The Middle Of Nowhere Is Where I Want To Be

The Middle Of Nowhere Is Where I Want To Be

By |2016-07-21T23:47:09-04:00October 8th, 2012|Personal Stuff, Romania, Travel Tales|83 Comments

Romanian countryside
I have made a decision. From now on, I will be spending more time in the middle of nowhere. Cities and towns have their benefits, and Bucharest has certainly treated me well this year, but something happened last weekend that made me realize how much I prefer to be somewhere remote, somewhere like the middle of nowhere.

During that weekend, a friend and I visited a section of the Carpathian Mountains located between the Romanian towns of Buzau and Brasov. We arrived by car and early Saturday morning we took off into the countryside, quickly finding ourselves having to navigate an endless collection of dirt roads, few of which existed on any map. As I drove, I turned left and I turned right whenever I had the urge, never knowing or caring where such a decision would lead.

Dirt road in Romania

We passed through and stopped at endless villages throughout the day, such isolated villages where life has apparently not changed much over the past one hundred or so years. Cars were rare, very rare, with horse- and bull-drawn carts the most common form of transport. Simple wooden homes appeared in the most surprising of places, small gardens of cabbage, of grape vines and of tomatoes sprang up from time to time and gaggles of geese and gangs of turkeys waddled around as if they ruled the land. The mountain scenery remained inspiring in every direction as we crossed narrow, rickety bridges, as we drove through narrow valleys, as we stopped for a rest or a quick chat with a local villager we happened to come across.

Perhaps it was that fresh air or those glorious mountains or the dirt roads or the infinite forests that led me to undergo such a transformation that day, or perhaps it was the quietness that surrounded me, that unbelievable stillness, or the refreshingly slow pace of life in the communities we came upon. Maybe it was the complete lack of advertisements, of shops, of restaurants, or the complete absence of just about every other possible link back to the life that I am more familiar with. Most likely, it was a combination of all of the above.

Trovant Rocks, Ulmet

An outer shell crumbled that day, a shell around me that had contained the noise, the heavy air, the restless mind, the constant need to check my emails, the inner battles and the false satisfactions of a modern life, a life that is dictated by money, by status, by placing importance on things that really aren’t so important at all.

Out there in the middle of nowhere Romania, all I thought about was having more nature in my life, more peace and more quiet, more simplicity, more friendly people to wave to and more friendly people who will wave back at me. I wanted to continue buying fruit every day from a roadside fruit stand and I wanted to continue walking around on streets with no traffic in sight. I wanted to trade in my laptop for an axe and partake in some manual labor and I wanted to find a small house in a small village and call it my home.

Ulmet, Romania

Turkeys in Romania

Being in that remote region, to put it simply, just felt right. And not only did the calmness exist all around me, it was soon within me as well, leading me to experience an unforgettable level of relaxation that I wanted to hold onto for as long as possible.

Again, a shell crumbled that day. It crumbled as I bounced along those unmarked roads. It crumbled as I observed the changing colors of the leaves and it crumbled as I inhaled the sweet-scented ‘middle of nowhere’ air. It crumbled as I climbed a mountain behind the village of Ulmet in search of the mysterious Trovant rocks. It crumbled as I was staring out at Lake Siriu at sunset.

In fact, that shell crumbled a little more with every single blink of my eyes, and as a result, I’ve been contemplating running off, back into the middle of nowhere, ever since I returned to Bucharest. Okay, I’m sure I won’t disappear, but I certainly plan on spending more time in remote regions of the world during my future travels.

(This weekend in the countryside even gave me an idea for a new video series that I hope to start during my upcoming trip to India!)

Rocks near Ulmet, Romania

Do you have any ‘middle of nowhere’ recommendations, either overseas or in your own country? Any amazing places to visit that allows one to be quite far from civilization?

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  1. John August 11, 2013 at 4:30 am - Reply

    For truly “getting away from it all”, this list seems pretty informative:

    The only places that the list doesn’t include (but definitely should), would be St. Helena, Kiribati, Cook Islands, and the Cocos Islands.

