The news of Italian retired teacher, Mauro Morandi, 81, being evicted from the Isle of Budelli, off the coast of Sardinia, where he has lived as its sole inhabitant for the last 32 years, comes in a week when I have been thinking of the isolated experiences of Tom Neale on Suwarrow, in the Cook’s, in the late 50s. Neale wrote of a gap of fourteen months between seeing, and speaking to, one human being and the next. Of course, in the late 50s, the internet was a long way off but he also had no radio.
How necessary is a remote and uninhabited island for one’s sense of solitude? Is that kind of liberty more within the mind than the environment?
Imagine living in a busy city – maybe you’re in one in reality – just switching off the world wide web would increase your sense of isolation a hundredfold.
But I guess the extreme isolation helps but there’s a dangerous fine line between enjoying solitude and experiencing loneliness.
Morandi posted of his threatened eviction on his Facebook page. He had many followers, it says. He didn’t relish a relocation up north (Italy?) playing cards or bowls. Playing the odd game of cards or bowls seems a quaint and quiet pastime compared to Facebook.
It explains he initially set sail from Italy to Polynesia some three decades or more ago; and didn’t get much beyond Sardinia – which to my schoolboy’s knowledge of Mediterranean geography is a bit like sailing from Portsmouth for Australia and settling on the Isle of Wight.
This tells me you don’t have to go too far – or as far as you might think – to find contentment.
Let’s wish him good fortune in his new life wherever he finds it.