- Phase 2 – day 15
Today felt like a very long day. But I also get to change my socks today which is very exciting. To clarify, I have socks that I ski in and socks that I sleep in. I change into my sleeping socks every evening and I’m changing my ski socks every 15 days. That’s a liner sock and a slightly thicker sock on top. I didn’t bring more socks because I had to think of every bit of weight for this journey and sock changing day is a treat.
I was listening to songs and was listening to Emmy Meli’s song ‘I am Woman’ and I could listen to that song on repeat – I am woman, I am fearless… I’m unbeatable, I’m creative… I am feminine, I am masculine, I am anything I want.
I love these words. How often are we expected to fit in a box and told what we should be. I am anything I want and so are you.
- Phase 2 – day 14
So today the winds died down a little bit which made a huge difference and I felt good today. It was good visibility too which meant I could look at my shadow to navigate instead of staring down at my compass all day.
When I first had this idea, I genuinely started playing the lottery every week because I thought there is no way I would manage to raise the funding required.
So on that note, this one goes out to all of my sponsors that come under Team Forces; Amey, Anaplan, Atkins, BMC Software, Be Military Fit, boxxe, Costain Group PLC, Dell Technologies, Fujitsu, Improbable Defence, Kromek Group PLC, Microsoft, Mitie, Punjab Covent Garden, Qioptiq, Salesforce, Sopra Steria, Shared Services Connected Ltd, Ultra Electronics Group and Veeam Software. It was such a pleasure to be able to meet people face to face at the launch event and I am so grateful for your support. I wouldn’t be here without you. Thank you so much.
- Phase 2 – day 13
Hi everyone. A very windy day today, received a weather warning that this evening would be around 60mph winds so I stopped a little early to secure my tent.
The Women in Defence awards took place yesterday, sadly I couldn’t make it. I was nominated for the Inspirational Award which is a real privilege and I have been told that I won. All I really ever wanted was to inspire others so this is incredibly special to me. It’s really tough to feel good about myself and i’m finding it tough, and it’s hard to be kind to myself. It’s really heartwarming to hear others have been inspired so thank you.
I was also told that I won the Woman of the Year Award and just wow. Thank you so very much.
This post is for all those that have inspired me. To all of those stepping outside of your comfort zone, you’re all winners.
- Phase 2 – day 12
Hi everyone. Low cloud again at the start of the day and then the sun came out later. So the wind is picking up, ALE have told me to expect a storm tomorrow. This means I will finish skiing earlier tomorrow to make sure I’m in the tent before the wind picks up.
I am working with Global Telesat Communications (@globaltelesatcomms) who have provided most of my communications kit, they are really important pieces of equipment that I carry for safety purposes and also to keep people up to date on my expedition. It is the same kit I used for my last expedition. I have a satellite phone and I use this to do my daily blog, I am currently leaving a voicemail and my partner, Dave, types it up every day on the website. My sister in law, Sonia, is then copying them onto my social media so I don’t actually see any messages until I’m back. I use my Iridium Go! to send photos back too when I can. Thank you so much GTC. I also use an InReach as a tracking device and I have 2 Garmin GPS devices where I have stored all of my waypoints and this is how I know my location and my bearings for my direction of travel.
(NOTE: If listening to the audio blog the audio cuts out at 1.08 today, please read the transcript above instead)
- Phase 2 – day 11
Hi everyone. I felt good as I was skiing today, good visibility. I have to remind myself not to push the hours to get more mileage as I am still travelling quite slowly, but I remind myself that I still have another 60 days to go as well.
To Col Chris Coats and Col Neil Wilson from Army Adventurous Training Group, you were the first people in the Military that supported me when a lot didn’t. From a lot of very long calls and even sending emails to help me from a hospital bed one day post op, your support has been invaluable.
Thank you so much.
- Phase 2 – day 10
Hi everyone on day 10. It’s been a pretty tough ten days so far. I’m moving slowly with my heavy pulk. Fell a few times today during the whiteout, no injuries, you just cant really see where your’e going when theres a whiteout. But it turned into low cloud later in the afternoon so I had a bit of visibility which was nice.