  2. Matthew Maggy June 18, 2013 at 7:19 am - Reply

    I had a similar experience (although not as extreme) when I moved to rural Virginia to do my Americorps stint. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was blown away by the nature and the simplicity of life here. Everybody waves to each other whether they know them or not. My neighbors the pikes help old man Anderson with his garden every year because he is suffering the natural rigors of aging. It’s an interesting jolt to the system this country life… Unlike rural Romania, however, there is a McDonald’s about a 20 minute drive away.

    • Wandering Earl June 19, 2013 at 2:25 am - Reply

      Hey Matthew – Ha…that is a difference. Over here the nearest McDonald’s was 1.5 hours away!

  3. Antoaneta April 29, 2013 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    I felt the same in Peru, just a couple of months ago. I went kayaking and picked potatoes on the shore of Titicaca. And even in the touristy Colca Canyon I didn’t see that many people and we slept at locals and got in the kitchen. I went walking 24 km one day, not far from Machu Picchu, just to see a couple of weaver villages…pure bliss, walking along a a green valley, in the middle of the mountains, amongst the fields and meeting locals dressed in traditional clothes going to work, sometimes with their animals. I felt transported in time…amazing peace and pace.

  4. Robbie January 4, 2013 at 11:03 pm - Reply

    Hi Earl,
    first of all my englisch is not pro.
    i am reading your side and i must say u do a great job with traveling around the world.
    but i was thinking why u dont make a place on your site where people live in the world who read your site, and i had the idea when u are in a country so people can give u a place to sleep to help u a bit with traveling cheaper. like me i live in the netherlands and i have good connections in romania. when u are in the netherlands or romania just give e a mail and ill give u a place to sleep/shower/eat for free. i live in the netherlands and my best girlfriend is romanian and her uncle have a big hotel in Bran 26km from Brasov romania and also good connections with taxi drivers in whole romania. i dont know what u think about it but it was just a idea, i think more people who read this website can help u to travel cheaper in the world. i have big respect for your traveling and when people help u a bit in there country like the show u their neighbourhood or things like that it cost u no taxi and a place to sleep for free. and also i have another question can u maybee post more photo’s? i cant find much photo’s of your traveling.
    tnx alot m8 have fun and good luck traveling.
    greetz Robbie

  5. Brynda November 26, 2012 at 11:39 am - Reply

    Hi Earl,
    There is something amazing about solitude and “middle of nowhere”. I once took myself on a camping trip to Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. (if you have never been it is an absolute must..I have never been anywhere in the states that is more “middle of nowhere”) It is an amazing place. Full of extraordinary ruins of long ago people and nothing but sky. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I had no idea so many stars existed. The experience was spiritual and empowering. After 3 days, I feel I knew myself better and felt at one with the earth and sky. I think being alone in a remote area is almost a necessity to personal growth. 🙂

    • Wandering Earl November 30, 2012 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      Hey Brynda – I think I do need to check out Chaco Canyon for myself…I’d never heard of it before!

  6. Wong Kae Chee November 10, 2012 at 9:16 am - Reply

    Hi Earl,

    Your words resonate with my unspoken feelings of places I had been to in the last 5 weeks in Nagaland, NE India.

    Surrounded by silent mountains, bamboo forests, gurgling streams; travelling on bumpy, narrow and winding dirt roads; the sophisticated city-girl in me rejoiced in the simplicity of life, the humanness of remote living, and the earthiness of nature in all its natural beauty.

    I am grateful that the experiences I had will always calm me whenever city-life gets too busy. I am also humbled be another way of living, minus the modern conveniences that mostly frazzle me.

    Thanks, Earl, for the thought-provoking post.

    • Earl November 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm - Reply

      Hey Wong – That is a beautiful corner of India and your description makes me want to head straight there. Those calm experiences are worth so much and I really do believe that the more time we spend in such places, the healthier we will be.

  7. Joel November 4, 2012 at 1:34 am - Reply

    I would say that some of my best travel experiences have been in the “almost middle of nowhere”. Places that were amazing, but at the time undiscovered, or just require more “work” to experience. I’ve had the fortune of visiting many over the years. These were often word of mouth recommendations, or Rick Steves, or small blurbs in Lonely Planet.

