It’s common to have that “I need to get away” feeling, especially if you live in a densely populated area. A crowded commute, a traffic jam, or an endless line at the grocery store is enough to make you consider selling your house and taking off to live in a cave like a hermit.
Honestly, you would probably regret that decision almost immediately. Some people, though, love the remote life. Sometimes they grew up there, and sometimes they move there for work (usually military or scientific research). But however you get there, you’ll be amazed that humans managed to end up in some parts of the planet.
1.) The Republic of Nauru
You probably didn’t know about this tiny island nation located nearly 3,000 miles away from Honolulu. The only way to get here is from Brisbane, Australia; flights from there go to Nauru once a week. Once called Pleasant Island, it features a weird, barren landscape of limestone pinnacles on its interior due to over-mining of phosphate. It has almost no tourism industry, despite being not too far from Papua New Guinea, and as a result, unemployment is about 90%.
You probably haven’t heard of Supai, but you definitely know where it is. This tiny village of about 500 people is located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and can only be reached by mule. This is also now mail is delivered to the village. Despite its famous surroundings, the town is easy to forget. In 2000, it was completely left off the U.S. Census.
Located between Tasmania and Antarctica, this tiny island is home to Australian scientists coming here for research purposes. There are usually around 20 scientists on the island, along with their support staff, and that’s it. Though that’s not if you count the various species of seals and penguins.
4.) Alert, Nunavut, Canada
Located nearly 500 miles from of the North Pole, this town has a year-round population of five. Due to its latitude, it gets 24 hours of sun in the summer and 24 hours of darkness in the winter. Temperatures also sometimes drop to 40 below zero. There’s an airport, mainly used by the military, but severe winter weather renders it useless most of the time.
To get to Motuo (Medog) County, you have to hike through the Himalayas and cross a 650 ft. suspension bridge. Those who have made the trip say that it’s worth it. Because it’s so remote, the land retains its natural beauty. Several attempts at giving this county road access were made;It’s the only county in China without. However, mudslides, avalanches and other natural disasters kept disrupting the process. In 2010, a highway was completed, but only worked for a short time before it was overtaken by the forest.
6.) Pitcairn Island
Remember Mutiny on the Bounty? That was a true story. The mutineers, who would be executed if they returned home, chose to stay here, on Pitcairn Island in the middle of the Pacific. Today, about 50 people live here, and most of them are direct descendants of those mutinous crewmen, like the man pictured here. The locals farm, fish, and sell stamps to visitors. Because it lacks an airport, you need to take a shipping boat from New Zealand to get here. The trip takes 10 days.
7.) Kerguelen Islands
They’re nicknamed the “Desolation Islands” for a reason. Located in the southwestern Indian Ocean, these islands never had an indigenous population. France, who maintains it as a territory, keeps a steady population of scientists, engineers and researchers there. Like Pitcairn, the only way to get to and from here is by ship, but it’s a comparatively short ride at only six days.
8.) Ittoqqortoomiit, Greenland
Greenland has a total population of 57,000, which seems surprisingly high. This is the most remote of all the settlements on Greenland, with a population of 500. It’s a fishing and hunting village. Because the sea is full of ice, ships can’t access Ittoqqortoomiit for around three months each year. There is an airport only about 25 miles away, but it’s not used too often.
9.) Tristan Da Cunha
This island is part of an archipelago between the southern ends of Africa (1,243 miles away) and South America (2,000+ miles away). It is so remote that its inhabitants have their own dialect of English. One of the uninhabited islands in the archipelago is also (humorously) named Inaccessible Island. There are 297 people living here, and only eight surnames between them. They’re all descended from a group of 15 settlers who arrived here during the nineteenth century. They also have their own government, although they’re technically part of Great Britain. The island received TV for the first time in 2000, thanks to the BBC.
10.) La Rinconada, Peru
La Rinconada has the distinction of being the highest city in the world at 17,000 feet above sea level, located on a glacier on a mountain. It’s a mining town and, compared to other places on this list, has a pretty dense population of about 30,000, although most do not live here year-round. Altitude sickness is a real threat due to the location.
Feeling overcrowded? Perhaps a trip to one of these locations is in order. However, you will need about two months of free time and a disposition for roughing it. Or maybe you just need to take a nice relaxing shower and watch Netflix. A little alone time never hurt anyone.