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I live on a remote island with 15 other people and it takes EIGHT HOURS to go grocery shopping


Island lifestyle conjures up visions of white sand and palm trees, but it’s quite the opposite for this woman. 

Dom Nobes, 32, lives on a tiny outcrop called Island 203 in Lake Temagami, northeastern Canada, with 15 other residents and for a good portion of the year, she has to endure temperatures as low as -40F along with consecutive days of darkness.

On her TikTok account, @readbetweenthepines, the islander details what remote living is like with everything from her beauty routine to her working day caught on camera.

In one clip, she captures a run to the grocery store with her husband, Rielly. 

Dom Nobes (pictured with her husband, Rielly, and dog), 32, lives on a tiny outcrop called Island 203 in Lake Temagami, Canada

Dom moved to the wilds of Canada with her partner and his parents in 2018. For a good portion of the year, she has to endure temperatures as low as -40F

Dom moved to the wilds of Canada with her partner and his parents in 2018. For a good portion of the year, she has to endure temperatures as low as -40F

She says the biggest lure of Lake Temagami - which is home to 1,259 islands - is the scenery

She says the biggest lure of Lake Temagami – which is home to 1,259 islands – is the scenery

She says the trip – which they do every two weeks – can take up to eight hours, as they have to cross the lake to the mainland first by boat or snowmobile, and then the closest stores are an hour-and-a-half drive away from there. 

In the store, she explains that groceries are ‘so expensive,’ even at the discount outlet and she pans in on stack of lettuces marked up at $8.99 each.

Dom moved to the wilds of Canada with her partner and his parents in 2018. 

The couple were keen to start their own business and they went about setting up a small firm renting out cottages on the island. 

They also have a number of on-ice bungalows which they rent on Lake Temagami during the winter for ice-fishing enthusiasts. 

While Dom says it’s ‘easy to romanticize the notion of living on an island in the middle of nowhere,’ she highlights that it’s not for those who like their conveniences as you are ‘far removed’ from everything. 

There are no restaurants, bars or clubs in the vicinity of Island 203. 

In one TikTok, Dom reveals the pros and cons of island life. 

On her TikTok channel, @readbetweenthepines, the islander details what remote living is like with everything from her beauty routine to her working day caught on camera

On her TikTok channel, @readbetweenthepines, the islander details what remote living is like with everything from her beauty routine to her working day caught on camera

Dom and Rielly have a number of on-ice bungalows which they rent on Lake Temagami during the winter for ice fishing enthusiasts

Dom and Rielly have a number of on-ice bungalows which they rent on Lake Temagami during the winter for ice fishing enthusiasts

She says the biggest lure of Lake Temagami – which is home to 1,259 islands – is the scenery and ‘it’s so f***ing beautiful here’ with ‘water and trees and nothing else.’

Another perk is the peace and quiet island life affords and Dom says it is always very ‘silent,’ with no deafening fire trucks whizzing by like she experienced in the city.

Her final ‘pro’ is the sense of community she has found on Lake Temagami. 

The outdoorswoman explains: ‘When you live somewhere so remote, even though your neighbors might not be right next door, you have a great sense of community because you have to rely on one another when you live in these sort of remote areas. 

In the store, she explains that groceries are 'so expensive,' even at the discount outlet, and she pans in on stack of lettuces marked up at $8.99 each

In the store, she explains that groceries are ‘so expensive,’ even at the discount outlet, and she pans in on stack of lettuces marked up at $8.99 each

While Dom says it's 'easy to romanticize the notion of living on an island in the middle of nowhere,' she highlights that it's not for those who like their conveniences

While Dom says it’s ‘easy to romanticize the notion of living on an island in the middle of nowhere,’ she highlights that it’s not for those who like their conveniences

During the winter and spring months, when ice on the lake is either freezing or melting, the Nobeses can't leave home for up to two weeks

During the winter and spring months, when ice on the lake is either freezing or melting, the Nobeses can’t leave home for up to two weeks

In preparation for their bi-yearly 'ice-olation,' the couple have to stock up on supplies and get enough produce to see them through

In preparation for their bi-yearly ‘ice-olation,’ the couple have to stock up on supplies and get enough produce to see them through

There are no restaurants, bars or clubs in the vicinity of Island 203

There are no restaurants, bars or clubs in the vicinity of Island 203

Despite it not being the easiest place to live, Dom says being an islander is 'totally worth it'

Despite it not being the easiest place to live, Dom says being an islander is ‘totally worth it’

‘I love the sense of community I have living here. I have lived in like nine places in Ontario [and] I have never had a sense of community like I do living here.’

Moving onto the ‘cons,’ Dom says her biggest gripe with living on a far-flung island is the lack of convenient food options.

If she is exhausted, she ‘can’t just order Uber Eats’ or ‘go get takeout.’ 

Because of this, Dom says her cooking skills have improved’ and ‘of course we have cheat things in the freezer… but it’s not the same.’

The food situation gets even more dire during the winter and spring months when ice on the lake is either freezing or melting, and for two weeks, the Nobeses can’t leave home. 

In preparation for their bi-yearly ‘ice-olation,’ the couple have to stock up on supplies and get enough produce to see them through. 

There is never a dull moment when you live on an island. Sometimes I’m rescuing someone ’cause the boat broke down and sometimes I’m delivering flowers with a canoe….

The second thing Dom struggles with is how ‘mother nature dictates everything that you do here’ and ‘if it’s really windy, you’re not gonna take your boat across the lake unless you have to.’

Lastly, a downside for Dom is how ’emergency situations are a lot more dire and you really have to be prepared to act.’

Because of this, she always has a first-aid kit on her and she resists the urge to take any chances or unnecessary risks. 

Along with being armed with first-aid skills, Dom says other useful skills to have as an islander in Canada include being able to drive a boat and a snowmobile.

Meanwhile, being proficient in carpentry and plumbing can come in handy as it’s not always easy to call a contractor out.  

Despite it not being the easiest place to live, Dom says being an islander is ‘totally worth it.’

She concludes: ‘There is never a dull moment when you live on an island. 

‘Sometimes I’m rescuing someone ’cause the boat broke down and sometimes I’m delivering flowers with a canoe… some days it’s water sports… some days it’s a nap on the boat after a 12-hour workday but overall, living on an island is pretty great.’



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