***VERY IMPORTANT: ONLY PEOPLE ALREADY IN NORWAY CAN VOLUNTEER AT THIS POINT. READ MORE ABOUT THE COVID-RELATED RESTRICTIONS BELOW***
I currently only accept volunteers who are already living / staying in mainland Norway because due to Corona restrictions, it's the only way to get to the island. Norway is closed for tourism / visitors. We are nearly all vaccinated on Svalbard and the government is not signalling any plans to open up, in fact, it's only been getting stricter in the past few days (as of late april 2021). As sad as I am to have to say it, it's out of my control, so please do not apply for the summer or autumn thinking the situation will get resolved. It likely won't. Families have been separated. Unless you are already in Norwegian territory or are folkeregistered in Norway it's impossible to travel here anytime soon. I encourage everyone to try again next year, my inbox is piling up with requests I can't even consider and it's frustrating both for me and for volunteers. I advise everyone to check the border status of the country they wish to travel to before applying for anything.
I am a former world traveller who fell in love with rural Northern Norway and now develops arctic sustainability projects in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. I am an economist, a polyglot, a foodie, I love the oceans and the mountains, music, and the fact that people can be so different and yet so akin. I like to think I'm an open-minded person due to my unusual worldly upbringing, but I love learning, unlearning, and relearning life. Life never ceases to surprise and amaze me, which is why just when I had made my home in the Lofoten Islands, an opportunity to help another Norwegian arctic community to develop green business came along, I did not pass on it. Svalbard has long lived in people's imagination, but in this town we get to experience the wild crashing with the cosmopolitan, the old battling the new, and people who truly have chosen to be where they are. Living in this environment is an exercise in acceptance. Acceptance of nature, others, and the self. We have a bustling social life and modern conveniences in town, but beyond the polar bear sign lies endless wilderness that can only be explored with a rifle, and beyond that, the arctic ocean bitterly separates us from our closest neighbours, or mainland Norway. It's a mind-bogglingly privileged experience, with a long polar night, a period of respite, and the midnight sun throughout spring and summer. It's cold, beautiful, and multicultural. Here in Longyearbyen I create projects for food and energy production, waste management, and tourism. Corona has made it impossible for me to host dinner parties or hold acoustic concerts, but I hope soon that'll be a reality again. That's the dream. If you come, you'll get to experience this unique arctic community and I'll do the best to show you around and teach you about it if you want, despite my recent injury.
Aide avec des éco-projets
Bricolage et projets de construction
Cuisine/repas pour la famille
Aide à la maison
Svalbard is something of a dream. It sits high and isolated in the arctic circle, and the islands are home to arctic foxes, seals, walruses, and the bear. You would learn about life in a modern arctic community where many of the traditional ways have been left behind, and we now try to establish which solutions will live well into the future. You can learn about how we live, what exciting things are going on, and if you are in good shape you can explore the arctic with more experienced company. Otherwise the town is sure to keep you entertained, it's surprising how many things are going on despite Corona. I can teach you languages if you are interested, traditional fish printing, arctic gardening, and how to create sustainable business. I can also offer a culinary experience as I have lived in many countries and have learned to cook different cuisines. It's important to note that Svalbard is very different from the mainland and you'll experience a bit of a culture shock, there are many restrictions and at the same time, a sense of freedom. Many nationalities are represented here and the sky colours and the shape of the mountains alone make it a very unique place to be. Scooters are everywhere in the winter as we only have around 50km of roads. It's special!
I recently broke my hand and due to a snowmobile accident and that's why I decided to ask for a volunteer to help me in my private home. I am unable to cope with my workload + house tasks such as shopping for groceries, cooking, doing the dishes and cleaning the floors with only one arm. I'm usually very organised but I've run out of prepped meals and my left arm sincerely hurts after a day of relentless one-hand typing. Therefore I need help with household chores (going shopping, maintaining the house reasonably clean, laundry, cooking meals and handling dishes), it's a 1,5 bedroom apartment so it should not be a lot of work but that's the main type of help I need right now. I am not particularly untidy and not at all unclean but you will be cleaning for two. Besides that, if you are interested, I run the northernmost food production company in the world (we grow salads and herbs in the arctic) and am also engaged in several community projects which you may help with if it's appropriate.
There is no psychological help on the island and I'd like to start a mental health support group, you can also undertake art projects or help setup an urban garden in my living room, there are many things I would love to get done but with a broken arm and a full-time job, they get set aside. Spitsbergen is an interesting and almost magic place so if you get house chores done there is a lot of time left for exciting and meaningful work and a lot of free time you can use to explore the town and its mountains. I have to be honest though that it is less exciting to be staying here with me right now due to the broken arm, but at the same time that's the reason I'm opening the listing. Otherwise I would have waited until I had a proper big bedroom to host people. I have been a volunteer before and know that it can be tough and the conditions not ideal, so you'll always be able to communicate wishes and problems to me openly.
As I said before, I was once a travelling soul too, and now that I've taken up roots it would be so lovely to let the world come to me. Usually when we've had volunteers in other projects they've had a specific task or role, but here there is an element of you keeping company and experiencing the arctic at these challenging and changing times. It'll be nice to have someone to share a cup of tea during these corona times when the number of visitors is restricted.
I have a windowless room which you can have to yourself. I don't have a bed yet but the mattresses are pretty comfy. I live in a 1,5 bedroom apartment with good space, excellent wifi, and the shower is pretty good too. I have a fully-equipped kitchen (except for a dishwasher, I'm working on it!) and live 5 minutes away (walking) from the shop, swimming pool, and pubs. It's a very small room so you'll probably be staying a lot in the living room or outside. I don't own a TV. You must have warm clothes and adequate shoes to be able to travel here. VERY IMPORTANT: Svalbard is an extremely expensive place to live with mind-boggling high rents and food that is even more expensive than on the mainland. We will probably not have a very fresh diet (fruits and veggies are a luxury) and our diet will consist mostly on pantry items and the frozen section. We'll eat out some days. If you think you cannot handle a restrictive diet, this is not the place for you, or unfortunately you may have to pay for your own extra food. It's not that hard to make meals vegetarian or vegan, but variety is not the high point here. A good example of a food day would be oatmeal and frozen fruit for breakfast, crackers and toppings for lunch, a main carb + frozen veggies + some protein for dinner. I don't eat all meals so you'll have freedom to eat at your own hours and come and go as you please as I'm not one to control anyone's habits.
You can hike, explore Longyearbyen, or take longer trips around Spitsbergen provided you have the funds to do so. Everything out of town requires safety equipment. Ice caves, boat trips, and snowmobile trips are all amazing experiences. It's an extremely expensive place to live so I do not recommend you come if you don't have savings. Even buying extra fruit or a liter of milk can set you back a lot more than on the mainland. In town, you can walk almost everywhere, the distances are very short. The movies, pool and other buildings should be open again soon. Tourism is big in town so if you have a bit of cash to spare you'll always have something to do. I will also take you on all trips I can myself :) not so easy at the moment due to injured hand, but I'll get you in touch with friends who can help.
Accès Internet limité
Nous avons des animaux
Nous sommes fumeurs
Maximum 3-4 hours a day, 5 days a week. You can have breaks to go on longer trips, we just need to talk about it.