For those of you pining for a dream job, Antarctica beckons. Airbnb is sending “citizen scientists” on an all-expenses-paid trip to study glaciers and explore the great outdoors on one of the world’s most mysterious/ least accessible continents. The company has teamed up with Ocean Conservancy for what they’re calling the “Antarctic Sabbatical” — a travel program that will send five travelers to Antarctica accompanied by environmental scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams for a scientific research mission studying the impact of plastic pollution and how it affects vulnerable and seemingly isolated environments around the world.
You apparently don’t need any formal training to participate and the trip begins with two weeks in Chile to learn the basics of glacial research. Obviously, this feels particularly relevant now, with the climate conversation sitting atop the news cycle. The goal is that citizen scientists (that’s you) will deliver insight into how the global community, specifically the Airbnb community and other travel organizations, can help to better protect Antarctica and the planet.
The trip will break down like this: For the first two weeks, you’ll spend your time in Punta Arenas, Chile, where you will learn the basics of glaciology and field sampling, as well as prepare yourself physically for Antarctica’s harsh climate and rocky environment. In the third week, you’ll fly to a remote part of Antarctica, landing alongside a naturally formed shimmering blue-ice runway where you will conduct your research. For the following 10 days, you’ll explore Antarctic sites like the Drake Icefall, the Charles Peak Windscoop, and Elephant’s Head while riding snowmobiles and collecting snow samples in search of microplastics to measure how far plastic pollution can travel.
At the end of the trip, you’ll return to Chile where you’ll briefly study your findings and work with the Ocean Conservancy to become an ambassador for protecting the ocean by offering insight into how people can minimize their collective plastic footprint.
The application is open from now until October 8th, 2019. The only official qualification is that you’re over the age of 18 and your responses to the application are in English. The trip will take place from November 18th until December 17th, so you’ll be back in time for the holidays to drop some knowledge on your friends and family about glaciers and plastic pollution. Visit Airbnb and Ocean Conservancy’s Antarctic Sabbatical page for more information regarding what to expect on the trip.