    1) Cappadocia, Turkey in 1992. We spent over a week exploring that region and only saw one other Western couple. It was magical and that’s why it’s so popular now.
    2) Cinque Terre, Italy in 1992. Basically undiscovered for non-Italians at the time and absolutely stunning.
    3) Hut to Hut hiking in Austria. Cannot describe what a great experience this is.
    4) “Abandoned” section of Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. 3 days of hiking that was cut out of the original route due to a bus route. All the magic of Nepal trekking, but without the tourists. I didn’t see ONE westerner for 3 days.
    5) Small island off of Indonesian Borneo (shall remain unnamed). No scuba shops, no real tourist infrastructure, only a handful of adventurous Westerners. Amazing. Snorkeling in pristine coral with turtles every day. Paid a fisherman to take us out island hopping for 3 days, sleeping on boat, snorkeling, fishing, relaxing on beaches on tiny islands with no civilization.
    6) Backcountry hiking and camping in Banff, Jasper, Yosemite, Yellowstone, North Cascades, Glacier National Parks.
    7) Random drives in New Zealand. We just picked roads that had no particular destination and headed down them. Found some real gems.
    8) Getting lost in Jordan in a rental car. Stressful, but quite fascinating in the end.

    So many more if I put my mind to it. Get off the beaten path and you will be rewarded.

  8. Russell Mease November 1, 2012 at 12:23 am - Reply

    Earl, If you want to experience the middle of nowhere, hike all of, or a section of, the Pacific Crest Trail. I have gone for several days without seeing another soul on the trail. If you hike southbound (most hike northbound) or certain sections that are “off season” you can easily spend days and weeks alone…in some of the best scenery in the world.

  9. Theije October 24, 2012 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Hi Earl,

    This is a great story about being in the middle of nowhere, and how it can me you find yourself. The quietness makes you come back to the only thing you truly possess: the mind and the body, embodied by the breath.

    Have you ever thought about going to a rural area near your home town, and staying there for a while? Staying at one place, by yourself, is probably the most exciting journey you can make in a lifetime!

    As your fellow countryman Henry David Thoreau said:

    “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”

    I wish you much luck during your travels, and I could recommend visiting Kopan Monastery during your travels in India!

    – Theije

    • Earl October 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm - Reply

      Hey Theije – The funny part is that I grew up not so far away from Walden Pond 🙂 As for staying in one place for a while, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, it’s something I would like to do, but it probably wouldn’t be near my hometown. I think one day I’ll find the perfect place overseas somewhere and I’ll just enjoy the quiet and peaceful environment for some time.

  10. Martin October 22, 2012 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    Svalbard, Norway!

    • Earl October 26, 2012 at 12:33 pm - Reply

      Hey Martin – I’ve actually been to Svalbard…only for a day though.

  11. Katie October 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    Swaziland, Africa. There are many places where you can feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere in this small African country. The people there are fabulous!

    • Earl October 26, 2012 at 12:30 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the idea Katie…I do need to spend more time in Africa soon.

  12. jake October 18, 2012 at 7:47 am - Reply

    hey earl- great post! i know what you mean. sometimes i get annoyed by my inability to read a map. inevitably i get lost while searching for my goal of that day. but then i realize that i am probably in a good place. i would rather be lost while travelling rather than sitting in my box doing same things every day. also.. i can recommend patagonia in southern chile. went there as part of environmental outdoor course back in university. we were closer to antarctica than any major city. spent time in kayaks and hiking and living in tents. no running water.. no electricity. just us and nature. it was amazing experience! this was 13 years ago but still can remember small details about that two-month adventure. it definitely helps to be able to appreciate those little things in life.

  13. […] This sounds oddly refreshing. The Middle of Nowhere is Where I Want to Be […]

  14. Jeff October 14, 2012 at 1:38 am - Reply

    I have spent the last eight summers working in Denali National Park. Being in the remote setting has really allowed me to reconnect with nature, even though there are obvious irritations with being 2 hours away from civilization.

