Man's Island People Can Visit For Free. But There's A Catch

We all dream of how it would be to become a millionaire. The perks and benefits are many, no one can deny that. From private jets to luxurious houses and cars, there’s not much that the very rich can’t do or get. It is indeed desirable to want to live this kind of apparent carefree lifestyle. But what if you actually got the opportunity without having to actually become a millionaire?

Image Credits: Twitter/Billionaire Monitor

Image Credits: Twitter/Billionaire Monitor


KARL REIPEN 

So who is this man? Karl Reipen is from Germany, and he is also a successful businessman. He is wealthy now, but he started off in much more humble beginnings, working on farms as a little boy. The idea of inviting folks to live on his island was actually inspired by his past. 

Image Credits: flickr/SabrinaDankel

Image Credits: flickr/SabrinaDankel


HIS BEGINNINGS

Karl actually had an entrepreneurial mind since he was only a simple and humble farm boy. He worked all his younger years and he ended up building an iced coffee empire and made his entire fortune from that ingenious venture. And a few decades later, he made a big purchase.

Image Credits: Unsplash/frank mckenna/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Unsplash/frank mckenna/For Illustrative Purpose


THE DREAM ISLAND

Back at the beginning of the year 2000, Karl was only enjoying a lovely vacation in the beautiful country of New Zealand. After spending two weeks there, he fell in love with the place. And this was enough to push him to make the decision of a lifetime. 

Image Credits: Shutterstock/DmitrySerbin/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Shutterstock/DmitrySerbin/For Illustrative Purpose


BECOMING FAMOUS

It was then when he decided to acquire the amazing property that would eventually cause his name to make headlines in media all over the world. At the time, though, he had no future plans whatsoever with the newly acquired island.

Image Credits: Unsplash/Roman Kraft/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Unsplash/Roman Kraft/For Illustrative Purpose


THE ISLAND WASN'T PERFECT 

The property didn’t come into his hands in great condition, though. On the contrary, Karl had to spend nearly a decade renovating it and working the land so that it would be as close to his version of paradise as possible. But his work definitely paid off in the end. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Universal Images Group Editorial/Matthew Lovette/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Getty Images/Universal Images Group Editorial/Matthew Lovette/For Illustrative Purpose


TWO DECADES OF WORK 

And eventually, nearly two decades later, Karl Reipen finally told the world about his plans for the island. They were quite surprising. They certainly weren’t close to what anyone expected, and the ideas were so out there that they put his name on the international radar.

Image Credits: Unsplash/Ivan Bandura/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Unsplash/Ivan Bandura/For Illustrative Purpose


NEWSPAPER ADS 

The businessman placed ads in local newspapers stating, to everyone's surprise, that a number of people would be permitted to join him and live on his Awakino Estate for free. Some people were suspicious of ulterior motives, and for good reasons. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Archive Photos/Robert Alexander/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Getty Images/Archive Photos/Robert Alexander/For Illustrative Purpose


HIS REQUESTS 

The advertisement he placed was intriguingly unclear. He offered people the chance for a new beginning on his island and the opportunity to live alongside other interesting individuals in a lovely place. And the activities you could take part in were plenty.

Image Credits: Unsplash/Tim Mossholder/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Unsplash/Tim Mossholder/For Illustrative Purpose


PLENTY OF THINGS TO DO 

In the newspaper ad, Karl mentioned the many fun activities guests would able to do, like walking, fishing, shopping, kayaking, bird-watching, swimming, or looking at the amazing animals. The island was naturally beautiful, but the owner worked really hard to make it even more appealing to people. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/picture alliance/Stephan Schulz/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Getty Images/picture alliance/Stephan Schulz/For Illustrative Purpose


LUXURIOUS LIFESTYLE

 And in addition to all of the entertaining activities, those who came to live on the island would enjoy a great number of luxuries such as a winery, indoor stables for horse-lovers, along with beautiful views of the coastline. However, when something seems suspiciously good, there probably is a good reason for it.

Image Credits: Unsplash/Daniel Apodaca/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Unsplash/Daniel Apodaca/For Illustrative Purpose


THE HIDDEN AGENDA 

Locals of the New Zealand nearby town that knew Mr. Reipen and his situation painted him as a very generous man but wanted to make clear that a misunderstanding had occurred: he actually only wanted people near retirement age to apply.

Image Credits: flickr/SabrinaDankel

Image Credits: flickr/SabrinaDankel


NO YOUNG PEOPLE 

He didn't want people who are very young, and maybe potentially troublesome. He was looking for people from 50 to 70-years-old, modern individuals who’ve traveled around the world, and with whom you can have interesting conversations.  

