Everyone’s always dreamed of living high above the clouds, tucked away in the mists beyond our reaches. Set higher than any mountain or skyscraper, the island of Wildeland rests quietly above our heads. Covered in enormous mountains, rolling hills and low, lake filled valleys, Wildeland is the perfect home for outdoor adventure aficionados. Most, if not all of the 15,000 locals spend their afternoons roaming the landscape with their families and friends. The size of the island is perfect for the type of community that is housed here, enough people to where they don’t know everyone, but is still a small, family style society.
Founded in 1932 by Robert Benton, who governed the island until 1997 when he passed away and his son took over; the island has been running smoothly ever since. It was founded on the principles that one should love life and love others, a lifestyle that the people take very seriously. The inhabitants of Wildeland are extremely kind and welcoming, like those on the island depicted in Francis Bacon’s The New Atlantis (1627), they are honest and moral, holding themselves to high moral standards. They live life to the fullest and enjoy every breath that they are given. The land allows them to explore often, which is something that they thrive off of, the land fueling their sense of adventure. A typical day here consists of work from 9-2, a recommended lunch or nap hour, and then everyone is free in the afternoons and nights to do what they would like. Most people spend their afternoons exploring the island doing things like kayaking, mountain biking and hiking, while those who are older and more fragile will take long walks, read or work in their gardens. The island is able to function with only 5 hours of work each day because the people know how important it is to work hard and be “all in” with whatever they are doing, and no one is ever in a hurry.
Jobs, and life in general, are very similar to that here in the United States. There are teachers, doctors, even trashmen. The only difference is that people do whatever they thrive in and don’t receive any compensation for their work. At age 18, they take an interest survey, spend a year shadowing all different jobs, and then pick what they would like to do. Like in Thomas Moore’s, Utopia (1516), where inhabitants there can change jobs after two years, on Wildeland one can always change to something different if they are not happy where they are working. There is no paper currency on Wildeland but instead each week people are given a certain amount of coins for the number of people in their family and can use them however they would like. The children learn in school the importance of responsibility and are therefore very smart with how they spend their coins, once they are of age. After a day at work and afternoon of free time, people return back to their homes for a family meal and to rest for the next day.
One of the most interesting aspects of the island is the inhabitants’ homes. Just like the island, magically floating in the air, their homes too are somewhat in the air. Treehouses, just like the ones seen in Swiss Family Robinson, abundantly cover the trees in the public areas that are not parks. Each family has their own treehouse, larger ones for larger families, all naturally built out of the trees on the island. The only rule when building ones home is that every tree that is chopped down and used as building material must be replaced by planting another tree, so that the island is not destroyed in the process of making their homes. Although the inhabitant’s homes are in the trees, not all buildings are. Hospitals, stores, and schools are all found in a centralized location on the island that have been set aside for production. No cars can be found, and therefore the amount of pollution is very low. Most people walk, ride bikes, or when given the opportunity, zip line to wherever they need to go.
Wildeland is what I believe to be an almost perfect Utopia. Although some aspects of the island, like the fact that it floats in the air, are supernatural and could not exist in real life, the rest of the island and its policies are somewhat attainable. Built on the principle that one should love life and love others, Wildeland rests quietly above our heads, tucked away in the mists beyond our reach.