The Atchley family lives over 200-miles away from the nearest soul in the wilderness of Alaska. David and Romey Atchley have lived remotely in this area off the Nowitna River for 18-years. Their 13-year-old son Sky was born there too. They live what you may call a “hippy” lifestyle. They love smoking weed and steaming naked together in their sauna. But, the Atchley’s say they prefer their way of life to dealing with people, who they say are “too much effort.” David even said he’d leave his wife if she ever tried to get an internet connection. Paranoid much? They only leave their cabin for one month out of the year to visit family in Alabama.
The cabin on the Icelandic Elliðaey Island has been called the most remote home in the world. Not much is known about the mysterious island. About 300 years ago, it is thought that five families lived on the island, where they hunted puffin and raised cattle. By the 1930s inhabiting the island became impractical and all the inhabitants left. But, the island remained a prime puffin hunting location and in 1953 the Elliðaey Hunting Association built a lodge on the island for hunting use. There are some unfounded rumors that the island was gifted to the Icelandic singer, Bjork.
The village of Gásadalur is located on the island of Vágar in the Faroe Islands. The island is notoriously difficult to get to. It’s surrounded by steep cliffs by the sea, and massive mountain peaks on land. In 2004, a tunnel was blasted through the mountain allowing automobile access to the village. However, the population is still microscopic, with only about 18 inhabitants.
Casa do Penedo, or the Stone House, located in the Fafe Mountains in Portugal is nestled in between a rock and a hard place. Literally, it was constructed between four massive boulders. Though it looks like a Stone Age relic, the home was actually built in 1974. The house doesn’t have any electricity but has a cozy fireplace and a swimming pool.
The Crystal Mill, or the Sheep Mountain Mill, is in Crystal, Colo. The powerhouse was built in 1892 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. The mill never had electricity. It used to power a massive air compressor, which was used to power drills in nearby mines.
Life is simple for the solitary monk who lives in the church on top of the Katskhi Pillar in central Georgia. Maxime Qavataradze, 59, has lived atop the pillar for over 20 years. Daily, he has supplies hauled up to him through a pulley system. If he ever wants to leave the pillar, he must spend 20 minutes descending a 131-foot ladder. A church was fist built on top of the Katskhi Pillar in the 7th century. The concept was inspired by the Stylites.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Bishop Rock, Great Britain, is “The World’s Smallest Island with a Building on It.” The entire island is about 46 meters long. In 1847, construction began on a 167-foot lighthouse. In 1858, lighthouse keepers moved in, officially inhabiting the island.
While La Rinconda, Peru, might have some 50,000 inhabitants the village itself is one of the most isolated communities in the world. The town is the highest city in the world, located at 16,732 feet above sea level. The town is primarily a gold mining community with access to mines near the town. Life in the town is harsh and its people live in squalor. There is no indoor plumbing or sanitation services, and garbage is strewn about everywhere on the outskirts of the town.
The Hermitage of San Colombano is carved into a cliff face about 120-meters up in Trento, Italy. This is the perfect place for hermits to be just that. It is said the hermitage was built on the site where a saint killed a dragon. It was built in 1319 and was in use until 1782. It reopened in 1996.
In the early 1900s, Kolmanskop, Namibia was a thriving town located in the Namib desert. That’s because of a diamond rush that drew in hundreds of German immigrants. The town had many modern amenities and was the location of Africa’s first tram. However, after the price of diamonds dropped after WWI, the inhabitants migrated south. It was completely abandoned by 1954. Now it is a ghostly museum of homes swallowed by sand dunes.
Located in the South Atlantic, Tristan da Cunha is the world’s most remote inhabited island. The nearest mainland city is located 1,743 miles east in Cape Town, South Africa. You can only access the island by boat, as there is no airport. It also rains most of the year and there is a giant volcano located right in the center. There are also no hotels or restaurants. Just under 300 people live in this hermit haven.
Tucked away in the mountains of Guadalajara Spain is an old abandoned village that only recently was partially repopulated by a small co-op. There is only about a handful of people who live there (and only part of the year). They rebuilt the homes from the original stone work of the abandoned village. They don’t have electricity or running water. It takes about an hour car ride (you better have four-wheel-drive) up a winding mountain dirt road to get here.
McMurdo Station in Antarctica is the continent’s largest settlement. In the summer, the population can reach just around 1,000 people. The community is mostly made up of scientific researchers, though some average working stiffs can be found in the settlement, too. They have their own newspaper and curling rink to keep the isolated settlers from going completely nuts.
The Paro Taktsang Monastery, or “The Tigers Nest,” is a monastery built into the side of a 3,000-meter cliff in Bhutan. Built in 1692, the monastery remains a practicing Buddhist temple. Legend has it that guru Padmasambhava flew to the temple on the back of a tigress, hence the name. Tourists are not allowed to enter.
In Meteora, Greece, some 400 meters above the town of Kalambaka lies The Holy Trinity Monastery. The still functioning monastery dates back to the 15h century. Visitors can visit the monastery by climbing up 140 steps carved into a steep cliff.