    • Earl October 17, 2012 at 12:19 am - Reply

      Hey Jeff – I can only imagine the isolation is well worth it up there!

  15. Priyank October 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    Hi Earl, I’ve had two distinct middle-of-nowhere feelings, one in Peru (sacred valley area) and the other was Yucatan. Both times I was hitchhiking and had to spend time trekking on paths that had no signs of civilization (except for the path itself) for as long as my eyes could see. Such moments are priceless to me. I think it’s easy to find isolated places and go there, but it’s had to find yourself landed in such a place by accident. 🙂

    • Earl October 17, 2012 at 12:15 am - Reply

      Hey Priyank – Whereabouts in Yucatan? I’m always looking for isolated areas in that region of Mexico!

  16. RunAwayHippie October 11, 2012 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    love this!

    I live in Canada, and you can get some pretty isolated areas around here! Either in a forest, in the plains, in the mountains or up north with the polar bears 🙂

    • Earl October 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm - Reply

      @RunAwayHippie – I should probably spend more time in Canada one of these days!

  17. Kate October 11, 2012 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    This is somewhat off topic here, but I was wondering, does having a good credit score or anything like that, important for the kind of traveling you do? or is it important to have all financial affairs in order before embarking on the journey? I bet this question is somewhere else on this site, but idk where to look for it. In either case you should have a forum so people can ask and and answer questions like this. I think that would be helpful for a bunch of people 🙂

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 3:19 pm - Reply

      Hey Kate – Apart from applying for credit cards every now and then, my credit score really doesn’t play much of a role in my travels. As for having financial affairs in order, I’m not too sure what you mean. I have bills each month that I pay online, I have a US bank account and I didn’t really need to prepare anything special financially speaking for my travels.

      And you are right, a forum would be a wonderful idea…I just need to find the time to set it up and then moderate the whole thing 🙂 Maybe at some point I’ll manage to put one together!

  18. Rowe Rogero October 11, 2012 at 10:33 am - Reply

    I just returned from a church related trip to Cuba where I was staying with the local pastor in a village in the Cienfuegos district. From the porch beside the potato patch we watched the local traffic consisting of people on foot, on bicycles, on horses, or riding on horse and oxen driven carts. The villagers came by to say hello and visit. The beautiful countryside included mountains, dirt roads, fields of sugar cane, uncultivated fields and tiny houses made of concrete blocks. We rented a boat for a trip across a mountain lake where we didn’t see another soul, only the palm-tree-covered mountainsides. We did see Havana and Cienfuegos while in Cuba, but the best part of the trip were the nowhere locations.

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 3:16 pm - Reply

      Hey Rowe – That sure sounds like a special trip you had, with plenty of ‘middle of nowhere’ included. Thanks for sharing your story and for making me want to visit Cuba!

  19. Ava Apollo October 11, 2012 at 2:13 am - Reply

    I am still afraid to be alone. Embarked on a solo nomadic journey two weeks ago and haven’t been alone since. Happy about it but still haven’t sought the solitude I promised myself I’d seek!

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 4:13 am - Reply

      Hey Ava – It will happen…at some point you’ll find the right place where you decide that it’s time for some quiet and solitude. Until then, enjoy the company of those you’re meeting along the way!

  20. I'm Also Earl October 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    Sounds like Iceland after you leave Reykjavik! Nothing around but the echo of peace and quiet, clean air, and pristine water.

    Earl, I’ve never seen any posts by you mentioning how you stay in countries for lengths of time. What I mean is, how you manage to stay more than the 90 days allotted to visitors of the Schengen Zone for example, or the 30 days given in Thailand. If this is something you have done, I think it would be really useful for folks if you explained how.

    Thanks and great post!

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 4:10 am - Reply

      @I’m Also Earl – I’ve actually visited a few remote places in Iceland and I will never forget the village of Isafjordur, one of my favorite remote locations on the planet! As for posts on how I stay for longer periods of time, I did write this post about Romania: How I Obtained Residency in a European Country

      But I can try to put another post together that talks about other countries as well…thanks for the idea!

