This Remote Scottish Island Hopes You’ll Visit … and Maybe Never Leave

Vacation — even better, a proper digital detox — is good for the soul. But what if a temporary escape isn’t enough? The scrappy, remote Scottish island of Stronsay may be just what you’re looking for. Its residents are making a strong case for you to visit … and perhaps stay forever.

Situated in the extreme northern United Kingdom, Stronsay is as far as one can drop off the grid and still feel part of a community. The island is home to less than 350 full-time residents and the pace of life is, in a word, slow. Folks here eschew the trappings of a consumerist lifestyle — 24-hour Walmarts, late-night drive-thrus, and movie theaters — in favor of the simpler things.

The landscape is flat, 13 square miles of lush green farmland that stretches from coast to coast, and ideal for exploring on foot or by bike. Known as the “Island of Bays,” it features some of the most dramatic coastline and beautiful white sand beaches in the Orkney archipelago. The island’s modest Instagram account depicts a place to come and just be.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Stronsay (@visitstronsay) on Feb 24, 2019 at 5:42am PST

Its residents launched a proper website to attract tourists to their quaint corner of the world. They’re curating stories from foreigners who’ve come to the island and never left. The Whiteman family, for example, tossed their work-a-day lives to the wind to move to Stronsay and raise their two boys. In this inspiring blog post, Shirley Whiteman looks back on her decision:

“During the five years that we have lived here, our boys have grown and developed into confident and secure little people … we have no regrets at making this beautiful island paradise our new and forever home.”

Life on the island is simple, but not necessarily easy. Out of the necessity that comes with living in a tiny community, most residents have multiple jobs. Teachers moonlight as lifeguards, and farmers drive taxis to keep the economy humming. The majority of jobs are in the agricultural sector. It’s a place to learn new skills and a little something about yourself. It’s a place where you get out of it as much as you’re willing to put in.

Stronsay-Island-scotland
Visit Stronsay

Tourism to Scotland has exploded in recent years. It’s not surprising given the country’s stunning natural beauty, fascinating history, and hearty, gracious, and friendly people. The islands of the Orkney archipelago offer a welcome respite from the tourist hot spots of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Even relatively “remote” destinations like the Isle of Skye are struggling to keep up with the tidal wave of tourists visiting each year.

If you’re ready to escape the grind of daily life — temporarily or for good — check out Stronsay’s tourism website. They’re waiting for you.

Article originally published January 22, 2018.

Food & Drink

How to Cure Salmon in One Savory Recipe

Learning how to cure salmon isn't only a great skill to have, but it's going to up your breakfast game for days.
Outdoors

8 Best Wireless Headphones for Running: What to Know Before You Buy

For many, music is a requirement for running. But with so many headphones on the market today, how do you choose a good pair that won't force you to fiddle with wires and settings?
Fashion & Style

The Best Flip-Flops for Men that are Both Stylish and Practical

Our top picks can work in both casual settings and outdoor explorations. They'll keep your footwear game at a high level for summers to come.
Travel

Ireland’s Beautiful Arranmore Island Desperately Wants You to Move There

"There are fewer people here than would fit in a couple of Amtrak carriages, but enough musicians and good Irish whiskey to keep the party going well into the night.”
Travel

The Curtain London is Shoreditch and the East End’s Hottest Hotel

With a great location, spacious and comfortable rooms, and a rooftop pool to die for, The Curtain London is the perfect London base for singles or couples.
Travel

The Best Travel and Adventure Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

If you're reading this, you're staring at a screen. Wouldn't you rather be exploring a different part of the world than the Internet?
Travel

Why Vancouver and Tofino Should Be Your Introduction to Exploring British Columbia

For an easy introduction to B.C., consider starting in the major city of Vancouver and heading over to the tiny, yet wildly impressive surf town of Tofino.
Travel

Is 11 Cadogan Gardens the Most British Hotel in London? Indubitably, Old Chap

Located within four separate Victorian townhouses, 11 Cadogan Gardens offers ideal British hospitality.
Travel

10 Father’s Day Gifts for Your Travel-Loving Pops

For the sophisticated, traveling dads in your life, your Father's Day shopping begins here.
Travel

Bose’s New Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700 Will be Great for Travel

Tune out screaming babies and chatty seatmates with the world's best noise-canceling tech.
Travel

Compete for $1 Million in National Geographic’s Gritty, Nonstop Race to the Center of the Earth

Four teams will race to a buoy in the center of the ocean with $1 million inside. Applications are open now.
Travel

Let a Local Expert Plan Your Next Trip with a Personalized Travel Guide from ViaHero

Leave your trip planning to someone who knows your destination better than anyone: An actual local.
Travel

4 Reasons Why You Should Visit Bowling Green, Kentucky

Here are a few activities, eateries, drinkeries (not a word but just go with it), and spots you've just gotta see if you're in Bowling Green.
Travel

Graduate Hotels’ $400 Hall Pass Promises a Month of Unlimited Stays this Summer

If you’ve been daydreaming about the vanlife this summer, why not upgrade with an entire month of legit hotel stays?