While you may feel like you are all alone in your house, apartment, condo, van or what have you, you most likely are not. In many places, the absence of people is hard to find. Hence why some of us choose to escape the bustle of civilization and get lost in nature for a bit.
But for some people being in self-isolation is not new. Even in this highly populated world of ours there are still places that have been relatively untouched by man (a miracle really). Below you will find six of the most remote places on this wonderful planet.
Tristan da Cunha
Made up of a group of volcanic islands in the south Atlantic Ocean, Tristan da Cunha is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world. Home to 250 people, the namesake and largest of the islands is still only 11 square kilometers in diameter (and roughly 98 square kilometers total). To reach the island you have to take a boat (there is no airstrip) on a six-day journey from the nearest port: Cape Town, South Africa, a mere 2,161 kilometers away.
Learn more about the island and its biodiversity here.
Cape York Peninsula
A large remote area located in Far North Queensland of Australia, the Cape York Peninsula is the largest unspoiled wilderness in northern Australia and even the world. Home to various types of ecosystems, including savannas and tropical rainforests, today it is recognized and preserved for its global environmental significance. Presently, there are only about 18,000 people living in the area, with roughly 60% of them being Aborigines. Other inhabitants include 700 vertebrate land mammals, 40 of which are endemic - or only found - on the peninsula, this includes many unique types of birds and reptiles, like the eastern brown snake, one of the most venomous snakes in the world (it is responsible for 60% of snake deaths in Australia). And if the eastern brown snake doesn’t deter you this might: there are two types of crocodiles in the area, the freshwater variety and the saltwater. The latter of which is known to stalk and kill humans for food.
If you want to see this diverse landscape for yourself, or just want some more information on Cape York Peninsula, check this out.
While it doesn’t take the prize for the most isolated inhabited place on Earth, it does win for the coldest. This small town, population 500, lives in bitingly cold temperatures practically year-round: think an average temperature of -58 degrees (!!!). In fact, if you stood outside naked, it would only take ONE minute for you to freeze to death. Because of the cold, the townspeople cannot grow crops. So instead they subsist on reindeer meat, frozen fish and ice cubes of horse blood mixed with macaroni.
If you are looking to venture to Oymyakon you will have to first fly to either Yakutsk or Magadan and then drive 580 miles. And be aware, the town has no hotels or restaurants, so expect to get cozy with a local family. Learn more here.
Siwa Oasis, Egypt
Isolated right in the middle of the Western Desert of Egypt, this town has somehow been able to preserve its culture and history thanks to it being so hard to get to (think a 5 hour bus ride from Cairo). The area is thought to be the easternmost extension to the Berber descendants (the original inhabitants of North Africa). Today, tribes of the oasis have managed to retain their Siwi language, in addition to much of their unique Amazigh culture, including subsisting mostly on two main crops: dates and olives, something they've done for hundreds of years.
Of all the places on this list, this might be the most easily available one to adventure to. So if you want to check it out yourself, check out this guide for more information.
Often called “The Roof of the World” this region in the high reaches of Tibet - elevation can range anywhere from 4,000 to 9,000 meters - is not only tough to get too, but also expensive. You have to get a permit, which can cost upwards of a couple THOUSAND dollars. If you do end up buying the permit, you can reach the pristine 700,000 square kilometer area of the Tibetan Plateau - one of the last great wild landscapes in the world - either by plane or train. Roughly the size of Germany, Poland and Lithuania combined, Changtang is a largely uninhabited land of rolling alpine steppe and snow-capped mountains. Even though it is
extremely cold and dry, it is home to a plethora of unique wildlife. Including the hiru, snow leopards, Tibetan wild ass (kiang), Tibetan brown bears, blue sheep, Tibetan sand foxes, black-necked cranes, and wild yaks. It is also home to the namesake Chang Tang people and their nomadic herding culture - one of the last cultures to follow those traditions in the world.
If you are anything like us, venturing into the highlands of Tibet sounds absolutely AMAZING. Learn more about the area and the conservation efforts taking place there, here.
Located on the remote Arctic island of Svalbard (which sounds like a place from the book, “The Golden Compass”), sits the tiny metropolis of Longyearbyen, home to 2,400 residents from 53 different countries - talk about a melting pot! Known for its hospitality and comfort (yes comfort), the town is a gateway to some of the most pristine Arctic wildlands. There are only about 40 kilometers of roads in the town, which use numbers instead of names, including many with separate roads specifically for snowmobiles. While it might seem like a harsh and empty area, in truth Longyearbyen is a bustling town with all the major urban necessities (while it only has one grocery store, it also has a university, where every student has to learn to use a firearm due to the resident polar bear population).
To get to Longyearbyen, which has the most northerly airport in the world, you have to take a 3-hour flight from Oslo, Norway, (flights luckily run year-round). Learn more about this northern adventure land by checking out their official website.
Who would have thought there would still be some untouched wilderness in the United States (especially in mainland USA)? But somehow a place like Supai, located in the desert of Arizona, has held on. Today you can only reach the town by helicopter (very expensive), horseback or on your own two feet - even the postal service has to use mules to bring the mail. The town is home to 208 people, all of which are members of the Havasupai Indian Tribe, one of the smallest federally recognized tribal nations in the US. The Havasupai people have resided within the Grand Canyon, where Supai is located, for more than 800 years. Today tourists make the 8-mile trek to visit the famous, and very Instagramed, Havasu Falls - a stunning blue-green waterfall that runs year-round. But because of the high demand of visitors there is now an online reservation system that gets completely booked within days of opening.
If you are looking to visit the Havasupai Indian Tribal lands, home to Supai and Havasu Falls, we recommend visiting the Grand Canyon NP website and the tribes own personal page, found here.
Grab your bag, your camera and lots of good books and escape the madness of the cities. And instead take self-isolation up a notch (or 10) in these extremely remote places! While you probably won't see a lot of people, you will definitely experience some of the most beautiful (and untouched places) in the world.
To learn more about other remote places (hint a lot of islands), check out this article from Insider.