  21. Bama October 10, 2012 at 11:58 am - Reply

    Nothing beats the tranquility of a nowhere place. I think every now and then, every traveler should put this kind of place in his/her journey. Most of the cases, it would recharge the energy as well.

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 4:08 am - Reply

      Hey Bama – I agree completely. Such an experience should be a part of every traveler’s plans every now and then. Such experiences offer so many benefits for the body and mind that I certainly don’t want to miss out!

  22. [email protected] October 10, 2012 at 11:42 am - Reply

    Sometimes, travelling with no direction is exciting. You can get to discover things you don’t expect prior the travel. This is a good example! What makes this trip extra challenging is you did it in a remote area!

  23. Hannah October 10, 2012 at 9:28 am - Reply

    I just left the little community of Scoraig in the Scottish Highlands this morning. There are only 70 people who live there, and there is no road or ferry that reaches the village – everything has to be brought in by boat. The people described it to me as one of the last places in the UK where you can feel like somewhat of a “pioneer” by living there. Quite interesting! It’s a great place to visit, but I think I would go stir-crazy after a while.

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 4:05 am - Reply

      Hey Hannah – Yes, it is good to have some connection to the outside world and to find an ideal balance. I don’t think I could stay in a 70 person village for many months or anything like that but I am certainly interested in staying there for a decent amount of time every now and then.

  24. Marc October 10, 2012 at 9:24 am - Reply

    I gotta say Earl. I give you props. The thought of being in the middle of nowhere is a little unnerving, taking random turns with little care of where your destination ends. Definitely something I want to work on and try myself at some point. Thanks for the motivation! 🙂

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 4:04 am - Reply

      Hey Marc – Well, I can tell you this. It might be hard to start traveling this way, but it usually gets quite addicting and easy to handle once the first experience is out of the way!

  25. Hanna October 10, 2012 at 2:19 am - Reply

    Hi, your text somehow struck my heart. I’ve had some issues esplaining why me and my family’s move to the archipelago (we met when you were here at Kimito Island) made such a difference. This place isn’t desert, but still close to nature quiet, REAL. As you wrote, there are space for thoughts instead of space for consumption, or at least this is how I see it.Thank you for explaining why.

    As you’ve seen, Finland contains of much space. The archipelago, Lapland… Just sitting on a rock by the sea in the fall, with no boats, no noise, no people, can be therapeutic. And, the axe and the laptop CAN work hand in hand, or at least parallell. Welcome back. 🙂

  26. Kate October 10, 2012 at 1:49 am - Reply

    As I am sitting here reading your post about wanting to be out in the middle of no where, while I sit in my apartment in a town I so wish I could leave, it makes me remember why I bookmarked your blog. I don’t always read everything, but I bookmarked it as a reminder as to what I want to do when I finally graduate from college. Which will take about five more years give or take *sigh*. How I wish I could just drop everything, but I know I need some sort of a talent to get by. I’m not so sure how architect would help me travel the world or anything… it will just likely cause me major debt. Eh… well… someday I’ll be free. Until then… I have midterms UGH. Sometimes I wish I was living on a farm tending to animals and such rather than having to convince myself I am super excited to be part of the “corporate team” that is modern society, while being fed synthetic foods and consumer propaganda that makes me sick, and then offering me the cure latching me into this vicious cycle. I could really care less about trying to earn enough money for a big suburban house, supporting kids, and trying to afford the latest Gucci bag or iPad to keep up with the Jones. In fact I despise all that stuff anyhow. I just want to get away from here and see the world differently again.
    heh… well anyways, hope you enjoyed the random rant 😀 (I’m not that cynical… really. well… okay maybe I am.) 😛

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 3:59 am - Reply

      Hey Kate – Well, you should be more positive because architecture is definitely a field that will help you travel. There are an endless amount of organizations out there in the world, many of which are making positive differences in the countries they work in, that require architects to help with many of their projects. Also, there are countries that hire architects from all over the world. Architects are needed everywhere and so, as long as you don’t mind getting creative and networking as much as possible, there should definitely be opportunities out there for you!

