So you’ve committed a serious federal crime, or perhaps your crazy ex-girlfriend won’t stop stalking you, or you got a little bit wasted at an office party and HR needs to speak to you urgently about this pants removal situation …
Whatever happened, you’ve decided that it’s time to fake your own death and flee the country ASAP. First off, delete all your social media accounts right now. Now, go buy a wig and maybe a fake mustache to wear on the way to the airport. The final, most important step in this process is to figure out where you’re going to start your new life.
The world is a big place and a U.S. passport will get you pretty much anywhere you want to be. It might be tempting to choose an exciting, bustling city like London or Paris to rebuild your life, but if you are intent on not being found, those are terrible choices. Any major city in Western Europe is too obvious. If you really want to start over and make sure no one ever comes to look for you, it is vital to choose a place that doesn’t seem all that inviting. Ideally, you’d head for a place most people have never heard of. You need to find a remote island a million miles from any semblance of Western civilization.
Luckily for you, this is a subject I think about a lot. Here’s a starter list of some of the best remote islands for hiding out from everyone you ever knew.
Svalbard is a territory of Norway located way up in the Arctic Circle, adjacent to Santa’s workshop. It’s so far from civilization, you might as well be on the moon. Speaking of the moon, you will be seeing a lot of that since the sun only comes out for a couple of months out of the year. It’s cold as f**k. It is a miserable, sparsely populated tundra full of reindeer and sadness. This makes it the perfect place to hide. Only about 2,000 people live on Svalbard, mostly in the “city” of Longyearbyen. The only reason you’d find yourself in a place like this is if you’re working as a coal miner or conducting scientific research at their tiny university. Most of them are probably hiding a dark past too and won’t ask questions or wonder where you came from. Your secrets are safe in Svalbard.
Maybe you’re not hardcore enough for below zero winters with the polar bears. What’s the total opposite of the North pole? No, not the South Pole! (I mean, technically that’s right but just go with it ok?). The answer is Tierra del Fuego. Literally, “Land of Fire.” Who wouldn’t want to live in a place with such a pleasant name? Well, not many people. Tierra del Fuego is a region at the very bottom of Argentina, and is home to the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia. It’s not exactly an island, but it’s pretty remote and about as close to the South Pole as you would want to be. There is a larger population to consider, with over 56,000 people you’ll definitely be less lonely than you might be in Svalbard. But, it’s still a small enough town that no one would ever recognize you if your mugshot was released to CNN International (probably … what did you do?). The climate is also pretty temperate, with cold summers and warm winters, since you’re on the bottom half of the Earth. Could be a nice place to live even if you aren’t on the run.
If you want to get really far away, Nauru is truly the definition of tiny remote island. It’s eight square miles of land in the South Pacific with more pineapples than people. If you want a warm, tropical hiding spot and not a lot of nosy neighbors, this is the place. It’s kind of the hotter version of Svalbard, only 3,000 miles from Australia! Most people probably don’t know this place exists, so it’s a safe bet that no one is coming to look for you here. Unemployment on the island is very high and their only exports are phosphate and coconuts, so hopefully you’ve got enough savings to get by for awhile if you choose Nauru as your new home. Learn to enjoy lying on the beach without Instagramming it.
I won’t give away the rest of my secret spots, but hopefully this list is enough to get you started if you ever have a reason to flee. Buy me a drink if you bump into me in Svalbard.