Image Credits: Unsplash/Daniel Apodaca/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Unsplash/Daniel Apodaca/For Illustrative Purpose


OUT OF LONELINESS 

The local who was interviewed said that what Reipen really wanted from all this. It was to entertain the guests and have meals with them and have them become an important part of the community. What it all came to was that Karl simply wanted the company of nice people.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Mondadori Portfolio Editorial/Rocco Spaziani

Image Credits: Getty Images/Mondadori Portfolio Editorial/Rocco Spaziani


NO MORE ISOLATION 

He had lived in the past twenty years in isolation on the island, and he started to feel lonely in the later years. We can't really blame him, and all his actions seem to make sense now, don't they? So in the end, he just wanted ten people under 70 years old that he felt he could relate to.

Image Credits: Unsplash/David T/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Unsplash/David T/For Illustrative Purpose


MANY PEOPLE APPLIED

People from all over the world were hoping for a chance only to get very disappointed in the end when their applications were denied. Some of the rejected ones even spoke out about the experience. One of them was a 32-year-old German woman who said in her application that she’d always dreamed of visiting and exploring New Zealand.

Image Credits: Pexels/Karolina Grabowska


Many others were rejected and had to say goodbye to their dreams of living on the island. But the rich owner didn't stop there. He soon made another surprising purchase.

Image Credits: Getti Images/NurPhoto/Ying Tang/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Getti Images/NurPhoto/Ying Tang/For Illustrative Purpose

ANOTHER EXTRAVAGANT PROPERTY

Very soon he made the news again due to purchasing another estate in Taranaki, New Zealand. He had bought the extravagant property for one million New Zealand dollars, and then he invested even more money into making it more luxurious.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Getty Images Europe/Christian Ender/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Getty Images/Getty Images Europe/Christian Ender/For Illustrative Purpose


And after fixing up the property the best he could, he sold it and donated all the proceeds to charity. People were very surprised by his generosity once again. But all his plans and schemes are nor quite new. He had a bit of inspiration from others. 

Image Credits: Pexels/Karolina Grabowska

OTHER SIMILAR PLACES 

A place with similar conditions for going to live there is Maatsuyker Island. It is simply heaven on Earth, filled with unbelievable views and very diverse wildlife. The organization Tasmanian Parks And Wildlife Service (TPWS) posted on Facebook that they wanted to pay a couple to stay there.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Fairfax Media/Alan Lambert

Image Credits: Getty Images/Fairfax Media/Alan Lambert

They received a lot of answers as the island, located southwest of Tasmania, feels like it sits on the edge of the world. It was the perfect choice for people who were looking for a remote place to escape to. 

Image Credits: Pexels/Jaime Reimer

MAATSUYKER ISLAND 

The organization in charge of the deal hoped that along with pay and housing, the offer is enough to attract two interested people to stay there for two years. It may sound like a long time, but only if you're not into outdoor adventure and natural beauty. The island is filled with lush vegetation and beautiful views of the beaches and surrounding ocean. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Fairfax Media/Alan Lambert

Image Credits: Getty Images/Fairfax Media/Alan Lambert


BEAUTY AT A COST 

There is a tricky part to it after all: those who stay there will have to maintain the buildings, equipment, and grounds of the essential meteorological outpost. It was very important that all the buildings and their surroundings remain as clean and well maintained as possible. There's also a garden and you'll have to take care of your own food. Also, no TV or Internet. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Fairfax Media/Alan Lambert

Image Credits: Getty Images/Fairfax Media/Alan Lambert


ACCESS BY HELICOPTER 

The people who finally decide to take on the challenge can pack 325 kilograms (716 pounds) of supplies each for the road to the island. And one of the best parts is that you would get to travel to and from the island by helicopter. People would have to bring their own clothes and entertainment, as well. It takes detailed and careful planning when deciding what to pack. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/LightRocket/Paul Lakatos/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Getty Images/LightRocket/Paul Lakatos/For Illustrative Purpose


CAREFUL INSTRUCTIONS 

Once you would arrive on the island, there are manuals and careful instructions helping residents on how to maintain all of the equipment, ensuring that everything remains impeccable. It's not a place for lazy ones. need not apply. For certain things, residents will need to learn how to run very specific machinery which might seem scary, but the carefully written instructions help a lot.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Getty Images AsiaPac/Robertus Pudyanto/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Getty Images/Getty Images AsiaPac/Robertus Pudyanto/For Illustrative Purpose


THE LIGHTHOUSE IS EVERYTHING

Just look at that incredible view of the lighthouse. You'll have to take care of that epic landmark as well. The 19th-century lighthouse looks like it's taken from older times. Who couldn’t learn to love this incredible view? It's a difficult and challenging adventure that is not for everyone, but for the right couple, it might just be the adventure of a lifetime.

