‘Free Staters’ walk across country to get message out

Protesting the government’s involvement in everything from financial institutions to the food we eat
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Categories: Schenectady County

Protesting the government’s involvement in everything from financial institutions to the food we eat, Will and Brooke Buchanan are walking across the country on their way to live in the “Live Free or Die” state of New Hampshire.

The couple is involved with the Free State Project, which has a goal of relocating 20,000 people to the state of New Hampshire to create a society free of government control. The organization contends that the government’s only role is to ensure the protection of life, liberty and property.

“The government is too big and intrusive, regular people don’t have a say,” Brooke Buchanan said. “Like the bailout, that wasn’t for us, stuff like that should have been put to a vote.”

The couple started their journey in Cannon Beach, Ore., on April 14 and, after more than 200 days on the road, they arrived in Schenectady from the Amsterdam area and then left for Cohoes Monday.

Brooke Buchanan, 29, originally from Hawaii, went to college in Boston, where she met Will, 35, originally from Indiana.

The pair went back to Hawaii, where Brooke worked as a special education teacher and Will worked as a computer programmer before they decided to heed the word of the Free State Project and move to New Hampshire.

The Buchanans are going to the extreme in their relocation by walking at least part of the way across the country in an effort to spread the word about the Free State Project.

The couple celebrated their third anniversary on the road, along with Brooke’s birthday.

Will Buchanan walks and takes videos of his journey. They are posted on his blog www.willbuchanan.com/blog/, while Brooke watches over their RV home, and catches up with her husband every few miles.

Unprepared for the harshness of a Northeast winter, the couple spent Sunday night huddled in their RV bedroom as temperatures tumbled to the single digits.

“We thought we’d be there already,” Brooke Buchanan said as she curled up next to a portable heater Monday morning.

Unforeseen problems have detained the Buchanans, including the failure of the RV’s transmission.

But the couple is all smiles and laughter as they tell stories about their adventures and the people they’ve met along the way.

The Buchanans said New York is a long way from a “live free” state, with its high taxes and large government.

“New York does need a lot more freedom,” Brook Buchanan said. “We’ve been talking to a lot of people in New York who said the taxes here were the worst.”

The Buchanans said the people in New York have been among the nicest, offering them places to stay and dinners. However there was an incident in Seneca Falls where the couple was detained after a resident complained to the police about Will’s video camera.

There are more than 1,000 free staters already in New Hampshire and the group has elected for government representatives who are affiliated with the cause.

The organization picked New Hampshire after a virtual vote that received 5,000 comments, according to the organization’s Web site. The state was selected because of its small population and its relatively receptive attitude toward the movement. Seat belts are not required for those 18 years old and older, for example. “I wear seat belts because its safe, not because the government tells me to,” Brooke Buchanan said.

Will Buchanan said the reason for the physical move is to create change on a larger scale. Even with today’s technology, the organization felt it would be better for everyone to work in one specific place by being there.

The couple hopes to get across the New Hampshire border from Vermont Saturday and plan to be welcomed by a bunch of other free staters.

“We’re on a deadline,” Brooke Buchanan said.

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