Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 30 March 2020

Is this your dream office? Airbnb offering free two-month 'sabbatical' in the Bahamas

The all-expenses paid trip includes sailing, free-diving and island conservation, but you'll need to be a Dubai resident to apply

Airbnb is sending five people to the Bahamas for a two-month, all-expenses-paid experience
Airbnb is sending five people to the Bahamas for a two-month, all-expenses-paid experience

If endless beaches, swaying palm trees and impossibly blue oceans are what your travel dreams are made of, Airbnb might have the answer.

The travel accommodation site is on the hunt for five travellers to spend two sun-filled months getting to grips with island life on an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas.

Five people will spend two months exploring the Bahamas with Airbnb. Courtesy Airbnb
Five people will spend two months exploring the Bahamas with Airbnb. Courtesy Airbnb

The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is a partnership between Airbnb and the Bahamas National Trust – and the good news is that the scheme is open to people from several places around the world, including those living in Dubai.

The bad news is that residents of other emirates in the UAE are not eligible to apply.

Third time lucky

The Bahamas trip is the third sabbatical organised by Airbnb, following similar expeditions to Italy and Antarctica. In December, Dubai resident Rasha El Saleh was one of five people selected for the four-week scientific research trip to the world's southernmost continent.

For the third sabbatical, five lucky applicants will head off on an island adventure in the West Indies where they will get the chance to tour several of the 700-plus islands that make up the Bahamas.

Airbnb participants will spend their days sailing around the archipelago, diving among some of the world's largest coral reefs and discovering indigenous wildlife. The group will also visit off-the-beaten-path destinations on three different islands where they will help residents attempting to preserve their culture and natural resources.

Sustainable tourism

Pineapple farming will be just one part of the conservation activities that participants in the Airbnb Bahamas Sabbatical will learn. Courtesy Airbnb
Pineapple farming will be just one part of the conservation activities that participants in the Airbnb Bahamas Sabbatical will learn. Courtesy Airbnb

Last year, the Bahamas was hit by Hurricane Dorian, the most intense tropical cyclone on record to strike the country. It is now heavily reliant on tourism to rebuild.

The country's natural resources have also suffered due to changing ecosystems and several of its industries have been affected.

To combat this, many Bahamians are beginning to return to traditional practices rooted in agriculture, ethical fishing and coral reef revitalisation. Airbnb sabbatical participants will get to know local communities and leaders and learn more about the islands to help locals with these rejuvenation projects.

Life on the islands

The Bahamas was hit by Hurrican Dorian last year and the country is largely reliant on tourism dollars to rebuild. Courtesy Airbnb
The Bahamas was hit by Hurrican Dorian last year and the country is largely reliant on tourism dollars to rebuild. Courtesy Airbnb

From Wednesday, April 1 until Sunday, May 31, the five participants will get up close and personal with three beautiful island destinations: Andros, Exumas, and Eleuthera. Here, they will work to complete various projects designed to help restore important natural resources.

Coral restoration in Andros

Home to the world's third-largest reef system, participants will start the expedition on Andros where they will get set to head into the blue. Working with an underwater photographer, the group will help to create a coral reef restoration programme in North Marine Park. This will involve building and installing a brand new nursery.

Free-diving in Exuma

Weeks four to six will take place on Exuma, an island that's renowned for its turquoise waters. It's also home to the first national park in the Bahamas. Here, participants will work with a free-diver to replicate the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park ecosystems in other waters around the destination where marine life is struggling. Days will be spent working to curb invasive fish populations, learning traditional boat building and sailing across blue oceans.

Planting trees in Eleuthera

This island is known for its pink sand beaches and participants will have plenty of time to sunbathe on these. Away from the shoreline, participants will work with a master gardener to learn more about preserving the island's natural plants and trees. After mastering propagation techniques for native trees, the group will work to build a bush tea farm. Harvesting sea salt and practicing pineapple farming will also be on the agenda.

No formal qualifications are required to apply, but travellers must be passionate about sustainable tourism, have conversational-level English and be available to travel to the Bahamas for two months from April to May.

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Read more:

First Airbnb-style platform for women offers rentals in Dubai, New York and London

Dubai resident wins a place on Airbnb Antarctica mission

Live like a maharajah: you can now book a stay at Jaipur's City Palace via Airbnb

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Updated: January 29, 2020 05:07 PM

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