Today I get to announce another winner of the school competition. Congratulations to Evie-Rose who is in year 4 at St Mary Magdalen’s Catholic Primary School. Evie-Rose wrote some words that I want to share with you:
“It would be really special to see my logo on the pulk of the first woman to cross Antarctica solo (and unsupported) as this is very inspiring to me as a little girl. I put a lot of work and creativity into my logo. I think it is amazing to cross Antarctica and it would be cool if my logo could go on that journey with Preet. I drew her pulk because I wanted to show how she was able to bring all of her things in a small space and in cold snow weather. This is really impressive”.
Thank you so much Evie-Rose, I love this creative drawing of me with my pulk getting to the South Pole earlier this year. I love having your logo with me.
- Phase 2 – day 9
Hi everyone. Another tough day today. Very windy but getting through it step by step.
So I have trained with a range of companies this year, which is similar to how I trained for the first expedition. I found companies online or on social media who I wanted to thank. Thank you to Arc Guiding (@arc_guiding) for helping me train in Scotland earlier this year. Huge thank you to Chamex and to JP (@jp.bosch) and David Sanabria (@davidsanabria_mountainguide) for the training we did in the Alps and helping me get up Mont Blanc.
And to Sgt Gaz Mitchell who is a Royal Marines PTI for training me in the Alps as well. This year I wanted to get as much training as I could on glaciers to help me with the end of this expedition where I have to cross a glacier.
Thats all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 8
Hi everyone. Tough day today. The wind picked up in the afternoon and it took me a while to put the tent up. I’m in the tent now and I have had my dinner ready for another day. I don’t spend too much time focusing on how tough the day was. It was tough, and I got through it. I’ll do the same tomorrow and the next day.
So this post goes out to Team Forces. I want to say a huge thank you for all of your support. There are so many people from Team Forces helping me, from sponsors to so much more. I first connected with Maj Gen Lamont Kirkland in January 2021 on LinkedIn, at the time I was struggling to get people interested in my expedition and we have come such a huge way since then. Thank you for helping me and becoming a huge part of my team. To name a few members of the team, thank you Lt Col Tim Wakefield, Catharine Moss and Kerry Godley.
Thank you so so much for everything.
- Phase 2 – day 7
Hi everyone. On day seven today. There was soft snow on the ground today which made it tougher to drag my pulk. Routine is really important while I’m out here so I ski for an hour before having a ten minute break and continue that for the day. As soon as I have finished for the day I put my tent up, start melting snow so I can have some dinner, and when I have completed my admin I go to bed. So its a simple life really. It can be tough but its simple as well.
I wanted to tell you a little bit about my kit. I am working with Mountain Equipment, I am using pretty much all of the same kit that I used last year. I really like their polar jacket and salopettes and I’m using the same sleeping bag which is the Redline sleeping bag. Thank you Mountain Equipment.
Thats all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 6
Hi everyone. So not much wind today which was nice. There was low cloud so I couldn’t really see much in front of me. I wear a compass mount at all times to keep me going in the right direction. Keeping my hours steady and still feeling good.
So this goes out to my headline sponsor, Cognizant. Thank you so much for hosting the launch event before I left. One of their values is to ‘always strive, never settle’ and I think this is something I very much relate to. It is never easy to push outside your comfort zone but it amazing when you do.
Do something to step outside of your comfort zone, this could be anything. Take the first step and see how it feels. You may be amazed by what you’re capable of, I’m still learning what I’m capable of too.
To Cognizant, thank you so much for your support.
- Phase 2 – day 5
Hi everyone. So on day 5, not much wind today which was nice but after some low cloud it was then a whiteout for the day so I couldn’t really see anything. I am getting into my routine though and I am feeling good.
Today I wanted to talk about when I got back from my expedition earlier this year. So I struggled when I got back after my expedition at the start of this year, I got back to the UK around 14 Jan after completing phase one (700 miles solo to the South Pole). I got back to the UK and completed around three weeks of interviews before starting school talks. The talks were organised by the Army and involved travelling to Regions all over the UK. It was amazing to connect with so many young people but I also remember feeling that something wasn’t right. I was completing 3-5 talks a day including evening talks, I drove around 8000 miles in the 4 month period. I had breaks in the school holidays but I used these breaks to train for phase two of the expedition (which I’m on now). I felt as though I was drowning and I didn’t know how to get out. I would be fine during the talks and was able to smile for interviews but would often break down and cry after finishing for the evening.
