Did you ever hear of a place and immediately think, "how is it possible that anyone could even live there?" It's something that we've thought of, so much so that it piqued our interest enough to seek out the most outrageous environments this world has to offer... And the people who live there.
This vast world is full of strange and unusual occurrences and with them come human beings that find incredible ways to adapt. Regardless of whether the train is barren, desolate and unimaginably hot or nightmarishly frigid, icy, and freezing, humans figure out how to survive. What we'd consider being outlandish and absurd is just routine to someone halfway around the globe, just as they probably couldn't imagine living in a big city with ideal weather. These various global locations will make you thankful for those once in a while snow days or utterly hot days when it seems like the AC just can't keep up because that's just it -- They only happen "once in a while". For the citizens of these places, days such as those are what they deal with not just on an annual basis, but most likely year-round as well. Here are 20 of the most intense places to live around the world that you can be sure to add to your "nope" list.
19 Peru Is Home To A Permanent Civilization At A Dizzying Height
For those who have a fear of heights, it's best if you skip on past this one... Or read on if you want to be thankful for your lesser elevation. La Rinconada sits just above 16,700 feet, which is higher than the mountain peaks most avid hikers attempt. In comparison, that's over halfway up Mt. Everest. Despite its insane elevation, over 30,000 people call this location home and have adapted to its average of freezing temperatures. They live and work there, as the town is built around a gold mine which is how they maintain commerce and employment. Whether it's worth it or not, that's quite a hike to get some gold.
18 Greenland Is About As Far North As You Can Go Without Freezing (Literally)
If you're basing your assumption of Greenland on its old Viking tale, then you'll be surprised to know that it's not as "green" as everyone thinks. With its Arctic Circle environment and temperatures, it's definitely not the easiest place to build a home. In a wicked twist of fate, the country called Iceland is, in fact, the one that's green, sees average summers and is wildly beautiful -- not to mention habitable. The constant ice is actually what forces its citizens to live on the coast since there's no way to set up shop on a layer of solid ice.
17 Siberia Is Torture In Hot Weather And In Cold
People often make jokes about Siberia and it's frigid temperatures but it's pretty extreme on both ends of the spectrum. There's really no in-between when it comes to a solid median for those who live here and according to List 25, citizens can expect temperatures as high as 100-degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and as low as -88 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. Despite its yo-yo'ing thermometer, Siberia is a gold mine when it comes to natural minerals and oil, making it a highly valued location as well as an extreme one.
16 Australia's Outback Is Pretty Desolate
You've heard of the vast Outback, but did you know that people actually live there? In fact, Australian citizens don't just live there, many own and work on farms in the Outback. the desert doesn't lend itself to much else other than that and it's not uncommon for you to be entire town lengths away from your closest neighbors. It's long-distance living at its finest, complete with a barrenness that you can only get from a dry, dusty desert. For those who live there, it's normal to see more stars than actual city lights but for everyone else, it really is in the middle of nowhere.
15 Antarctica Doesn't Have A Large Population But People Do Live There
The southernmost part of the planet is an unusual and intriguing place but for some, it's considered to be "home". You'll likely only find research crews and scientists here when the large ice cap is actually habitable during the summer months when the popular is fairly significant. List 25 claims that Antarctica sees a population swell of roughly 4,000 people which then drops down to 1,000 in the harsh winter months. And by harsh, we mean days that can see a temperature of -95 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, that was negative -- Well, well below freezing.
14 The Changtang Region Of Tibet Is Always Throwing Weather Curveballs
Tibet is beautiful with its stunning mountain peaks and breathtaking landscapes. It helps that it has been relatively unharmed by human presence but there's also a good reason for that: The weather is insanity. The people of the Changtang region can expect anything from sizeable hail to winds that can wreck you from the moment you step outside. With summers being so short, there's no shortage of this outrageous weather and it's something that town residents have just come to expect. Never knowing when the next hail-spiked rainstorm is coming sounds pretty nerve-wracking, but it's fairly normal for Tibet.
13 The Sahara Desert Belongs To The Tuareg, Who Know How To Survive
The Tuareg rule survival when it comes to turning the Sahara Desert into a home. According to MSN, their main methods of survival come in the form of hunting and trading, which provides commerce as well as food, water, clothing, and shelter. The Tuareg are nomadic which means they're an isolated tribe who wonder, something that's easy to do in this seemingly endless sandbox. While walking from sand dune to sand dune might sound like a summer vacation gone wrong, it's just part of daily life to the Tuareg tribe.
12 Floods Are A Normal Part Of Life In Cherrapunji, India
Floods have a horrible habit of destroying villages, especially when they come through unannounced as flash floods often do. In the village of Cherrapunji, this is something that its people are used is not something out of the ordinary. Floods are common in the humid region but, surprisingly, that doesn't stop more than 1,000 people from taking up residence there according to MSN. Whereas most places we've listed up to this point are in desperate need of water via the way of rain, Cherrapunji sees far too much of it.
11 Mozambique Is Sadly Riddled With Disease And Lack Of Water
In Africa, survival isn't the easiest thing when it comes to remaining healthy. While many of the problems we've seen so far have been environmental, Mozambique finds itself facing a different type of terror. Its people are stuck in a horrible catch-22, lacking clean drinking water while their community fights off diseases such as malaria and AIDS. Without clean water, dehydration and poor hygiene is a rising issue, thus leading to even further spread of both these diseases. In fact, it's this biological detriment that contributes to the region's biggest problem.
