Luck

A lot of people are quick to tell me how lucky I am, to have this opportunity. I’m lucky that I was born in the UK but nothing comes easy, I have faced many barriers along the way.

I’ve been asked how I got the opportunity to go to Antarctica?
I had an idea, I wanted to do something so far out of my comfort zone and I decided on Antarctica. I had no polar experience at the time.

I was starting from the beginning. I went onto google to look at different expeditions that had been done. Would I run, ski? I started following people on Instagram, reading their blogs and I learnt more and more.

I booked annual leave and completed a polar training course. It was not cheap and I was paying for the first year of my MSc at the same time so most of it went onto my credit card.

During summer leave, I was determined to get to Greenland. I had about 2 weeks to find a guide and borrow the kit and equipment I needed. As well as using all of my savings, it took me 6 months to pay off that expedition but it was worth it. It was a challenging trip but I learnt so much from it.

To find sponsors and supporters, I emailed 100’s of companies. I went through so many enquiry pages and don’t know how many were read. Most companies don’t reply, a lot say no and then eventually one company said yes. I was so happy, none of this would be possible without supporters.

It has been hard work to get this far and I’m so grateful for everybody that has come on board to support me. More information to follow on my supporters next week.

At every stage, I’ve had people look at me like I’m crazy, told me I can’t do it. But there are also the people that find it amazing and are inspired ❤️

These are only a few examples of my training for Antarctica. I have been using my annual leave to train, used all of my savings to get there because when you want something so much, you will do anything to get there.

Opportunities don’t come to your door step. Go out and find them. Take that first step

📸 this mornings run. Keep training hard 💪🏽

1000 miles together

We went into lockdown at the start of the year and I wanted to do something to bring people together. So I decided to create a challenge, the aim was to complete 1000 miles together. Anyone could join in and complete as many miles as they wanted over the month. Together we completed 1311.5 miles! Thank you so much to everybody that got involved, I love the videos and photos. As you can see from the video, people got creative, we have people running, walking, horse riding, skiing, kayaking and some fancy dress too.

I hope this challenge helped you as it definitely kept me motivated and shows how much we can achieve together. It may have just been a few miles to you, but you all contributed to this 1311.5 miles, well done everyone!

Lockdown has been tough and putting this video together took me ages (not one of my skills!) but also made me smile.

Don’t be afraid to stand out

I love birthdays and love to celebrate them. Training continued as normal but today I wanted to train in style therefore wore one of my gifts (the crown and sash). It was snowing today but I refused to substitute my crown for a hat.. priorities in order! 

I was asked if I feel self conscious wearing the crown, with people staring etc. I think that boat has passed, considering I drag a tyre around most of the time 😂

It also made me think about how many things we don’t do because we’re worried about what other people might think. Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, I’m sure I look crazy to some people but within that, there are the people that may be inspired. Maybe they see me and think about all the crazy things they can do too! 

Don’t let other people’s opinions hold you back and don’t be afraid to stand out.

Thank you to everyone that made my birthday weekend special ❤️

“There is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.” Amanda Gorman

It’s not always easy to see the light but it is there. I was feeling overloaded at the start of the year (MSc, work, buying a house, Exped planning etc) so I decided to create a challenge.. 

Why would I overload myself more might be the question you ask but I find myself more motivated when bringing people together. 

I decided to do 1000 miles together because I wanted to bring people together no matter where you are in the world, you can do as many miles as you want. I’ve had people send me some brilliant videos and photo and we’re already over 300 miles together.

Sometimes, just feeling like you’re contributing to something keeps you motivated. It does for me. 

Here is to being brave and taking one day at a time, together ❤️

📸 sunset in Greenland 

Representation Matters

I love this message (see image at the bottom of post). Emily is 10 yrs old and this message warmed my heart, thank you ❤️ kids really do say it how it is! 

Why does representation matter, why does it matter that I’m brown? These are questions I used to ask myself all the time. And then over time I’ve seen how people react to me, seeing an Indian female, either on my adventures or in uniform. I just think it’s normal but it’s really not to a lot of people.

The power of seeing someone that looks like you can change or shape how you view yourself. I want to show and tell you that the world is your oyster. There is so much you can do, let’s break down those barriers! 

Stereotypes

Don’t judge a book by its cover.

I’ve always loved travelling and being impulsive. The photos are from my last two birthdays. My 30th birthday (right) and my 31st birthday (left). For my 30th, I was in NYC with my best friend, we had cocktails and went to see a show. It was so lovely. I’ve been told the leather corset is not “appropriate” before but I love it. I’m still the same adventurous, crazy girl in this outfit.

