Slab City, California
Since the 1950’s, squatters have occupied a small portion of the Sonoran Desert known as Slab City — a desert oasis for the outcasts. Slab city is considered by many to be the “last free place in America” and it truly defies all understanding of the American lifestyle. This community runs freely and with little control from the government, giving it the reputation of being a “lawless land.”
Slab City is a true “off the grid” destination for hippies, wanderers, snowbirds, transients, and gypsies alike. For some, it is considered a home in which their livelihood is maintained, but for others it is a place to escape the overbearing realities of life.
Slab City comes from the remnants of what was once a World War II Marine Corp barracks, called Camp Dunlap. What was remaining of this abandoned government territory, was the concrete slab buildings, hence the name Slab City.
It is quite likely that you have never heard mention of this California desert community. But if you are at all familiar with the famous work of art, “Salvation Mountain” you may have more of a headstart than most. Salvation Mountain is a vibrant and colorful masterpiece made out of various materials and was created by the devout Christian, Leonard Knight. Salvation Mountain is located just on the edge of Slab City drawing in visitors from all over the world. While driving out to visit this world renowned work of art, it is quite common for people to think that they are only going into the desert to explore a colorful man-made mountain. But who knew that there was also a lively community right next to it? It truly feels like something from another dimension.
Comuna 13 — Medellín, Colombia
Comuna 13, also commonly known as San Javier, is located in Medellin, Colombia. It was previously deemed the world’s “most dangerous community” and the “murder capital of the world ” — mostly in regards to its unlikely location. Comuna 13 is located near San Juan Highway, which makes it the perfect hotspot for gangs, paramilitary, irregulars, and combatants to trade and receive drugs, arms, and money.
Between the 1980’s and 1990’s, Comuna 13 was a neighborhood completely controlled by the drug lord, Pablo Escobar. Even up until the early 2000’s after his death the community still lived in immense danger. In 2002, the Colombian military carried out a siege of Comuna 13 called “Controversial Operation Orion” in order to rid the area of the notorious rebel groups.
Continuing after the conflict in 2002, Comuna 13 still remained in a constant state of terror. But then something miraculous happened: people came together, took action in the streets and started to depict the horrors of the past through murals. From head to toe, the city was painted with a hopeful future in mind. Today Comuna 13 no longer remains a place of fear, but a place where adults and children can leave their home, walk the beautiful art-filled streets, and reflect on their cities past.
Comuna 13 is a hopeful representation of how a community can rebuild itself even in the most treterrious times.
The Bermuda Triangle
You’ve probably heard of this one. The Bermuda Triangle is one of the most famous unsolved mysteries of the world — and quite a puzzling concept too.
The Bermuda Triangle, also famously known as Devil’s Triangle, is a conceptual and loosley coined area of water that lies in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is known for its unexplained mishaps — such as the disappearance of multiple ships and boats, and even a couple airplanes. In a sense, they all completely vanished from the area with no way to trace them. Spooky, right?
Well, it gets even better. It is speculated that during Christopher Columbus’s voyage over this area of water, he may have also encountered some unexplainable circumstances. For instance, it is said that his compass began to go crazy and spin out of control. He may have also witnessed a glowing light in the sky. Non-believers will say it was a meteor, while others will say it was a UFO. I guess we will never know.
Coober Pedy, Australia
Coober Pedy is a truly unique town located in the South Australian Outback. Since this region of Australia is known for it brutal heat, the town has been built mostly underground. In its underground quarters you can find restaurants, houses, hotels, and churches.
This town is also known for its underground opal mining due to the abundance of the gem, and the unique and relaxing experience that comes from an underground lifestyle.
Living underground is quite a different experience than any other. It gives you an open mind into being calm and still which is completely different that any other way of life.