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The world's greatest outdoor job?

3/20/2009

It was advertised as "The Best Job in the World."

Six months of island hopping off the coast of Queensland, Australia, exploring the 1,500 species of fish living in the Great Barrier Reef and blogging the experience. All that — if you can bear it — while earning a six-digit salary.

"The caretaker will be exploring the known and unknown of the Great Barrier Reef," said Shana Pereira Tourism Queensland Regional Director for the Americas. "The colors are so vivid and the landscapes are just gorgeous."

For Steven Rogers, one of the six applicants from the United States to make the top-50, it's the ultimate outdoor job. He was sitting in his office in Tyler, Texas when read the job description, with only a small window as his portal to the outdoors.

"From what I can tell, all they want you to do is go explore and tell people about it," Rogers said. "Snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, observing fish … I can only take this office for so long. This seems like my chance to get back outside in a job that allows me to experience nature."

Rogers spent three days making the 60 second video that the tourism department asked for as a resume from the 35,000 applicants. He said he wasn't surprised — because the job fit him so well — when he received an email asking him to take a personality test.

Then his video showed up as one of the top 50, and it became a voting game. The top vote getter (voting ends on Tuesday) receives and automatic invitation to the top 11, who will be flown to Australia for a more personal interview and tour of the reef.

"It's just been kind of a waiting game," said Rogers, who has appeared multiple times on the local news and had his video featured on CBS's Early Show.

The one consistent in his interviews and passion for the job has been the lure of the outdoors. Rogers has been on every continent except Australia, exploring, hiking and fishing salt and fresh water all over the world.

"I love the thought of exploring new places to see what's there," he said.
While it wasn't advertised as such, Pereira recognized the attraction of a job that includes exploring the largest coral reef system in the world and waking up with koalas.

"The job of the island caretaker will be to explore the Great Barrier Reef," she said. "It is very much going to be an outdoor experience."

To vote for Rogers or any of the other 50 finalists, go here.