10 Floating Houses Are The Only Way To Live In Bajau Laut, Philipines
Okay okay, this doesn't sound like the worst thing in the world, right? By houses, though, we don't mean million-dollar mansions that are floating on metal barges. We mean huts that have been fashioned out of whichever island materials the people of Bajau Laut can find, sitting on stilts, hovering just above the water. The Philipines is a beautiful place, but living in houses that sit just inches above water is a bit nerve-wracking, even for the most seaworthy of people. If a storm comes through or sea levels rise, this town could run into its fair share of issues.
9 Pripyat Still Bears The Mark Of Chernobyl
If you've seen the movie Chernobyl Diaries then you've seen what happens when Hollywood sticks its nose in a disaster that meant the desolation of a city. In stark contrast to whichever radioactive monsters were running around in the found footage film, the area that was affected by Chernobyl, Pripyat, does actually have a population. It's a population of scientists and researchers, but it's a steady population all the same. Due to the radiation levels that are still heightened in the area, no one can live here without significant health risks.
8 Mount Merapi Is A Volcanic Explosion Waiting To Happen
While the environment surrounding Mount Merapi isn't uninhabitable, hostile, or considered dangerous, it very well could be in the near future. This "mountain" is actually a volcano, and according to MSN, has erupted 60 times over a span of 500 years. That seems like pretty good odds until you do the math and realize that's an average of once every eight and a half years. Despite that looming three, people still continue to live near this mountainside although it comes with the threat of an eruption on any given day.
7 Russia's Most Polluted City, Norilsk, Makes Living Conditions Restrictive
When you think of Russia, you'll often think first and foremost of its frigid climate and chilly conditions. You might also think of its tortured and political history, but none of that has to do with what's wrong with Norilsk. Sadly, Norilsk bears the reputation of not only being one of the most polluted places in Russia, but it's the most polluted city in Russia as well. Its pollution comes from a local factory and that, combined with the fact that the city sees freezing temperatures from Siberia, make it a rather undesirable location.
6 The Maldives Is Beautiful But With A Timeline
You've heard of the Maldives in regards to being one of the most beautiful island locations to vacation in the world, but what many people don't realize is that it's all situated on very fragile land. In fact, most of it sits in the water and not on land at all. In an article published by the Independent back in April, scientists were concerned about rising sea levels in regards to islands just like the Maldives. Within decades, they claimed, these islands would be well underwater and render them virtually uninhabitable. Scientists have given a timeline of roughly the mid-21st century before we start seeing this inevitable occurrence.
5 Lake Kivu Holds More Gas Than Scientists Know What To Do With
Back in 2012, BBC reported that efforts were being put forth to "make this lake safer" as it put the residents surrounding at serious risk. The risk follows the secret that Lake Kivu has hiding just under the surface; this large body of water is home to a fatal-level mix of carbon dioxide and methane. Scientists have described this explosion waiting to happen as something akin to shaking up a soda bottle -- If volcanic activity were to increase in the area and disturb the water levels, the gas would have nowhere to go but up. It's currently kept at its depths due to water pressure but there's no saying how long it will remain regulated.
4 As Far As Hurricane Magnets Go, Grand Cayman Is Top Of The List
This is a no-brainer and while the Grand Cayman islands are simply stunning any time of the year, during hurricane season, they turn into a sinister surprise. Similar to Haiti, the islands have the misfortune of sitting directly in the path most hurricanes follow from May until October, sometimes even as late as November. The warm tropical waters might mean prime time for tourists and fisherman who make their living on the islands, but it also means increased storms with unbelievably wind power and torrential rains.
3 There's A Desert In China And It's Growing In Minqin County
In 2009, The Guardian quoted scientists who were researching this rare phenomenon as being an "ecological disaster area". The town of Minqin and its surrounding area was quite literally being swallowed up by a growing desert, known as the Minqin Oasis. Droughts and dried-up rivers resulted in a lack of water and moisture as winds continue to blow sand from the nearby Tengger Desert. These crazy waves of sand that have descended on the county have pushed residents out and taken over what once was habitable land.
2 Mecca, Where The Average High Is 101-Degrees Fahrenheit
Imagine living in an oven on the "low" setting for 365 days a year. That wild visual is everyday life for the citizens of Mecca, who experience hot days year-round and face absolutely sweltering summer months. What's so interesting about this city is that it does see plenty of tourists annually, especially during Ramadan which occasionally falls in a hot summer month. In fact, according to All That's Interesting, in July of 2014, the people of Mecca saw a whopping 109 degrees. Evidently, seeing temperatures upwards of 120-degrees Fahrenheit isn't unusual, either.
1 New Zealand Sees Some Intense Winds, Especially In Wellington
Aside from the Arctic Circle, New Zealand sees some of the highest winds routinely, year-round. Wellington is the place to be if being swept off your feet is something you enjoy and they've seen winds that top out at a whopping 150 MPH. Comparably, their rate of windy days is much more than Chicago, Illinois, which is considered one of the windiest places in the U.S. (as the "windy city", duh). Roughly 233 days out of the year experience wind that we would consider an abnormality anywhere else in the world, barring some type of tundra or wind tunnel.