Maybe it’s a severe case of wanderlust, maybe it’s just due to an irrational fascination, but lately I’ve been dreaming about traveling to far away places. I know what you’re thinking, yes, Europe or South America qualify as being far enough away depending on your point of view. However, the wanderlust for severely isolated places has been hitting me, and hitting me hard. In particular, I’ve been reading about and watching plenty of videos about the Falkland Islands, the British overseas territory of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (“where?” you’re likely asking), the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, and the Russian Far East. Yes, they’re essentially as far removed from civilization as you can ask for, but that’s what draws me to them. There’s something so unique about reaching the far corners of the earth, and while I know it’ll be a logistic nightmare (getting to the northeastern-most point of Russia is, at last count, three times as expensive as going back home to America), I do think it’ll be the ultimate travel adventure. Also, I’m fully aware that these destinations are essentially dreams, but if I can make it to any one of them, I’ll be content.
Now, I know that everybody who is reading this is wondering about why on earth (ha, I’m funny) would I ever get the idea to travel to the lesser-known parts of the world. With the Falklands, I just think it’s fascinating to visit an island that not only was the site of a relatively brief war, but thriving in the southern confines of the Atlantic Ocean. This also ties in with my romantic notions of how a populace of ~2,000 souls get by, therefore I naturally want to investigate in person. Yet another explanation is that I just am highly interested in taking in the remnants and sights from the Falklands War; it’s a conflict that I feel is underrepresented in history. Moving closer to the next destination, South Georgia (and the South Sandwich Islands). The main attraction is the degree of seclusion, and not much else. Naturally, assuming I do wind up there, I won’t be there for long. At the settlement of Grytviken, the final resting place of the intrepid Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton serves as the main attraction. The little settlement offers not much more than a church and a small museum, as the official capital of the territory is at King Edward Point. I think that in a way it’s fascinating there’s a museum there, staffed during the summer months. I mean, it’d be one of the most interestingly tedious places to work at, but research indicates there’s a solid traffic there due to Antarctic-bound cruise ships. Looking at Svalbard, it’d be pretty hard to beat the fact that I (potentially) would be spending time in Longyearbyen, the world’s northernmost settlement over 1,000 people. A fun fact is that in Barentsburg, the predominantly Russian coal mining settlement on the archipelago, there’s a Russian consulate. Gotta feel for the guys assigned there, eh? Finally, I figured that since I’m graciously on Russian visa enabling me to work/stay in the country, I might as well use this time to travel along the breath and width of the massive country. Since I also have a desire to travel to solitary, out of the way places in the world, the northeastern city (by Siberian standards, anyways) of Anadyr. It’s also extremely close to Alaska, so I hopefully can channel former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin and attempt to see somebody’s house. Sorry, I had to throw that in here. Anyways, I don’t just want to limit myself to the NE, but the island of Sakhalin also has my fancy. Why there? I do admit to having a bit of fondness for seafood and the exotic travel, so they marry together to form an idealistic itinerary. Kamchatka, which inspired the name of a bar in Moscow, also would be an ideal destination. It’s known more for the rugged terrain, but recently it’s been getting some press for the surfing(!). I’ve never surfed before, but if I can snorkel in Alaska, I might as well do something nutty-ish while I travel in Russia.
A cool YouTube channel I found that has admittedly stoked my desire to travel to Svalbard can be found here. It obviously shows the gorgeous, pristine landscape of the isolated territory while highlighting the uniqueness of living that far north. And for those of you wondering about the accessibility, I’ve found out that there are a surprising number of flights that primarily originate from Norway. So, who knows. Maybe this dream is a lot closer to happening than I’d imagined!
So, that’s it for me. What are your unconventionally dreamy travel destinations?