About 110 miles (180 kilometers) south of Tokyo, Japan, in an area of the Pacific Ocean known as the “Devil’s Sea,” you will find a small island with a big story to tell. Miyake-jima is part of the volcanic Izu Islands, and host to Mount Oyama, an active volcano that sits at the very heart of the island. Because it emits poisonous sulfuric gas with very little warning, the 3,000 residents (as well as any visitors) are required to carry gas masks with them at all times.
Standing at the southernmost tip of Africa, it is easy to think there is nothing in the great blue beyond until Antarctica. However, halfway between these continents lies Bouvet Island, an uninhabited landmass so remote it has earned the unofficial nickname of “The Loneliest Place on Earth.”
Longyearbyen, Norway, a small coal-mining town near the Arctic, might be one of the most interesting cities in the world, despite having just over 2,000 residents. Why the intrigue? It’s illegal to die here.
In the great expanse of the South Pacific, northeast of Papua New Guinea and southwest of Hawaii, lies Pingelap Atoll, a collection of three small islands in Micronesia. Only the largest of these islands, which is less than 2.5 miles wide at its widest point, is inhabited. Despite the small size of their home, the 250 or so residents of Pingelap have attracted a fair bit of attention from researchers, scientists and now, artists.