some attendees of this social event would be people with the potential to provide me with employment opportunities and more permanent housing situations. So, without hesitation, I accepted Scott's invitation.
We arrived at “That Place” and Scott introduced me to a couple of people and I started listening and talking to anyone who engaged me in conversation. I spoke with a guy, Calvin, about my situation. The freestater from Texas and he had spoken about me earlier in the day. He said he would talk to a guy he knew and see if he needed a Frontend Web Developer, since that was the type of position I was searching for. Chris and I met and spoke for quite some time. At the end of the conversation he offered me a part-time gig and a room with a bed, nothing fancy, rent free for 2 months! It was certainly convenient that within 12 hours of arriving in Manchester and connecting with the community, I procured employment and a place to call home. The room was in an apartment above “That Place”, which is freestater owned. When I fell asleep upon Scott’s couch that night, I felt a peace flowing through me, like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. The next day I would meet Chris for breakfast and start working for him as Frontend Web Developer.
We met at a local diner. While having breakfast I also filled out an application for a cook position. It just so happened that a cook was just let go 20 minutes prior. I met with the manager, was hired as part time line cook, and started the next day.
Within 24 hours of arriving in Manchester to join the Free State Project community, I was gainfully employed and had a roof over my head. I arrived on a Wednesday evening, moved into my room Thursday, started one part time job Thursday and another Friday. Within 48 hours my life was on track. I absolutely felt I had made the right decision.
Now it is 2017. I am a fulltime Uber/Lyft driver. I still live in Manchester. I have met the woman I will spend the rest of my days with. I am putting my roots down here in the Shire, because “it’s like this here, too”. I am also pursuing some creative and liberty minded endeavors. Perhaps I will write of those in the future. I truly hope there will be true liberty in my lifetime.