I've left London, and I am sailing to a new island that has appeared out of the ice in the Arctic circle. No, this is not a prank. I've been invited along with an eclectic collection of academics, artists, lawyers, activists, sixth-formers and scientists to sail to this small pitch of land, which has been named NowhereIsland, as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Right now, I'm in Oslo, and tomorrow we travel to Svalbard, where we will board a ship, the Noorderlicht, which will take us to the island, where those of us who went to fee-paying schools will be devoured by bears.
Along the way, we're supposed to debate and discuss how to build a conceptual new nation, a model society in the wreck of late capitalism. There is a chance, given how many Guardian readers we seem to have on this trip, that we may just all turn pirate and start raiding the coastal towns of Norway and Finland and looting all the humous and complicated jam. Presuming we make it, however, we will have weeks stuck on a boat to debate utopianism, anarchism, feminism and environmental activism and try to avoid one another's eyes in the communal showers.
Anyone can become a citizen of Nowhere Island, just by signing up here. In fact, NowhereIsland already has more citizens than Vatican City* and we may soon outnumber Monaco, although you can't reroute your tax through Nowhere Island, because in this new nation the common wealth of humanity will be held above the pursuit of profit. Also, there isn't a bank.
I signed up for this journey because I was thoroughly enamoured with the possibility of going to the Polar circle, and by the human experiment of being crammed on a tiny ship with twenty strangers and no internet access for two weeks, a sort of Big Brother as imagined by Ian McEwan. As I've become more involved in the project, however, I've come to realise what a mad, brilliant idea it really is, and so, I need your help. I'd like you to write, in the comments here or in an email to me, and share your idea of Utopia - Nowhere, in Greek - of an ideal society, whatever that means to you. I don't care if your vision of Utopia is a zero-carbon society, a neo-libertarian dystopia, a world without gender, or a fantasy theocracy where everyone worships the Flying Spaghetti Monster and matters of state are decided by competitive playoffs of Dance Dance Revolution . It can be as detailed as you like, or just a few lines. I'll be keeping a travel diary of this mad, weird fortnight and will post as and when I have web access, which will depend entirely on the satellite service. And the bears.
*and not ALL of them are Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. :S