Unhappy with our jobs and direction in life, my girlfriend and I sold our house, moved everything into storage and quickly racked up over fifteen thousand miles in ten weeks. What’s written here is more for myself than anyone else. Memory is a fallable thing and shouldn’t be trusted.
Both Steph and I worked at Hewlett Packard in Vancouver, WA. Being a subhurb of Portland, OR, Vancouver was an ok place to be, but it had gotten big. The county had grown from around 178K in 1987 to around 400K in 2018/2019. Having grown up in and around some of the largest metro areas in the country, being in Clark County had grown tiresome. Simply too many people jammed into too tight a space. Getting anywhere was increasingly exhausting and I knew it wasn’t going to get any better.
But where to go? Oregon was no better. California was the problem. Idaho perhaps? A bit too conservative. That leaves Utah out as well. Nevada only really has Reno and Las Vegas of which neither was appealing. We wanted to homestead and grow some of our own food. All of these states either had high real estate prices or the climate wasn’t inducive to growing. New Mexico, too high up in more ways than one. Montana is stunning in more ways than one.
So if the West Coast was a bust with bad climates or high property prices then we’d have to open up the search to the rest of the country. Taxes had to be better or no worse than WA/OR. A state where the political climate was more in the middle with less extremism. I actually worked with people at HP who participated in demonstrations in downtown Portland, OR. ANTIFA is popular there. Let’s stay away from places that are like that then. What about cannabis? I got bad knees and ankles requiring relief. A well armed society is a polite society. A firearm friendly state is preferrable.
Weed friendly, politically moderate, armed citizens aren’t reviled, and there’s inexpensive land with less restrictive building permit process and a climate inducive to farming. It all boiled down to Maine. I was shocked. Maine? WTF is in Maine? Stephen King, lobsters and trees for as far as the eye can see? Close. Don’t they have screwed up winters? Don’t like ice fishing and snow mobiling? Isn’t the number one cause of death in Maine being eaten by a moose? Turns out, no.
We did as much internet researching as we could. Maine isn’t a tiny state, especially by New England standards. The population of the entire state is under 1.4 million and very slowly declining. More than half a million live in the Portland, ME metro area, the largest city in Maine. The two counties that make up the bulk of the Portland area went Hillary in 2016, the rest of the state went Trump. Seemed politically balanced. If you aren’t otherwise forbidden from possessing a firearm, you can conceal carrry WITHOUT a permit in Maine. While recreational cannabis isn’t legal (it is in nearby MA), weed is decriminalized and you can grown your own for personal use.
There is an income tax that’s in the 5% to 6% range as well as a sales tax. Vehicle registration is very expensive though. There’s a fixed percentage of the manufacture’s MSRP of your vehicle that’s charged yearly. Got a truck for $58K but the MSRP was $70K? Yep, the rate charged is by the MSRP, the higher of the two in this and most cases. So that’s not as good as WA or OR.