Image Credits: Getty Images/picture alliance/Hauke-Christian Dittrich/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Getty Images/picture alliance/Hauke-Christian Dittrich/For Illustrative Purpose


ALBINEN, A SWISS MOUNTAIN TOWN 

The generous offer to stay on Maatsuyker Island in Tasmania might seem unique, but it’s not the only place where guests are paid to live there. Albinen, a Swiss mountain town, also has a very attractive proposal for people. Many of the town’s residents realized that the slow-paced mountain life wasn’t for them, and they moved out to bigger cities.

Image Credits: Getty Images/De Agostini Editorial/Albert Ceolan/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Getty Images/De Agostini Editorial/Albert Ceolan/For Illustrative Purpose


A HOME 

The authorities are offering to pay families who move in the mountain town $70,000 to buy a previously owned home or to get a new one built. We know, it seems a little too good to be true. And indeed there are few catches that come with this deal. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/De Agostini Editorial/ALBERT CEOLAN/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Getty Images/De Agostini Editorial/ALBERT CEOLAN/For Illustrative Purpose


First, the agreement does not extend to current residents who want to buy a second home. It's for newcomers only. Another condition is that if you accept the money, you need to live in the town for a minimum of 10 years. If you leave earlier, you must repay everything.

Image Credits: Pexels/picjumbo.com

THE FINAL CONDITION

The third and final condition is that along with the $70,000 the town offers, the new homeowners must also contribute $200,000 from their own income. Albinen hopes that this deal can turn a now-forgotten town into a thriving mountain village. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/De Agostini Editorial/ALBERT CEOLAN/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Getty Images/De Agostini Editorial/ALBERT CEOLAN/For Illustrative Purpose


And if potential candidates are worried that the location is too far away from a big city, they'll be happy to know that it’s only four miles away from the spa town of Leukerbad and a 35-minute car ride from the city of Visp.

Image Credits: Pexels/Element5 Digital

RJUKAN, NORWAY 

Not everyone would dare to go for the two-year stay at Maatsuyker Island or the decade-long engagement in Albinen, but those who seek a big life change will find these options perfect. And there’s another small mountain town with a similar story but facing different problems. Rjukan is a small town in southern Norway that is considered by all means a lovely place to live.

Image Credits: Getty Images/LightRocket/Wolfgang Kaehler/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Getty Images/LightRocket/Wolfgang Kaehler/For Illustrative Purpose


BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS 

The small northern town is famous for its waterfalls and the amazing natural beauty surrounding it. Many tourists are eager to visit because of them. But Rjukan also has a secret that is not so keen on telling the world about it, although quite easy to notice. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/LightRocket/Wolfgang Kaehler/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Getty Images/LightRocket/Wolfgang Kaehler/For Illustrative Purpose


Due to how far north the town is, it receives less sunlight than most other places. It's not easy to stay that much time in darkness, but the problem is much worse for Rjukan, as it sits six months per year in total darkness.

Image Credits: Pexels/Lina Kivaka

MARTIN ANDERSEN'S IDEA 

Instead of settling for something that brought the townspeople to the sunlight, Martin began thinking about something that could bring sunlight to the people. In 2005, he finally revealed his amazing idea. 

Image Credits: Pexels/Ricardo Esquivel


Martin wanted to install giant mirrors on the top of the mountain, which would be able to reflect the sunlight back into the town square, even in the darkest months of the year. Most people thought he was out of his mind, and they had a good reason.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Universal Images Group Editorial/Dave Walsh/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Getty Images/Universal Images Group Editorial/Dave Walsh/For Illustrative Purpose

THE GOVERNMENT ANSWER 

Though the project seemed a bit crazy in the beginning, the Government eventually signed off on the idea. In 2013, the Solspeilet Project was finally built and was ready to light up the town. But it wasn’t an easy road all the way through. The imposing structure cost about $778,000, a big investment for what seemed to count only a couple of enormous mirrors. 

Image Credits: Shutterstock/Dzmitrock/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Shutterstock/Dzmitrock/For Illustrative Purpose


THE MIRRORS

The Solspeilet is entirely computer-controlled and actually manages to follow the sun as it moves across the big sky. This means that there is a constant supply of sunlight directed toward the town square whenever the sun is up and shining. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Visual China Group/VCG/For Illustrative Purpose

Image Credits: Getty Images/Visual China Group/VCG/For Illustrative Purpose


What do you think about these peculiar places that had to go through the extra mile to entice people to live there? Would you make the compromise? Do you think the benefits outweigh the losses? Let us know in the comments section, and please visit our website for more interesting content like this.

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