  27. Forest Parks October 9, 2012 at 9:26 pm - Reply

    I just spent 4 weeks pretty much in the middle of nowhere volunteering at an animal sanctuary. It was an amazing experience.

    Sadly I do believe part of what makes it amazing is knowing we will and can leave at some point. We have the privilege of that! Living remotely with no way out would probably result in me going nuts in the end! It’s best to have a mixture of every kind of situation in our lives I think.

  28. kandyce October 9, 2012 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    i second meena- siwa is AMAZING!

    i wrote about it here:

    and if you go, you should totally meet up with my friend who runs sahara tours:

    he can arrange a trip for you out into the great sand sea/ the sahara to a few forgotten oases (which really, really are the middle of nowhere, and gorgeous to boot!)

  29. Craig October 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    Earl. I certainly know the feeling. In a small way I escape on the weekends when I can. I live in Las Vegas which as anybody knows is sensory overload city, however, it is nice that you can drive a short distance to places like Red Rock Canyon and Mt. Charleston and escape it all. I love Red Rock Canyon this time of year as it has less tourists and there are some good hikes which take you away from being able to see anything that resembles civilization. I usually do a 6 mile hike that is a loop and at the midpoint you can climb up onto some rocks and see the valley below you. It is everything of the essence of nature that you talk about and I find myself considering moving away from civilization for awhile too. Great post Earl.

  30. Mark Wiens October 9, 2012 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    I need a little “middle of nowhere” time soon. Despite enjoying cities for their diversity, food, and action – the quiet, fresh air, friendly attitudes, and relaxation in a rural area is so appealing. Looking forward to your new video series!

  31. Max October 9, 2012 at 10:35 am - Reply


    Nearly half of it is without humans, yet very lovely.

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 3:55 am - Reply

      Hey Max – It’s actually embarrassing because I’ve been all over Australia, to every state and territory, except Tasmania, even though I lived in Melbourne for quite a while. I do need to get over to that island!

  32. Dan October 9, 2012 at 9:49 am - Reply

    Hello Earl, I’m from Romania and I highly recommend you to visit:

    – Ochiul Beiului (this is a lake)
    – Satul Casa de Piatra (this is a village, many caves nearby)
    – anything that is a natural reservation

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 3:56 am - Reply

      Hey Dan – Thanks for those suggestions and I’m starting to discover that Romania is full of such treasures…so many places far from the beaten path for travelers to explore!

  33. Victoria October 9, 2012 at 7:16 am - Reply

    Try Georgia (I mean country, not USA state))). It’s amazing, a lot of “in the middle of nowhere” breathtaking places!

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 3:54 am - Reply

      Hey Victoria – Georgia is very high on my list of places to visit soon and I have a feeling (from the descriptions from other travelers) that I will thoroughly enjoy that country. I just might have to ask you for some advice if I do head over there at some point soon.

  34. Steve Whitty October 9, 2012 at 6:13 am - Reply

    Excellent post Earl. Sometimes it is good to escape the bustle of the city and forget the notion of time.

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 3:53 am - Reply

      Thanks Steve and yes, getting away from the city every now and then sure does a lot of good for one’s sanity and health!

  35. Andrei October 9, 2012 at 3:25 am - Reply

    If you’re still in Romania, you can go to the Northern Territories -> Bucovina and Maramures, or in the Western Part – in the Apuseni mountains. If you wander around these territories, you’ll find a lot of such “middle-of-nowhere” places, each of them having its own uniqueness.

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 3:49 am - Reply

      Hey Andrei – Thanks for that and I’ve wanted to go to Bucovina very much but never made it there unfortunately. Once I get back from India in a few months and have more time to explore Romania, it will definitely be on my list!

  36. Michele October 9, 2012 at 2:09 am - Reply

    You know where my little corner of Virginia is… If you’d like to see some serious “middle of nowhere” spots, Patrick and I would love to show you around the next time you’re in Virginia. (Even if it’s later this month! lol) Just shoot me an email if you’re interested and have time.

