There are worse places to take a break than the Bahamas, and this spring, Airbnb will cover a two-month stay for five lucky people looking to live that island life.
In conjunction with a local NGO called the Bahamas National Trust, the homeshare platform is now accepting applications for its third sabbatical, a programme designed to provide the experience of a lifetime for its participants – and five extra sets of hands for rebuilding efforts in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.
An archipelago comprising more than 700 islands, the Bahamas depends on tourism to keep its economy afloat, and the country is eager to welcome visitors back to its many shores after the 2019 storm. But with a core group of locals embracing traditional practices like ethical fishing and coral-reef revitalisation, there’s an ever-increasing focus on sustainability, and the group chosen for the sabbatical will work to support those efforts.
From April through May, participants will embed in three destinations left unscathed by the storm: Andros, Exumas, and Eleuthera. In Andros, home of the world’s third-largest reef system, they’ll work with underwater and travel photographer Katie Storr to create and implement a coral reef restoration programme in North Marine Park, building a nursery where coral fragments can be grown and transplanted in affected areas across the island nation.
In Exuma, participants will work with freediver Andre Musgrove to replicate the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park ecosystem in other waters, especially those that have been overrun with invasive species. They’ll also get hands-on experience with conch conservation, traditional boatbuilding, and sailing.
In Eleuthera, participants will put in time at the Leon Levy Native Plant Reserve and its research centre for traditional bush medicine, studying under master gardener Omar Mcklewhite to learn propagation techniques for native trees and establish a bush tea farm. Outside of the reserve, they’ll also research native species, practice traditional pineapple farming, and harvest sea salt.
The sabbatical “is an incredible opportunity to help further preserve our culture and resources and share our diverse country and the Bahamian way of life with the world,” Bahamas National Trust executive director Eric Carey said in a press release.
Its aim, Airbnb says, is for participants to collaborate with community leaders “to create lasting programmes to help sustain these practices with the hope of generating economic impact for generations to come” – and if some new bookable experiences come out of the deal, so much the better.
“This is a special place,” Airbnb senior vice president of global policy and communications Chris Lehane said in a press release. “Anyone who has spent time on any of the islands that make up the nation is moved by the air, the sun, the beaches, the food, the communities, and most of all the people.”
To be considered for the gig, get your application in before the window closes on 18 February. Visit airbnb.com/sabbatical to learn more.
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