I’m on a road trip across the western United States, and the fact that I live in Madagascar keeps coming up in conversations with complete strangers. People just ask me where I live—after I shamelessly bait them.
“Do you have Jolly Rancher Tropical Fruit Flavors?”
“Right over there, sir.”
“Yes, I see you have the original flavors, but did I mention that I can’t get Jolly Rancher candy where I live?”
“Where do you live?”
I thought you’d never ask.
Sometimes I reply directly, “Madagascar.”
Other times I say, “On the other side of the world.”
Or sometimes I say, “The farthest possible place from here without being in the middle of the Indian Ocean.”
But that last one; that’s not technically true.
It’s true that farthest place on earth from Flagstaff, Arizona is in the middle of the Indian Ocean— the antipode; the place you would emerge if you were to tunnel straight down from Flagstaff through the center of the earth.
But Antananarivo, Madagascar—where I live; did I mention that I live there?—is actually closer to Flagstaff than several other places out there where you could find dry land.
|Indian Ocean antipodes of my current road trip|
Interestingly, if you head southwest from Flagstaff your antipode is closer to Margaret River, Australia (9815 miles) than it is to either Reunion (11,205 miles) or Mauritius (11,230 miles) where the shortest path is heading southeast.
But the actual closest land to the anti-Flagstaff (thereby farthest from the real Flagstaff) is The Kerguelen Islands (11465 miles). So until I find myself living in the bustling outpost of Port-aux-Français, with its library, gymnasium, and pub, I can’t honestly say I live on the farthest possible place on land from Flagstaff.
My apologies, gas station market attendants throughout Utah, Idaho, and Oregon.
But here at the end of the road-trip part of my American tour, I’m in northwest Oregon. It’s as close to the anti-Kerguelen Islands as I will get—and that would be Medicine Hat, Canada. (Which is kind of special, because only 4.4 percent of the earth’s surface has land that is antipodal to other land.)
And I’m not going either of those places unless they have the discontinued Jolly Rancher Tropical Fruit Flavors.
|I can’t believe they discontinued peach.|