PUBLISHED: 11:14 AM on Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Barber packs her bags for Antarctica
Alana Hein said she loves to travel. In fact her goal is to visit each continent, and while some might think it's nearly impossible, Hein is making her dreams come true. The 24-year-old Juneau resident is off in about a month to Antarctica where she will live and work as a barber.

"I've been thinking about Antarctica for a while. It's the only one you can't just buy a plane ticket to and go," Hein said.

She said that while working at Franklin Street Barbers, a doctor came in for a haircut and announced he had been in Antarctica.

Photo by Amanda Gragert
  Alana Hein works at Franklin Street Barbers in Juneau. She will be leaving an about a month to work in Antarctica for six months.
His advice to Hein was to attend a job fair. With the only job fair being in Colorado, Hein ventured to Denver to find out if a barber was needed in the extreme south.

"I stood in line two hours to talk to someone. Barber is in the same category as janitor and janitor is the most popular job because there are no prerequisites. I talked to them and they seemed to like me," Hein said.

"I think being from Alaska might have helped in getting hired. I'm used to isolation and cold and darkness."

She said to prepare for the trip she had to undergo an extensive physical process and an online class to understand the technology of how things work in Antarctica. She will attend an orientation in New Zealand before spending six months in Antarctica.

"Most people aren't down there that long, but I'm going down when it's still winter and there are a lot more people there during the arctic summer," Hein said.

  Alana Hein
"It will also be cool to see the Southern lights. The sky in the southern hemisphere is supposed to be totally different."

In Juneau Hein works with her mother, Berni Hein, who is excited about the trip.

"She thinks it's awesome. If she could, she would come visit me, but we're not allowed to have visitors down there," Alana Hein said.

"She's really excited about it. She was sure I was going to get the job since I first heard about it. I wasn't sure, but she was sure."

She said she is feeling a bit of apprehension as the trip approaches, but she's ready for the challenge.

"It's getting a little scary the closer I get to it. I'm a little worried about the cold. I've never been anywhere that cold," Hein said.

"I trust they'll give me all my gear, but I'm slightly worried about weight limit. Besides our gear we get 45 pounds for six months and that's not a lot. It doesn't leave room for a lot of books."

She said she excited to see penguins.

" I really love penguins and how they just stand there with their arms out all of the time and they don't ever seem to get tired. I've never seen one outside the zoo or the aquarium so that's really exciting to me," Hein said.

"I heard they migrate right by the base there and it's like totally illegal to interfere with their migration patterns at all. So like if there's one on the runway where the penguins land, they can't shoo it away because that's their natural migration patterns so they have to wait however long, like days sometimes."

The 2001 Juneau-Douglas High School graduate will be spending her time in dorm-style living, rooming with three other people.

She said she expects to meet many people, especially through working 60 hours a week.

"I expect it will be a little what college is like when you just kind of arrive somewhere and you heard that it's good but you don't know who else is going to be there and you might know one other person," Hein said.

"I think a lot of other people will be there not knowing what's going on so it will be a good place to meet people."

After her trip to Antarctica, Hein said she needs to visit Australia and South America to complete her goal of going to every continent.

She hopes to visit Australia on her return trip in February.