A dream job in a dream cave

Perhaps the position of outgoing hermit, to live in a cave and dispense wisdom, is the 'best job in the world.'

Carolyn Grant

There have been a couple of competitions for the “best job in the world” in recent years. We all remember the dream job in Australia where the chosen applicant got a great salary and a multi-million dollar villa as sleeping quarters to house-sit the islands of the Great Barrier Reef. That job offer generated a lot of interest and thousands of applicants seeking adventure — and solitude.

Only one person out of the thousands who applied actually got the job, leaving the rest disappointed. But now another offer has emerged to tempt those looking for the unusual.

“Wanted: ‘outgoing’ hermit. Must like solitude and be prepared to dispense wisdom, salary included.”

That’s right, a Swiss Council is looking for a hermit. Said hermit would be required to live in a cave. That cave is the cavern at the Verena Gorge, to the north of the city of Solothurn in Switzerland. The hermit must also tend a small garden. And dispense wisdom.

Here’s the deal. The name of the hermitage refers to Saint Verena, who is said to have passed near the area and lived in a cave near Solothurn. There has been a hermit living at the site for 600 years. Not the same hermit — that would be weird. A succession of hermits have occupied the cavern, which is just up a steep trail from a small chapel. Note, the job description also says the hermit must be fit, as the trail is steep. My thought is that if you’re a hermit, you’d only have to climb the trail once, right? So you wouldn’t have to be super-fit. And you’d have time to rest after you got up the hill to your new home.

In any case, the last hermit — and notably, the first female to hold the position — has given up the job because visitors to the site were annoying her. She was a hermit after all, which implies a certain aloofness.

But, you will note the job description asks the hermit to dispense wisdom, and I’m pretty sure the wisdom the Council wants dispensed is not, “It would be better for you if you got off my lawn!”

So therefore, the search for an “outgoing hermit” to replace the … er … outgoing hermit, has begun.

Perks of the job. You live in Switzerland, which is a beautiful land. Switzerland is known for remaining neutral, therefore any wisdom the hermit dispenses will not necessarily have to take a side. For instance if a tourist arrives and asks you if her garishly coloured walking shorts make her look beefy, you can confuzzle her with Yoda-like wisdom without actually saying the shorts are not attractive. You are also protecting a cultural monument, a most worthy endeavour.

Downside – you are living in a cave. I don’t know what kind of cell reception you’d get in a cave, so it might be difficult to update your status on Facebook. Also I’m betting that the Council would frown on a satellite dish hanging outside. Maybe you could get cable — I don’t know. Or maybe you’d have to brush up on your cave painting.

In any event, if you crave solitude, but not too much solitude, if you love giving advice, and can tolerate tourists tromping through your living room, this is the job for you. But remember, outgoing but not too outgoing, or you too, will be outgoing.

Carolyn Grant is the Editor of the Kimberley Daily Bulletin