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 3:49 am - Reply

      Hey Michele – Thanks for that invitation and it does sound ideal! I won’t have time on this visit as I’m only in the US for 9 days but I do want to start exploring more the country next year. So I just might show up one day!

  37. Ana October 9, 2012 at 12:43 am - Reply

    Hi Earl. I am a Romanian and I know exactly what you say since I spent my entire childhood in such village. I really miss those times. Peace and quiet!
    Unfortunately, now I have to live in a desert city at the end of the world outside Romania…..
    I really enjoyed your article.
    Have you ever been to Rosia Montana? If not, try it. The area is amazing!

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 3:47 am - Reply

      Hey Ana – I haven’t been to Rosia Montana but one of my friends was just there so it did get me quite interested in visiting. I’m about to leave Romania in a couple of days for a few months so perhaps after the winter I’ll have a chance to get up there. Thanks for the suggestion!

  38. Earl from iPadNomads October 9, 2012 at 12:06 am - Reply

    One of our favourite moments from our world trip was the 2 nights we spent in Smilian, Bulgaria, population 2000. Part of what made it so memorable was the fact that we had no plan to go there. We happened to meet a local women on a bus going to the larger town, Smolian. She was learning English and took the time to introduce herself and tell us about her town. She suggested we visit if we had the time and then offered us a free ride there with her husband. They not only gave us the ride, but set us up with some accommodations with their cousin (who had a 2nd home they were building and renting out when possible) for a fair price and dropped us off at a local restaurant. Over our 1.5 days there, we ended up meeting her mother, children and many other family members, along with enjoying some of the beautiful country scenery. As we were waiting for the bus back to Smolian, the cousin who’s house we were staying in, passed by us and, even though she spoke almost no English, offered to give us a ride into town to the bus station. It was only a couple of nights, but such a memorable part of our trip!

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 3:51 am - Reply

      Hey Earl – I remember you talking about that experience in Bulgaria and that’s exactly what I’m after. It seems that such simple changes of plans and days spent in seemingly uninteresting places can often prove to be the most memorable in the end!

  39. [email protected] October 8, 2012 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    Oh my yes – if your penchant leans towards “the middle of nowhere”, I know JUST the place for you, Earl: M-O-N-G-O-L-I-A!

    It’s the most sparsely populated country on the globe, and you can wander for DAYS without seeing even a hint of a road. I just spent more than a month there (tales of my adventures in the Gobi and the wilds of western Mongolia coming soon to a TravelnLass theater near you.) 😉

    Indeed, no electricity, no cellphones, no running water, no indoor plumbing – heck, not even an OUT-HOUSE! Sleeping on the floor of a ger heated only by dung, and drinking BOATLOADS of “milk tea” (yak milk mixed with a smidge of tea and salt.)

    Now THAT’s the “middle of nowhere”!

    It truly was amazing. Another world. A step back in CENTURIES.

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 3:42 am - Reply

      Hey Dyanne – That is the middle of nowhere and I really do need to get over to Mongolia at some point soon. Looking forward to reading your posts which I have no doubt will make me want to go right away…actually, your comment alone has accomplished that 🙂

  40. Sera van Vugt October 8, 2012 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    Come to New Zealand! Here you can go from the city to isolated countryside in 15 minutes! I live in Christchurch and it is beautiful, even with all the tragedy that has occurred. I can’t wait to travel, but want to finish my degree first, so one more year, then travelling for as long as I desire! Can’t wait, your blog helps keep the anticipation up!

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 3:40 am - Reply

      Hey Sera – I have been to NZ a couple of times and it certainly is a great place to get into the middle of nowhere! And congrats on your decision to travel after finishing your degree…I shall look forward to hearing about the adventures you have and the places where you end up!

  41. Les Petits Pas de Juls October 8, 2012 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    The middle of nowhere is quite a place to find oneself and very often the place where you discover much more!
    Have you ever been to Patagonia? Southermost part of Chile and Argentina, I lived in the chilean part, little town of Puerto Natales, at the doorstep of one of the most beautiful National Parks that was ever given for me to see and wander, Torres del Paine. this part of the continent is also known as the End of the World as you surely already know.

