This Remote Greek Island Quite Literally Wants To Pay You To Live On It
It may seem like a bygone relic of a time when social media wasn't a thing and shows like River Cottage dominated the airwaves, but the idea of truly downsizing is still something that many people want to make a reality for themselves. It's about the pursuit of fresh air, open spaces and easy living. You earn your food, you earn your money in an honest way, and you find yourself better connected to the world around you in the process. It all sounds very idyllic.
As far as places to escape from the big smoke sound then, you couldn't get much better than the picturesque Ionian islands — a place where the archetypal Mediterranean lifestyle of slow-paced living, fatty, seafood rich diets and sweeping islands full of olive groves still retains a stronghold. But as it turns out, it's not proving a particularly strong drawcard for some of the islands' full-time residents — especially not for the 24 people or so who still live on the remote island of Antikythera, who have found their island become so desolate that they've had to put out an open ad looking for people to relocate there.
They're even willing to pay you to become an honorary citizen, which sounds very much like the plot of either a charming little Mama Mia 2.0 rom-com or a remote, Shetland-esque scandi-noir crime drama.
According to Antikythera Direct, the Greek Orthodox church is offering potential new residents a tidy little package to become a new Antikytheran, including not only a cheque of 500 euro per month for the first three years of living there, but also a house and a plot of land from which you can scratch out a living.
"Speaking with the Greek website iefimerida, Andreas Charchalakis, the president of the local council, says that they are actively looking for people who are willing to work as fishermen, stock-farmers, builders or bakers."
"'These are professions which can guarantee a decent income for those who will come to our island,' he states." The only real caveat is that you have to speak Greek to live there, presumably be a Greek citizen and also pass an interview, but this is Australia. You could repopulate the island amply by taking a random sample of Melbourne's population.
There's also significant history to the island. The Antikythera Mechanism — a mysterious machine now believed to be an Ancient Greek astronomical computer dating back to 100BC, was found in the waters surrounding the island.
Here are the drawbacks. First, you're living on an island of 20 square kilometres with a minuscule population. That's not a lot of people to get to know. Second, you're pretty far away from any real civilisation. The nearest densely populated place is Crete, a two-hour ferry ride away.
That may not seem like much of a trade off for the luxury of living in an untouched stretch of Greek wilderness with presumably all the grilled octopus, olive oil and freshly-baked pita you can eat, but the island's population has dwindled so much that you have to think something's gotta give. Maybe there's just a super annoying person living there, or something.