It’s easy to romanticize being isolated from society on an island in the middle of nowhere. Often, stories of being marooned or shipwrecked are tragic, like Lost and Castaway, while other times there’s romance and hijinks, like on Gilligan’s Island or Fantasy Island. Survivor has had so many seasons and has spawned knock-offs like Redneck Island and Are You the One?, both of which I love. Sure, it’s all for entertainment, but it raises a valid argument: if you could experience a “deserted island” experience, would you? I’m not talking all those hypothetical questions you get asked like “For a million dollars, would you become a hermit?” or “If you could bring one thing, what would it be?” Instead, I ask you in all seriousness because this opportunity exists and I am hoping to take part in it.
There is a small island off the coast of Tasmania called Maatsuyker Island, where it’s rainy and lush and slightly chilly year round. There are 3 homes plus a lighthouse, and you only get there by helicopter. There are wild potatoes along with a garden, and exotic animal life-like seals, penguins, and plenty of birds. And this can all be mine for six months.
But there is a catch.
Actually, many catches.
The island needs year round caretakers to maintain the grounds and ensure the proper treatment of the island, which is a volunteer position. There is also the duty of meteorological data collection daily, which is a paying job. The rest of the time is up to me and my wife. This adventure is designed with couples in mind who work well with one another and can survive together. There is electricity and water and basic furnishings and appliances, but there is no internet, television, or regular mail. Furthermore, all food, necessities, entertainment, and extras must be brought all at the beginning to last the entire duration. With limited freezer and refrigerator space, this means that fresh meats, dairy products, and perishables must be kept to a minimum.
Suddenly, this extensive dream getaway doesn’t sound so dreamy.
On the one hand, it’s a once in a lifetime adventure that I can share with my wife, to explore and grow and not be distracted by the outside world. No phone alerts or work schedules or Hollywood scandals or news about disasters or celebrity deaths or political nightmares. A truly serene and quiet chance to reflect, to let go of your worries and discover yourself. How to survive, to ration, to improvise, to adapt. That book you wanted to write? BOOM, perfect opportunity for that. Wanna be an artist? Pull out some canvas and let the horizon be your muse. Weight loss? Easy, don’t pack junk food and walk every day. How many comics could you read? 500? 1,000? If you run out, create your own! Think of the possibilities!
On the other hand, you miss six months of the real world. New movies, shows, comics, books, music. All old news by the time you return to your life. If there is a wedding, graduation, or funeral, you miss it. A loved one becomes ill or dies, you don’t even know it. What if you run out of food? Or you break your only pair of glasses? There’s no Google. No Twitter feed. Facebook posts. Email. Nothing. Also, what if your relationship with your chosen partner is not as strong as you thought, and you are now stuck there with them. No quick trips to the store or fast food or church or bowling night. Just you and your partner, for six months.
Then, there is the issue of finances. Sure, you get paid to do work there, but will it be enough to assimilate into society again? You must buy everything upfront, cancel/postpone ongoing bills, possibly sell your car or home, and other financial strain. It is unclear whether or not travel expenses will be reimbursed, so that is another concern. Each participant is allowed 716 lbs. of cargo, but if we travel by plane, how much can we really take without going broke?
But the adventure! Isn’t that worth the investment?
Well, you can see how my wife and I are torn on the subject between really wanting to pursue this and dreading all the possible disadvantages that come with a step like this. We are two college educated people with jobs not pertaining to our career of choice living with relatives, so our circumstances aren’t that great. Maybe a fresh start is what we need. You know, disconnect, reevaluate our lives and come back with a plan and no strings attached. My wife is a zoologist/biologist, so she could easily do research on the island and that would benefit her career. Sure there are worries and concerns, but that is part of what makes it exciting. All I know is that we are going to start the application process and go from there. If they don’t allow dogs, it’s a deal breaker. There are probably much better candidates with less baggage and more money than us willing to do this, but one can hope. Who knows, maybe the stars will align and there is a challenge waiting for us on the other side of the world?
Until we find out, I guess I’ll keep working a dead-end job and live on a dead-end street in a dead-end town. So wish us luck. I leave you with this: when opportunity presents itself, why not take a dive? No one ever went anywhere by staying still. Carpe Diem.
Let me know your thoughts, ideas, concerns, or support by commenting on this below or contacting me via Twitter (@bamfingbob). Thanks for reading this uncharacteristic, non-comic related article and I hope you will read my other content, as it makes all the hard work worth it. BAMF!