If you’ve ever checked out our bucket list, you’ll know it’s our dream to spend up to a year living on a remote desert island where we can get out of the rat-race and really enjoy the simple things. The problem is, unless you’re a movie star like Johnny Depp or Leonardo DiCaprio, or a multi-millionaire philanthropist like Richard Branson, we mere mortals are never going to be able to afford a life of strolling on white sands and paddling in blue waters with no one else around to bother us, safe in the knowledge we can do exactly the same the next day without looking at the clock. Surely there would be no greater, liberating feeling. So, we got thinking. If we can’t afford our own island, or have the money saved to finance even staying there, how is it possible to make our dreams a reality and financially possible? Well, it seems the only answer is to get a job on one of these paradises. With that in mind, we had a look into possible options in our quest to be full-time Robinson Crusoes.
We all remember the story of Ben Southall who won the role for ‘best job in the world’ as an island caretaker off the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia. Things weren’t totally plain sailing for Ben at first, getting stung by a tiny jellyfish, but with hard work and dedication to his tasks of recording reef life, cleaning the pool, feeding the fish and reporting weather conditions, he even got a promotion on this 150,000 dollar job and hasn’t looked back since. Nowadays he keeps busy by writing a blog to promote conservation and Australian tourism while being a full-time inspiration to the rest of us who can so far but dream.
If you’re like me, being a pilot is a fantasy for many people but the realities of commercial life can soon take the shine off your dream to soar high in your career. A lot of the best gigs out there nowadays are actually being a pilot island-hopping in light aircraft. The kind of jobs you could get are airmail, deliveries, air taxis or even emergency services such as air ambulances and fire-fighting. On the other hand, if you want to be a commercial pilot in a tropical paradise, airlines are always looking for new crew members as they take tourists and locals alike around Hawaii’s most picturesque islands. If you land the right gig here, you could spend half the day snorkelling or biking and the other half taking in the amazing views from 5,000ft up.
If you’re a nature lover but think you’d spend a majority of your time fighting off sunburn and hunting for shade, maybe more northern climes are more your remote haven. On the island of Farne in most far North Eastern England, just off the boarder with Scotland and the beautiful Holy Isle nature reserve, a post has been advertised for an animal conservationist with the National Trust. Here, your task is to count and manage the cute little baby seals and birds that need a bit of a push and a helping hand- or a hairdryer to get them dry! The benefits listed in the advert include a one minute commute from your idyllic cottage and a salary of around £18,000 but there is no running water and it can get a bit stormy, apparently.
In Scotland, an advert for teacher went viral after an advert on the BBC as one remote island in the Hebrides needed a new teacher for its 1-7 pupils! The island itself is called Muck, officially ‘Eilean nam Muc’, which means isle of pigs in Gaelic. Fortunately the only pigs you’ll have to deal with is the bacon in the local café’s butties. You get accommodation and nice pay packet thrown in here too as the flat above the tiny class room is all yours. Meanwhile, due to the lack of pupils, you’ll be able to enjoy all the stunning scenery and make yourself acquainted with the friendly locals as there’s barely any homework to mark. The island only has 30 registered inhabitants and winters are almost totally cut off with only one boat a day normally. Surely this makes it perfect for those really wanting to shut themselves off from the rest of the world for a while.
A lot of cruise lines have their own private islands, such as Disney’s castaway Cay and Royal Caribbean’s Coco Cay. These paradises need staff to keep them looking fresh for the tourists coming ashore for the day. When not showing these guests a good time and clearing up afterwards, the day is yours to enjoy the islands facilities free of charge. Activities you can take part in, on and off the clock, include volleyball, soccer, snorkelling paragliding and everything else normally meant for the holiday-makers. Meanwhile, you’re little team of fellow staff members give you a nice, laidback, intimate family atmosphere so you don’t go crazy in isolation.
There are many grants and bursaries out there for current or aspiring writers. You usually just have to pitch your idea and why you think you should get to spend some time in remote tranquillity to muse. Doing this could see you jetting off anywhere from the Faroe Islands on an eco-retreat to swinging in a hammock in the Bahamas. This isn’t limited to books either, with a quick search of the internet you’ll find anything from sculptures, to charcoal drawers, to poets all being offered a cosy cottage and a island’s worth of inspiration to draw, or write, from for free!