Let’s get away from it all! Who hasn’t had that wish? We hear it every day. “Name one album you would take with you on a desert island.”
Picking the album is easy. But if the genie in the lamp truly offered you an island all to yourself, far away from people, distractions, stress, responsibility, pollution, and our daily madness, where would you go?
Is there a remote island to pick to truly have that feeling of really, really getting away from it all?
We’ve got three options for you. Either pack lightly (to fully embrace the minimalist lifestyle that awaits) or bring a lot if you want accouterments to steady your chill. Plan now, because you’re going to be entirely on your own and far away from everything.
Don’t worry; we’ve got your back. We’re not going to send you any place weird. Extreme remoteness for peace of mind is the name of the game here, but we do have standards.
In other words forget Norway’s largest island, Spitsbergen. Maybe it is almost 600 miles from Europe. That kind of isolation is dope for alone-seekers. But it’s covered in ice and snow and polar bears. We’re going to nix this one because obviously.
And don’t bother with the Pitcairn Islands. The year-round warm weather in the South Pacific will get your attention. The isolation is sweet for your inner introvert since the four volcanic islands have a combined land area of about 18 square miles spread across several hundred miles of ocean. And you’ll have alone time with only about 50 permanent residents around. But in 2004, nearly a third of the male population (in other words, about 13 dudes) faced skeezy charges on multiple counts of sex with minors. So, we’ll pass on this pseudo-paradise.
Now that we have some ground rules, start rubbing that Aladdin lamp. If you have a genuine wish to seek extreme remote island paradise all for yourself, here are our top three choices:
3. Tern Island
Tern gets a big plus with the added sense of purpose that comes with being in an isolated and remote paradise.
Located 564 miles northwest of Honolulu, Tern is a 30-acre coral island that took shape when U.S. Navy expanded the bulk of the land to include a 3,300-foot landing strip for refueling purposes. Other than that, it’s all about the wildlife.
The atoll is the nesting habitat for 95% of the population of threatened Hawaiian green sea turtles, the EPA reports. The whole island, in fact, is an oasis for marine mammals like the endangered monk seal and is the breeding site for 18 species of seabirds including the Tern bird itself.
“Around 100,000 of these terns breed on almost every available space on the island,” Duncan Wright, an ornithologist, wrote on 10000birds.com, “and walking through groups of them is a deafening and quite painful experience.”
Protecting animals is indeed cool. And the island’s turquoise blue water and average year-round subtropical climate temperature of 80 degrees make it a true paradise.
The only residents are scientists, so your best bet is to volunteer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which will get you a spot in the old Coast Guard barracks with dorm-style bedrooms. There’s also high-speed Internet, but you’ll want the sunsets, the snorkeling, and the beach-laying pace.
2. Aldabra Atoll
This colossal coral atoll has it all. It’s so remote, that when you hear that the island is 715 miles away from Mahé, you’ll forget that you don’t even know where Mahé is in the first place. Aldabra is in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and that’s all you’ll ever need to care about when you move in.
Let’s get right to the goods: There’s a lagoon that measures 62 miles across. So, there’s that. The reported average high is around 88 degrees Fahrenheit with an average low of about, ahem, 72. Crazy monsoons bring tons of water, but you’ll have enough beach trees to squat under during meditation rain.
And we get it; you don’t like people. That’s pretty obvious if you wish to live on your own extreme, remote island in the first place. It’s cool; we’re not judging. We’re here to help.
With an area of about 60 square miles, there are only about 12 residents, and they’re scientific researchers to boot. Not only are regular people not allowed to live here, but few humans have also ever actually set foot here, making for a pristine and undisturbed natural habitat. So when you arrive, don’t bring your Starbucks cup.
You’ll be shacking up with tiny coconut crabs, and green sea turtles who visit your beach to lay eggs. Mostly you’ll be living with the largest colony of wild giant tortoises in the world, numbering around 150,000, and they roam as though they own the place, which they kind of do.
1. Tristan da Cunha
The main island of a remote group of volcanic islands in the South Atlantic has a lot going for it on anyone’s wish list.
You want remote? With 1,500 miles between you and the nearest inhabited land and another 1,500 miles away from the nearest continent, Tristan da Cunha is literally the most remote inhabited island group on the planet.
Do you want not to be bothered?
There’s no airport, so it’s only reachable by sea. There’s a population less than 300. And there’s reportedly no mobile phone coverage on the islands. (But there is an Internet café, so you can probably eek out some Netflix.)
Looking for some fun? Fishing, unsurprisingly, is big on the island. The summer season gets underway with something called “Sheep Shearing Day,” so that sounds as quaint as the Internet café. And many of your neighbors will be rockhopper penguins.
Weather? The average high for the year 63 degrees Fahrenheit, average low 54. Tons of rain, though, with limited sunshine. Okay, we’re not going to be picky at this point.
We’ll bring an umbrella, but, still, Check.
Cool factor? Poe wrote about Tristan da Cunha, as did Jules Verde. So the word is out kind of sort of. And if you plan on being there for a good long while, NASA reports that a total solar eclipse will pass over the island in 2048, with the island’s perfect positioning leading to three and a half minutes of pure totality.
In fact “Pure Totality” just became the name of your new manor so bring a hammer and nail to hang your shingle.