I heard Jason Sorens speak in 2005. He advocated that liberty-oriented individuals around the globe vote with their feet and relocate to New Hampshire (NH) as part of the Free State Project – to pursue liberty in our lifetime. I was intrigued. A month later I drove from DC to Lancaster to attend PorcFest. I was present for less than 24 hours. That was plenty of time to recognize the potential of the idea.
I then got involved with the Mid-Atlantic Free State Project group whilst living in northern Virginia. I valued my experiences there – getting better acquainted with Austrian Economics and its implications, and cultivating other knowledge and skills – but the thought of moving to NH tugged at me. It was appealing to not just talk about liberty, but to actively pursue it.
In 2009 I relocated to NH, which I now call “the ‘shire” for its magical qualities. Keene was homebase for The Motorhome Diaries and Liberty on Tour, as well the place that Cop Block was incubated. It became clear when I was on the road with those projects that, while there are growing pockets of communities who internalize the ideas of self-ownership, the ‘shire was special.
In 2014 – at PorcFest, of course – I met the person who, in 2015, agreed to be my life partner. That fine lady, if you’re unaware, is Amanda B. Johnson. We plan to re-up each year, so long as we’re both still having fun. Based on our frequency of laughs and smiles and songs, I’d say we’re on a good trajectory.
In late 2014 Amanda and I left the ‘shire for Oklahoma City where I got top-notch surgery to repair my ripped bicep. The friendly and entrepreneurial folks at the Oklahoma Surgery Center agreed to be paid entirely in Bitcoin and gold. And the anesthesiologist’s own son was super into Cop Block!
Next, we visited my fam in St. Paul, Minnesota and Amanda’s fam in northeast Utah. It was great to have that quality time, fun to be involved in productive projects, and enjoyable to explore each area.
Then we bought an RV and spent a couple of months in southeast Cali – Slab City. It’s an impromptu RV community in the desert that boasted two private water delivery services. A place USPS doesn’t go, but FedEx and UPS did. It was interesting, but proved not to be the place we wanted to allocate our time and resources.
We then spent two months near Detroit. There is definitely a good crew there – many came together at Michigan Peace & Liberty Coalition events. We were not wanting for transportation, fresh-farm organic food, or a bed to sleep. Detroit is also home to the Threat Management Center and an area ripe for agorist endeavors. We went to a Bitcoin meeteup and a few other events, but eventually concluded that Detroit, too, was not where we wanted to invest ourselves longterm.
In July Amanda and I walked from El Paso, Texas to Juarez, Mexico. Between us, we had two backpacks and one small rolling suitcase. We flew from Juarez to Cancun, and then ferried to the island of Cozumel. Friends Mike and Lauren Macintire were key to our easy landing. Within a couple of days, we found our own place. The cost of living was certainly less than in the USSA, and the ability to swim every day was nice, but – after two months there – we again decided we were not in the place for us.
Where to go? We sat down and on a big piece of paper, we listed a half-dozen possible locations and a dozen quality-of-life preferences. The ‘shire came out on top. But we had heard some rumblings about nonaggressionist individuals in Acapulco and we knew some of them, so we decided to give it a try.
Thirty hours on a bus and many checkpoints later, we arrived. We’ve been in Acapulco for over two months, and things have been good. It’s the birthplace of The Daily Decrypt. I experienced my first earthquakes here. And we’ve met some people that we’ll stay in touch with for years. But the truth is undeniable: both Amanda and I miss the ‘shire.
No, things are not ideal in the USSA, but everything is relative. In Slab City it was common to look east and see a mushroom cloud or to feel the ground shake, because it was right next to a military bombing range. In Detroit the largest gang has dropped nearly all pretense about being a gang. Visitors to Cozumel are often greeted with drug-sniffing dogs going over their luggage. Here in Acapulco, the military is always visible roaming the streets in pickups with mounted guns.
Amanda and I could continue to globe-trot to see how yet another place stacks up. We could go to Cambodia or somewhere where the likelihood and severity of threats from self-proclaimed rulers may be less, but such purposeful isolation means missing much of the spontaneity, excitement, and potential that would be present were we part of a larger homegroup. Sure, we’d be existing, but would we be living? So after a stop in Mexico City this weekend for the Latin American Bitcoin Conference, we’ll return to the ‘shire. We both recognize it as the best place for us to be right now.
There is no perfect, yet we can strive for it. The ‘shire is home to a vibrant, interconnected, deliberate community unlike anything I’ve experienced elsewhere. Personally, it’s the place that I believe I can be of the greatest value, and find the most fulfillment. As an old saying goes, “I’m not free unless you’re free.” A decade after hearing Jason speak, the ‘shire, I believe, is the place with the most potential for this maxim to be realized.