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Modern Day Hermits and Robinson Crusoes

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In a world packed with computers and surveillance technology, it seems impossible to go off the grid. But here are the stories of people who have done it, all across the world.

David Glasheen, Restoration Island, Australia


The former businessman lost almost $10 million in the 1987 stock market crash, and divorced from his wife, so he moved to the tiny island named Restoration Island. He's not an average hermit; he didn't just abort every single connection with civilization. He goes to Cairns, Queensland once a year to buy milk powder, sauces, culinary herbs and spices, tea, coffee and other foods which are inaccessible on the island, and twice a month to the nearest city to buy eggs and bread. Glasheen brews beer on the island, which is bartered for fresh fish.

(via Brian Cassey)

Brendon Grimshaw, Moyenne Island, Seychelles


The former newspaper editor bought the half mile wide island in the Seychelles for only $12000 (£8000) in 1962, and lived there from 1972 to his death last year. It was a real abandoned place back then, but the Yorkshireman and a local named Rene Antoine Lafortune planted more than 16000 trees in 50 years.

This attracted some animals, in the last years he reintroduced 120 giant turtles to Moyenne and attracted more than 2000 birds.


(via A Grain Of Sand - The Film and Camera Eye/Flickr)

Live like a Hobbit – Emma Orbach


The 58-year-old Oxford graduate (who studied Chinese) lives in her self-built mud and straw roundhouse named Tir Ysbrydol (Spirit Land) in Welsh mountains without electricity, running water and other advanced technologies.


Drinking water comes from a nearby watercourse, firewood is from the forest, fruits from her trees and food from her seven chickens and three goats.

(The pictures are screenshots from the video.)

Inhabitants of the village of Tokarikha, Tver Region, Russia


The village, 350 kilometres (220 mi) far from Moscow had once 300 houses with families, but now is home to only four people. The place has no electricity for years, and the roads are constantly snowed up for months.


They're growing their own vegetables and fruits, and have an apiary.

(via Julia Smorodova/Russia Beyond The Headlines)

Masafumi Nagasaki, Sotobanari Island, Japan


The 77 year old naked hermit lives on rice cakes and water that he buys once a week on a nearby island with the weekly 10000 yen ($100) he picks up from his family. Reuters has a really good gallery about Nagasaki. Worth watching!

(The picture is a screenshot from the video.)

The Most Isolated Man on the Planet

The last survivor of an uncontacted tribe lives near the Amazon. There were some expeditions to build peaceful contact with him, or just track him, but all of these attempts were unsuccessful. In 2007 Brazilian government officials closed in on him, providing a 31 square mile area to create a safe zone, 11 years after the first they heard about him.


(via Slate)

Rochom P'ngieng, the Cambodian Jungle Woman


P'ngieng went missing in 1988, at the age of eight, while herding buffaloes. She emerged from the jungle in February 2007 without speaking skills, naked and dirty. She could utter only animal noises, always wanted to take off her clothes and ran back to the jungle.

(AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

William Kitchener McDonald

Known as the Hermit of Gully Lake. During WWII he jumped out from a moving troop train to avoid the military service. Later he lived near the Gully Lake in Canada for almost six decades. In 2002 his hut with his homemade guitar and writing were destroyed in a forest fire. Kitchener moved to another cabin built by Colchester County, but shortly after escaped back to the forest. His remains were found in 2004.


(via and Youtube/Hermit of Gully Lake)

William Pester, the Hermit Of Palm Springs


The German-born Friedrich Wilhelm Pester immigrated to the United States in 1906 to avoid military service. He lived in huts made out of palm trees in Palm Springs until the late 1930s. Between 1940 and 1946 he was in the famous San Quentin jail.

(via Storify, Riverside County History and Drewdotcom)