Life after Antartica?


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  • #856

    Anonymous
    Member

    Greetings,

    I’m a fairly intelligent divorced 48 year old guy whom is tremendously intrigued with working down there in Antarctica and I’m seriously considering it. I currently live in Northwestern Minnesota along the Canadian border and have a good job. It gets quite cold here in the winter (-20° F to -30° F) so I’m sure I can adjust to the weather. Pursing this would involve me having to quit my job, and probably selling my house too, and storing my stuff somewhere.

    I’m wondering how some of you have dealt with this dilemma. What do you do when you return from Antarctica? Those of you have done it, did you think it was worth it? Does Raytheon offer work to you at all when you come back? What about those of you who return year after year to Antarctica (something I can see myself doing if given the opportunity)… what do you do to support yourselves while you’re back in the states?

    I’m really leaning towards pursing this, but I’m concerned that this may be a stupid financial thing to do… (will I ever be able to afford a home to retire in?)

    Thanks for any advice or experiences you can offer.

    #8254

    Anonymous
    Member

    You might want to check out a similar thread under another category.

    I will tell you that you actually are lucky to be from Minnesota. Besides it being a beautiful state (Go Vikings!) it also has uncontested unemployment if you decide to continue coming down. All you have to do is work a little in Minnesota between seasons to make sure that you can claim Minnesota Unemployment. Otherwise, your claim comes from Virginia (that is where our income is reported) and they’re a bit more stringent. You have to report all contacts you make and are only paid for (If I remember correctly) the last 6 weeks before you leave again.

    As for selling your house, a lot of people decide to sell and still others rent their property out. It all depends on your individual needs. Personally, I’ve been saving up for my first house. So someone else might be better able to give you advice on that aspect of your question.

    #8255

    Sciencetech
    Keymaster

    Good answer AntarcticCat.

    The other thread is at http://www.iceboard.org/viewtopic.php?t=95

    @TheIceCalls wrote:

    I currently live in Northwestern Minnesota along the Canadian border and have a good job. Pursing this would involve me having to quit my job, and probably selling my house too, and storing my stuff somewhere.

    Wow. I haven’t been there but I would imagine that good jobs are hard to find. So the question is, if you needed that job again or something similar, could you get it? If so, no worries! If not, it could be a problem. There’s no work in my home town but I really want to live there, so I have to go away for months and years at a time to earn a living.

    What do you do when you return from Antarctica? Those of you have done it, did you think it was worth it? Does Raytheon offer work to you at all when you come back? What about those of you who return year after year to Antarctica (something I can see myself doing if given the opportunity)… what do you do to support yourselves while you’re back in the states?

    When I’m at home my time is split between enjoying life and trying to get back to the Ice. This is fairly normal for repeat offenders. Mother Raytheon doesn’t usually offer you work automatically, but you now have the inside edge at getting hired for another contract.

    Financially, the best situation is when you don’t have any expenses back home while you’re on the Ice. That way you get to keep everything you make and can live or travel in the off-season without responsibilities. As you might expect, this works well for the carefree 20-something backpacker set. It’s also a good way to pay off student loans or save for a house downpayment, as AC is doing.

    The house question is insightful. Five years ago I worked for an entire year on the Ice, saving everything, and then used it as a house downpayment. I don’t regret that, but having a house back home is a pain in the tukas unless you have someone trustworthy to take care of it. I tried renting it out with a property management company and it was still a huge headache. Now I have a caretaker/housesitter. I’m choking down the mortgage because I don’t have renters, but the peace of mind is worth it — and I didn’t have to move my belongings into storage.

    Bottom line: you’ll have to do the financial math for your own situation. I found that I really love having 3-6 months off every year, so I’ve structured my life to do this despite the severe financial hit. If I ever NPQ or decide I don’t want to go back, I’m not sure what I would do. 😯

    #8256

    thepooles98
    Keymaster

    The easiest way to do this is to be debt free. The house you can rent, but if you are saddled by umteen dollars a month on credit cards, etc. it’s time to pay them off and never use them again. Being debt free means that everything you make goes in the bank. All the money you would have spent on interest is yours to keep. After a year on the ice you can do as glenn and buy a house. or a car or a computer, or better yet buy nothing and travel to some exotic place that will awe your old friends.

    That being said, we just today put an offer on a piece of land in california. It fits our new lifestyle. No power, small cabin, near a fishing river. Debt, yuck, first time in 9 years. We wont be able to work there, but it will be a home when we need to return.
    Mike

    #8257

    Anonymous
    Member

    Life after the ice is GREAT! In my case, I’m making a lot more money, with none of the BS associated with working for Raytheon. Nobody reads my private emails, pokes and prods for non-existent medical problems, tells me to pee in a cup, etc.

    The food here (off the ice) is great! I can easily keep my cholesterol below 150 (it was 250 after I got off the ice, the highest ever) without subsisting on boiled veggies. I’m much healthier here.

    Everyone thinks “Wow, I’m going to Antarctica!”. But when you get there you realize that you’re stuck in McMurdo, an industrial looking naval base, and can’t really go anywhere. And that sucks.

    I suppose it didn’t really hurt me to go, but it sure made me appreciate what it feels like to work for a company that appreciates your efforts and doesn’t try to control your life.

    Life after the ice? Its AWESOME!

    Penelope Penguin

    #8258

    Anonymous
    Member

    Hi guys, insurance Q: So, when the job is over in Feb(?) can you qualify for Cobra, or what do you do for insurance?

    Thanks!

    #8259

    Sciencetech
    Keymaster

    Yup. I’m on COBRA right now, although I’m not sure I can recommend it. It’s really expensive.

    The best option, if you qualify and don’t need the heavy insurance, might be to get a catastrophic insurance plan with a high deductible ($1500-2500). Payments for those are often less than 200 a month. Compare that with COBRA, which is running $400+ a month.

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