No experience necessary.

By Marisa Spyker
January 23, 2019
Eleanor Church Lark Rise Pictures/Courtesy of eXXpedition

Calling all ladies: If you’re thinking of booking a girlfriend getaway for you and your gal pals this year, consider shelving plans for a spa or yoga weekend ‘til next year.

A group of female scientists are seeking applicants for a globe-trekking expedition that combines this year’s eco-conscious travel trend with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sail the high seas with an all-female crew. And the best part? You need not possess a Sylvia Earle-level of oceanic knowledge or even the faintest idea of how to sail. According to the EXXpedition website, ladies with all skills are wanted, from the teachers and cooks to the artists and filmmakers.  

Courtesy of eXXpedition

The Round the World trip, which kicks off in October from the U.K., is the brainchild of entrepreneur and ocean advocate Emily Penn, who founded eXXpedition as a way of studying and raising awareness of ocean pollutants and their effects on our health. The company’s inaugural voyage kicked off in 2014 with an all-female trek across the Atlantic, with subsequent sails studying the effects of ocean plastics in areas from the Caribbean to the Great Lakes.

Related: Meet 10 Heroes Helping to Save the Ocean: 

The Round the World trip, by far eXXpedition’s most ambitious project, will span two years and 38,000 nautical miles and enlist a rotating crew of 300 women. As part of the crew, each person will contribute to hands-on scientific research guided by on-board scientists as well as experts and environmentalists on land. Each of the voyage’s 30 legs will be unique in both route and research, with a focus on pollution impacts particular to each region.

The Situation Room/Courtesy of eXXpedition

Hopeful sailors can apply to join any one of the trip’s legs (five are accepting applications now for sails through the end of 2019, with more opening up later this year). Current sails range from four to 23 days, with the shortest expedition exploring islands in the Caribbean and the longest one crossing the Atlantic from the Azores to Antigua.

Sound like an epic girlfriend getaway? It absolutely is. Though, as Penn says, the ultimate intention of the sails are to gain a deeper understanding of the perils of plastics in our seas, and more importantly, the ways we can prevent it from getting there at all.  

“One of the things I’ve realized over the years is that this problem can’t just be solved at sea,” Penn told Robb Report. “While on the face of it we’re collecting science, which is very important to inform solutions, it’s also really key for the women on board who join us on these voyages to have that experience of collecting data themselves. They come to the same conclusion that if it’s nearly impossible to separate a piece of plastic from plankton using a microscope, how are the fish meant to manage it? It’s about prevention and stopping the plastic from getting out there in the first place.”