As part of our Only in New Hampshire series, we've been getting a lot of questions from listeners about the Free State Project. It's a movement that began almost 20 years ago based on libertarian ideas. The goal is to bring tens of thousands of like-minded people to live in New Hampshire - and influence politics here.
Our reporters have been diving into the movement and its history. For this story, NHPR's Britta Greene talked with couple currently relocating from Indiana to join the Free State Project.
About four years ago, Cyndi Taylor-Hollandbeck was home at her place in Indiana, listening to the news and thinking, this just isn’t the way thing should be. “Our country wasn’t going in the right direction as far as I was concerned,” she said. “Our constitution was being usurped.”
This wasn’t a new feeling for her. She’d been frustrated for years, under both Democratic and Republican administrations. It was all the executive orders and new regulations, she said. She felt leaders were overreaching their powers.
So, she got on her computer, went on Google, and searched “free-est state.” She wanted to know where she could live and be the most free of government. And what popped up on her browser was the Free State Project website.
She clicked the link and watched a video the group had posted, encouraging libertarian-minded people to move to New Hampshire. “I just was bowled over,” she said.
When her husband, Mark, came home from work, she had him watch it, too.
“He was like, 'wow, we’re moving to New Hampshire,'” she said.
So, they started planning. The big hold up was Mark’s job. He works as a maintenance technician with FedEx.
Both he and Cyndi are in their 50s, and he wanted to stay in his career, so he had to find an equivalent job in the Granite State.
They waited years before one opened, but when it did, Mark quickly applied and was hired. That was earlier this spring.
And so, just like that, Mark and Cyndi’s fate was sealed. “It’s so overwhelming that you’re almost numb,” Cyndi said.
Today, Mark’s living in a trailer on another Free Stater’s property in Rindge. The whole set-up is pretty rustic, and Mark has a long commute, but it’s working for him in the short-term.
“It’s kind of weird that your ears pop every time you drive to work,” he said. “But it’s gorgeous.”
And it’s not just the landscape. There’s a strong Free State community in the Monadnock region that he’s becoming acquainted with as well. There are regular events at local restaurants and bars, he said. It’s people from all over, coming together for a cause.
“It kind of reminds me of back in the Revolutionary War days, when they would meet secretly and talk about how they were gonna fight the British,” he said. “We talk about liberty, how we can be active, how you can get elected to be a representative, things like that. I’ve never felt like this until now.”
Cyndi is planning to move to New Hampshire with her mom and Mark’s daughter at the end of the school year. The couple said they're going to try to find a cute little cottage somewhere with a good school district.
Cyndi’s planning to take courses online with NYU in mental health counseling.
And, she said, there’s one more part of the dream: a sailboat. She wants to sail down the coast to Boston Harbor and watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July.
They’ve never sailed before, but now that they’ve got one adventure under their belt, it seems nothing’s out of reach.