Meet The Team – Mariela

September, 2020 | Meet Our Polar Guides & Staff

The staff that make up the Polar Latitudes expedition and home teams are much more than a team – we are a tight knit family. Most of us voyage together year after year, sharing a deep love for Antarctica. We take immense pleasure in making sure your trip is one you’ll never forget, and are proud of how highly experienced and synced to our guests needs each staff member is.

Here’s a chance to get to know some of the members of our amazing team a little bit better.

Meet Mariela!

Mariela Cornejo

Name and Job: Mariela, Assistant Expedition Leader, Passenger Services Manager, and Purchasing Manager

From: Born and raised in Ushuaia, Argentina (the place where voyages to Antarctica begin)

What is your training background?

I am a Nutritionist by training, also studied Chemical Engineering, which of course automatically qualifies me to take you on a Zodiac cruise around the Polar regions. My true loves are nature, outdoors and sports, and we could say my field of study is “people”. 

What’s your favourite thing about Antarctica?

Antarctica puts everything in perspective. It’s powerful, humbling, healing. It feels like being on a different planet, and still deeply connected to the Earth. 

What is your favourite Antarctic animal?

This is a tough one! Minke whales. They can be extremely elusive, or super curious and fun! I had to wait for 4 seasons to finally have a close encounter with one of them.

What do you love about your job at PL?

The challenges of an ever changing scenario, the team work, being able to work from home and not having to commute increasing the environmental impact, the open communication and honesty between the members of the company. I love the support we offer to each other during tough times, the laughs, the long evenings enjoying “staff sunsets” at the stern of the ship, and staff movie nights!

What do you do to explore?

Head out to the mountains. No matter where in the world I am, I tend to choose places with some sort of elevated terrain. I like to hike to new places without following trails, see what I find on the way and how’s the view from the top. I also explore a lot using Google Earth, a really useful tool before heading into the unknown! 

What is your favourite place you have travelled?

It is Antarctica. No, I’m not kidding! Antarctica is different every time. It looks different, it feels different, it provokes something different in me, and so far, it has never been boring!

What was one thing you learned while in isolation during COVID?

That I am very lucky to be living in a place like Ushuaia, where I could still enjoy my own little piece of forest even during the months of strict lockdown. That we can be much more generous and empathic than what we think we are, that I live in a community of kind, caring, sympathetic people who helped each other transit through these very weird times. 

If you could explore anywhere right now, where would it be?

Svalbard. I would love to be in the Arctic watching walruses and polar bears, spending some good time with my staff friends!

If you could go to Antarctica with anyone, who would it be?

My brother. He is also my best friend; he hasn’t been to Antarctica yet and he loves mountains and ice as much as I do.