For my 31st, I was on my way to Norway for my polar training course, all part of my training for Antarctica. Probably how you’ve seen me most of the time!

The truth is, I love both! I still love a good night out and can’t wait to go back to doing that. Doesn’t mean I love my adventures any less. You can literally be anything you want ❤️

I also love both looks!


Not married

The look I give people when they ask why I’m not married (see photo)….

It’s generally the first question I’m asked especially within the Indian community. Even an Asian taxi driver asked me when I was in Derby, he also thought it was appropriate to tell me I’m getting a bit old now 😂 and no I had never met him before that journey! 

I get so used to the question that I shrug it off most of the time. Guess how many of those people ask me about my career: 0

I’m not against marriage, I also don’t think it will be the most important thing in my life. Let’s appreciate and celebrate other achievements, career, hobbies, going to Antarctica etc! 

An “aunty” told my niece when she was five that we would have to find a “nice boy” for her. I held my tongue at the time and wish I didn’t. How about encouraging her to achieve her goals, travel, be whatever she wants.

Anyway, rant over! Anyone else get annoyed over these questions?

📸 from Greenland, trying to keep warm! In all my warm kit, a damp down sleeping bag, still wearing the hat the wrong way round and with Louis Rudd’s book to keep me company! 

Resilience

“Strength is what we gain from the madness we survive”

The last six days in Greenland were tough. Digging the tent out of snow every few hours, waking at 2am and getting out in the dark during a snow storm was an effort itself. I would get out on my hands and knees and feel for where the snow had built up and then dig for a few hours. It was relentless. 

Normally in a difficult situation, I know when it’s going to end. Just this distance left or this many days to go. We were expecting to be picked up by a helicopter, packed up everything, made a HLS outside and waited. It didn’t come, we called and they told us they couldn’t fly with the weather conditions. We were rationing fuel at this point, living conditions were uncomfortable. 

We would wake up in the middle of the night, cold, I was sleeping in all of my layers but everything was still a little bit damp. The next day, the heli still didn’t come. The heli came after spending six nights in the same spot, you can see our den from the photo. The tent was pretty buried in the snow at this point so it’s still there. Let me know if you want to visit and I’ll give you the coordinates.. 

Trip advisor review: cold and damp but definitely an experience I won’t forget 

I’ve learnt so much from the experience and it has just made me stronger and more determined. See you soon Antarctica!

Achievements

Getting my degree will always remain one of my biggest achievements. Only having a few GCSEs and no A-levels, I never felt very academic and was so nervous about getting a place at university. I got myself on an access course and was so excited when I got accepted at St George’s to study physiotherapy. 

I remember going through anatomy and physiology in the first few months, feeling like I was completely in over my head. I was overwhelmed, nervous that I wouldn’t understand it, surrounded by students that were so much smarter than me. It can be so difficult not to compare yourself to others. I did get it eventually and became the first person in my family to get my degree. And now I’m doing my MSc, I never would’ve believed this 10 years ago! 

I finished paying my student loan today. When I first went to uni, I was told I wouldn’t be able to do it on my own. I took a loan to pay for all of my accommodation etc and I did it. Fast forward 8 years and it’s paid off 😁

No matter how small or big, your achievements are achievements. Try not to compare yourself to others, easier said than done. But your journey is your own, nobody else’s. 

Frost Nip

Frost nip is a cold weather related injury and a mild form of frostbite. You can see the frost nip on the edge of my nose on the photo below as it was starting to heal. I had a fur hood on which was covering my face from the side wind (I thought it was anyway). We had high winds and it was -45deg with wind chill. The tip of my nose started to go a mild blue in the evening and eventually scabbed over as you can see. 

Different stages of frostbite effect the different layers of skin. Frost nip occurs when skin is exposed to extreme cold for a sustained period of time. This affected the superficial layer of my skin. If left untreated and further exposed to extreme cold, it can develop into frostbite. 

How did I treat it? It was difficult to not further expose my nose to cold conditions and I’m not a fan of having my mouth and nose constantly covered so I used k-tape to cover it. I would then warm up the frozen aloe Vera gel in the evenings in the tent and rub that onto my nose, drink warm water. I’d also warm up my hands on my hot water bottles before applying them to my nose!

What did I learn? To continue checking that my face isn’t exposed, especially when I’ll be out in Antarctica on my own..