Name: Olivia Seifried
Role: Punta Arenas Guest Services Manager
1st Season: 2011
What first brought you to work for ALE in Chile?
I was living in Argentina when a friend from back home in Canada informed me that there was a company in southern Chile looking for a native English speaker to work a seasonal position assisting with their Antarctic operations. I was attracted to the seasonal work and the opportunity to immerse myself in a different culture.
Most of our guests spend only a few days in Chile en route to Antarctica, but you get to spend several months living in Punta Arenas each year. What have you discovered about this part of the world that most people overlook?
The art and culture scene in Punta Arenas is very alive. Each year I notice more murals, mosaics, and crochet artwork decorating the streets. The city is alive with festivals, outdoor shows, trade markets, and events in the municipal theatre. Many of the historic buildings are transforming into hip restaurants, hotels, and cultural centers.
Do you have a favorite secret spot in Punta Arenas to grab a bite?
My favorite spot to eat is at the Ilyushin flight crew house. The Punta Arenas staff is invited over to their house a few times each season to enjoy a wonderful Russian feast. They serve an abundance of fantastic dishes and they are incredible hosts.
What’s the best Spanish saying you’ve picked up living in South America?
“Estoy como lechuga” – literally translated as “I am like lettuce”. A phrase specific to Chilean slang meaning I am fresh, healthy, and ready to go.
Is there anything from Canada you wish you could bring with you to Chile?
What’s the most difficult aspect of preparing guests for their arrival in Antarctica?
Poor weather in the forecast makes our operations more difficult, as there are many challenges that arise when there is a flight delay. The weather can be unpredictable, so we are constantly preparing for a range of possibilities. By foreseeing any potential complications we are in a better position to maintain smooth operations.
What’s the most common piece of gear from the equipment list people always forget to pack?
Guests often forget to pack the “pee bottle”.
What tips would you have for a first time traveler to Antarctica?
Enjoy a vacation from your digital life. Relax, relish in the magic of Union Glacier, and accept that there is no reason to be stressed about deadlines or obligations while you are in Antarctica.
What’s the best part of your job as Guest Services Coordinator?
The team of individuals I get to live, work, and share four months of life with.
When you’re not working in Chile, how do you spent the rest of your year?
This year I spent four months studying and teaching yoga in Brazil and four months exploring my back yard in in the Canadian Rockies.
Is there one thing you always bring with you, no matter where you travel?
My Casio watch and a toothbrush are essentials.
Where would you choose to live if you could live anywhere?
I would choose to stay exactly where I am right now, living in a beautiful house nestled into a luscious green hillside overlooking the ocean in Brazil. I have no neighbors, only the sound of the waves and the birds. There are avocado and coconut trees on the land, and a beautiful patio where I practice and teach yoga.