    This is quite a middle of nowhere to find yourself in. The mountains, the trekking, the glaciars, Nature, the Sounds, peace and another pace in your life.
    That’s the place I loved and long to return to…

    Enjoy your middle of nowhere every time it’s possible!

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 3:46 am - Reply

      Hey Jul – I have not been to Patagonia but I am familiar with Torres del Paine. Definitely a good reason to head back to that part of the world though!

  42. Someday I'll Be There - Mina October 8, 2012 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    I love being in the middle of nowhere too! It is something I try to do from time to time as possible! And yes I know all those feelings you described! Quite amazing!

    For a recommendation, my favourite in the middle of no where “town” is still the Egyptian desert oasis Siwa! If you’re a desert person then you’ll definitely love staying in Siwa for a week or more!

  43. Scott Mallon October 8, 2012 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    Welcome to my world. In the near future I will be living in the middle of nowhere. My wife and I have some land in Suratthani. The places is in the middle of the jungle and to get to it you need to cross eleven different creeks. At the top of the land we have a small hut that is used to rest after draining the rubber trees. It’s even better than the house as it’s on the top of a hill overlooking the jungle. The nearest town is an hour away. In the future, we plan on moving there. Personally, the less people I deal with that have been tainted by hustle bustle of city life, the better.

    As I write this, I’m watching Return to Paradise. Not the Vince Vaughn movie, the Gary Cooper movie. He lands upon an island inhabited only by islanders. He gets island fever but island life has it’s advantages. As time passes, his personality changes and once he returns to civilization, he realizes he misses his life on the island.

  44. Sarah Somewhere October 8, 2012 at 7:04 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful, evocative post Earl, I loved it! You portrayed the calmness and serenity of this ‘middle of nowhere’ place and of the changes it enacted in you so succinctly. Reading this was like a literary meditation, thank you 🙂

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 3:36 am - Reply

      Thanks Sarah…I guess it’s easy to describe a region when it has such a powerful impact on you 🙂

  45. ale October 8, 2012 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    i know i does not sounds far as east asia…but

    going into the south italy, on the Appennin Mountains is awesome. you are on the sea but a the same time just up on the mountains, the life is the life of 50 years ago.

    siesta time…driving a road that flows and follow the shape of the mountains. farmers at most, that speak a really bad italia, and only local dialect…and especially,
    during the hottest hours,

    those sounds, incredible sounds, of grasshoppers…everywhere. that fills the air and give you peace unders a blue sky, on the side of a blue sea.

    Calabria, Italy

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 3:35 am - Reply

      Hey Ale – That works for me and it doesn’t matter where it is located! Another friend of mine mentioned Calabria to me a couple of months ago and after reading your description, it does seem like the kind of place I would be interested in visiting. It has been added to my list…thanks for sharing!

  46. Musa Malik October 8, 2012 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    Wow Earl! That sounds like a very nice place to be!
    I can relate, here at my university we have a organic farm
    surrounded by thick trees and a clear lake. The other day
    I went out there to plant pineapples and I just felt so relaxed
    and tranquil being away from the ‘noise’ of everyday life.
    It must be wonderful in the Carpathian Mountains!


    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 3:33 am - Reply

      Hey Musa – That sounds quite ideal to have such a place right at your university…it’s always a bonus when you can just take a short walk and be surrounded by quiet and nature. Enjoy those pineapples!!

  47. George Bezushko October 8, 2012 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    I am reading “Falling Off The Map: Some Lonely Places of the World” by Pico Iyer. It is dated at nearly twenty years old now, so the places described have changed. But the sentiment is the same – sometimes the lonelier places can be the most fulfilling.

    • Earl October 11, 2012 at 3:33 am - Reply

      Hey George – I shall have a look at that book as well…thanks!

  48. eemusings October 8, 2012 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    Excellent choice! I’m hoping to spend some time in the middle of nowhere in Italy next year…

  49. Rainier October 8, 2012 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    The monastery of Treskavec, high up in the mountains above Prilep, Macedonia. As remote as it can get.

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