We spent 5 days peeing, pooping, breastfeeding, getting into a car accident, driving all day and all night to get back home. All the while, during a pandemic
Here, I sit anxiously in the afternoon sun on a cold winter’s day. I can’t help but think about how warm the sun feels on my face. It reminds me of the winters I spent in Portland, Oregon. I remember thinking back then that the weather was so nice, it was great to be able to take the kids out to the park in the middle of February, in hoodies if it was windy. Warmer, less snow, more government maintained parks. What’s not to love?
A lot. Beyond my own personal preferences, that which dictated that I felt out of place, there’s a lot to not like about living on the west coast. I grow anxious thinking about my two year sentence in the Beaver State, the low level PTSD I suffer when my mind forces me to think about my days there. I feel that I left unfinished business. I left, before I was able to help grow liberty.
I’ve had this feeling before. It was two years earlier when I took a job with a company that offered it to me if I chose to move away from my project, my friends, my home and my way of life. I’m someone who cherished just a chance to have a career that could help me provide for my family and put myself on the road to financial independence. I watched as my friends came to my trailer park home to help me fix it up, repair, and clean so that I could sell the home and make my exit. It was the opposite of the now famous “Move In Party” that comes with moving to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project, a move I made in 2009. My drive out of the state with some of my belongings that fateful day led to me pulling over and asking myself what I was about to do. I was leaving unfinished business. I left, before I was able to help grow liberty.
Of course, in hindsight, such a statement was and is untrue. For almost a decade, I was able to help a number of projects come to fruition. I was the photographer for a number of liberty events in New Hampshire. I helped raise a small lakes region libertarians group into a force for good, hosting beach barbeques and toy drives for charity. We brought people out of their holes and made them network. We organized for liberty. Then, I left.
When life had become so unbearable in Portland, my wife and I made the very tough decision to split up our family. I was going to drive them back home to New Hampshire, and then after my family leave was over I would return to Portland, myself. I would live out of a van long enough to sack away enough funds to begin looking for a similar job back home. I love my job, but I was not able to keep my family safe in that city. It was no life worth living. Neither was it the life to be without my kids, but at least I could tell myself that the tears and heartache were temporary and for their safety. But then, a savior came and made all my problems disappear. That savior was Covid-19.
Without going too deep into our quest, on a day we now call Evacuation Day, May 14 of 2020, we had packed away 80% of our belongings in a storage unit outside of Portland. We packed the other 20% into our van, on top of our van, all around our van, anywhere we could put something we did. A 3200 mile trek across America with two toddlers, an infant, a wife, a cat and myself. We spent 5 days peeing, pooping, breastfeeding, getting into a car accident, driving all day and all night to get back home. All the while, during a pandemic the media said would most certainly take anyone daring enough to travel during the time period.
We arrived back in New Hampshire and sought refuge with family. We watched as the Portland we already knew was terrible fell even further into the droves of a third world communist country. We watched as places we once frequented were burned, people attacked, tagged, looted by the most degenerate populous in the country. Every day we sat in New Hampshire, turning on the news or opening up the feed on our phones to see the chaos and destruction and we looked at each other and reminded ourselves of how lucky we were to make the move, again.
After a few months, we began to join the rest of America and attempt to find a home. Many early offers led to many early disappointments. We were coming without cash, and we were competing against very wealthy Massholes. My wife spotted a place in Laconia, and I instantly declined. After the home purchase had fallen through by another buyer, we took another look. I fell in love. Plenty of space for my children, and a design I could live with. The former negative opinions I had were changed. We went for it, made an offer, and landed it. My oldest son said “this house should be called the Lucky House, because we were lucky to get it.”
We moved into the Lucky House at the end of September. Instantly, in the midst of moving my items into the house, I realized that there was a big, very big and wide open space above the garage I had no intention, nor goods, to store there.
Before I had left for Oregon, a friend of mine in the Lakes Region Porcupines and myself wondered what it would take for us to have our own space. Many liberty clubhouses in New Hampshire had been started in the past, and many had failed out for one reason or another. Others were extremely well funded and had a large membership base. Neither of those things applied to us at the time.
But now, we find ourselves with some space and it’s controlled by me. Our dreams of opening a place for libertarians, liberty oriented individuals can come to be safe, to work and plan, to learn and grow and mostly to organize. As my friend stated so eloquently, “We have been talking about having a place for over ten years, without another spot that’s any better, I say we go for it!”
Let’s go for it. Let’s open a place where we can be our whole selves. Where we can speak without fear of retribution. Where we can organize events, activism, and ourselves. A place we can learn to be better, smarter, more informed, and gain talents. A place for sharing, not only of breaking bread together but sharing good times, sharing our ideas, and to share our talents.