A Hunger for Desolate Places

3 Jan

I’ve always wanted to travel to hard-to-reach places, simply because they are desolate, hard to get to, and have very few people. It could just be an extension of my introverted nature, but what is so special about nothingness?

As Prince Faisal says in the movie Lawrence of Arabia, “The English have a great hunger for desolate places.” Here in Arizona, we have a lot of desolation–the Sonoran Desert is a wild, beautiful bunch of nothing. Plus we get mountains, which is pretty cool, but it tends to be uncomfortably hot for exploring for half the year. However, you are never more than a hour from civilization–further depending on how you define it. However, I grew up in a small town, so I have a much wider definition than city boys.

That being said, I have found a few places that I love to go to that are blessedly desolate.

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach is one of the most popular beach destinations on the East Coast. However, at the southern edge of this beach is Back Bay, a wildlife preserve that you’re not allowed drive past the front gate. In other words, you have to hike or bike into the area. So if you’re willing to walk for a couple miles, you will find you have the whole beach to yourself.

At a time in my life that I was at my lowest (and heaviest), this was a wonderful discovery. It’s amazing!

Cliff Island, Maine

This is the farthest you can go on the Casco Bay Ferries. When I (briefly) lived in Portland, Maine, I used to take the ferries on the weekend to go exploring on the coastal islands. This particular island takes about two hours to ride out to, and because it’s so remote, it has one of the few remaining one-room schoolhouses still in operation in the US. (The high schoolers still have to take the ferry both ways daily.)

As you might imagine, there’s very few people who live on the island, and there’s not much to do, but since all I wanted to do was go exploring between ferry stops, it was perfect. You can walk all around the island and not run into a single soul.

Kok Mak, Thailand

This is a tourist destination, but not a very popular one. This tiny island in the Bay of Thailand is again hard to get to. It takes two hours by ferry (or one by hovercraft) to get to, after travelling four hours by bus east of Bangkok. It was originally a rubber plantation. There are expensive resorts on the island, but there’s also nicely priced bungalows like the one me and my wife shared. We liked this place so much we went there twice–in the on season and the off–and loved it a lot. So many European tourists were there who were afraid to eat anything but spaghetti and noodles, but you can rent a moped, or just walk around, and find wonderful restaurants and shops… or just explore the beach or forest. It’s a great place.

What desolate or sparsely-populated places have you been to? Does the emptiness call to you as well? Let me know in the comments below!

2 Responses to “A Hunger for Desolate Places”

  1. Sheree January 3, 2021 at 10:42 am #

    I confess I loved the desert in Arizona but generally I’m an urban gal


  1. Island Hermit, Still Has Wi-Fi | Albigensia Press - May 1, 2021

    […] dreamed about moving to remote and difficult to reach locations since I was young. This guy happened to be sailing and his ship […]

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