When we were kids we were always told that if we dug through the Earth we would come out in China, and maybe a few of you even attempted to run away to China by digging through the Earth. If any of us had succeeded in our grand escape and dug straight to the other side of our planet, would China really be where we ended up?

In geography, the point on the Earth’s surface that is directly opposite another location is called its antipodal point. I hate to disappoint, but the antipodal point of Laramie is in the Indian Ocean between the southern tip of Africa and the west coast of Australia, nowhere near China. That means that those of you who attempted to make a great escape from home by digging through the center of the Earth may have forgotten to pack an important item: scuba gear.

While you would have emerged from the long dig surrounded by water, there are some islands fairly close by where you could enjoy your great escape. The Kerguelen Islands are the closest pieces of land to Laramie’s antipodal point. The largest island, and the only one with any population, is that of La Grande Terre which would be only a short 700-mile scuba trip to the southwest. With a distance like that, perhaps we should have packed a boat in our childhood runaway luggage.

If your escape from home was triggered by the need for seclusion, then La Grande Terre is the place to go. The island has no indigenous population and is home to only 70 to 110 people throughout the year, most of whom are scientists researching earth science and biology. Don’t be too worried though, their facilities include a hospital, a library, dormitories, a chapel and even a pub.

If you are looking for wildlife and wilderness, then look no further. The island is full of beautiful bays, inlets, coves and fjords which are covered in grass, lichens and moss. While exploring the great outdoors, you may even see some of the local penguins, seabirds and seals.

If you are looking to escape the extremes in Laramie weather, this may be the place to go. The average temperature throughout the year ranges from about 40 to 55 degrees. This could give you an escape from Laramie’s winter months, but may be a disappointment in the summer. It appears we can never escape some things as high winds are still to be expected despite our being on the other side of the world.

If you are looking for an escape far from Laramie with seclusion, wilderness, different wildlife and mild weather, then pick up your shovels folks. While digging to the other side of the world will not get us to China as we were told in childhood, it would bring us to a new and interesting location.