Airbnb is inviting intrepid explorers to channel the spirit of Shackleton on an all-expenses paid trip to Antarctica.

A group of Antarctic explorers cruise through icebergs on a rubber boat
Airbnb is teaming up with Ocean Conservancy to send five volunteers to Antarctica for a scientific research trip. Image by David Merron Photography/Getty Images

If you fancy exploring the planet's frozen frontier, you can apply to take part in Airbnb's "Antarctic Sabbatical" in partnership with non-profit Ocean Conservancy. Over the course of a four-week period in November and December, you'll join scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams and four other volunteers on a research expedition, studying human impact on Antarctica's ecosystems. All travel expenses, food and accommodation will be covered as you journey across the most isolated continent on Earth. 

To make sure you're prepared for the trip, you'll take part in immersion training in Punta Arenas, Chile, with courses on glaciology, field sampling, lab work and equipment practice. You'll also gain insight on ways to cope with Antarctica's unforgiving polar conditions, both mentally and physically. Training will take about two weeks and then you and the four other volunteers will be flown to Antarctica to help Ms Jones-Williams investigate the presence of micro-plastics in Antarctica's interior.

Scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams looks through a lab microscope
The expedition will be lead by scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams. Image by Caroline Irby

"Most people think of Antarctica as a pristine and isolated continent, but recent evidence shows that even the most remote locations are affected by plastic pollution. This expedition will help us understand the pathways of micro-plastics to remote regions such as Antarctica and comes at a critical time to highlight our responsibility to protect our natural world,” said Jones-Williams.

You'll be staying in Union Glacier Camp for ten days as you work hand-in-hand with your team. But in between collecting snow samples, you'll get to ride snowmobiles and fat bikes and visit the South Pole to explore bucket-list sites such as Drake Icefall, the towering ice cliffs of Charles Peak Windscoop and Elephant Island.

A seal pup pops his head out of the water
Your research will offer insight on how the global community can better protect the planet against plastic pollution and waste. Image by Mint Images/ Art Wolfe via Getty

Then it's back to Chile to process your findings and work with Ocean Conservancy to become ambassadors for protecting the oceans, sharing with the global community ways in which they can reduce their plastic footprint. Which, when you think about it, is a rather lovely and lasting souvenir from the trip.

Up for the challenge? You can apply to take part here.

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