During that time, I did not have the capacity to think about anything else, I know a lot of messages and emails have been unanswered, I was struggling to cope. I was also still in debt from phase one of the expedition until May this year.
I started to feel better in May, I started my new role and moved to Halton for my new Army role. I move every 2-3 years to my next Army posting. I work with a great team who I will talk about in another post. It has been tough training around work, it has often felt like I’ve had two full time jobs, work from 8 until 5, training and all of the expedition preparation around that, using any bit of leave I had to train. I’m grateful to be able to take a period of leave from the Army to do this expedition.
I’m talking about this because I want to be honest about my experiences, I know others have felt like they’re drowning but I also realised if you do feel that way, if you feel like you’re drowning and do not tell anybody, how will they know. So please talk to somebody.
Thats all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 4
Hi everyone, another slow and steady day. There’s a lot of incline in this first section so hoping to get past that bit tomorrow.
Today I wanted to talk about the RAMC. I have been in the Royal Army Medical Corps for over 10 years, I joined when I was 19 years old after seeing an advert in Derby city centre. I didn’t tell anybody in my family at the time because it was definitely not expected of me.
At the time, I had just started my access course, I wanted to do a degree in physiotherapy but had minimal GCSE’s so I did an access course to get onto the degree. I started in the Army Reserves and loved it, it opened up a whole different world to me. I stayed with the same Army unit when I got into University. I would get the train on a Friday from London to Leicester and then jump on a minibus to train in Scotland for the weekend before heading back to Uni on Sunday night. I was generally knackered by the end of the weekend but always felt that sense of achievement.
From joining as a private soldier to joining the Regulars and becoming an Officer, it has been a privilege to serve.
This blog post is going out to the RAMC Charity, thank you so much for your support.
In Arduis Fidelis.
- Phase 2 – day 3
Hi everyone, a bit of a rough day. There was a whiteout today soI couldn’t see anything in front of me which doesn’t help when you’re trying to ski around the sastrugi which are the wind shaped ridges. I can really feel the weight of my pulk but I know after each meal the pulk gets slightly lighter. I’m also taking it one day at a time.
So let’s start the school competition, winners will be announced every Wednesday. I had some amazing entries and it was tough choosing the winners. I have created all of the winning logos into stickers and they are on my pulk (sled). The image that is posted is today’s winner.
Darcey Wright is in year 9 at Broadland High Ormiston Academy. I asked students to write up to 100 words why their logo should be chosen and I wanted to share some of Darcey’s words with you:
“I took inspiration from the idea ‘nothing’s impossible’ that Preet has always used to be motivated to achieve great things.. I think that my logo will inspire others that they can push boundaries, achieve anything and never give up.”
Darcey, thank you so much, I love having your logo on my pulk and it is definitely making me feel inspired!
- Phase 2 – day 2
Hi everyone, so i’m on day 2. Its pretty cold at the moment and very windy, a lot colder and windier than when I started last year. But I started later in the season last year and I know the weather can be more tempremental early on. I can really feel my 120kg pulk. Going quite slow at the moment but i’ll gradually build up my mileage as my pulk gets lighter too and I just need to remember that I am doing this day after day so I dont want to do too many hours too soon.
Today I want to talk about the school competition I am running. I really wanted to bring people along with me on this expedition so I decided to create a school competition. The competition involved schools creating a logo that could go onto my pulk (my sled), thank you so much to the schools that got involved, it was really difficult picking 11 winners.
The competition was not run through any organisation, it was just an idea that I had and I want to thank all of the amazing people that offered to help me and spread the word in their Regions. A huge thank you to my future sister in law, Rachael Jarman for helping manage the entries.
I will be announcing the first winner starting from tomorrow and then ill announce each winner every week. I have created all the winning logos into stickers and they look amazing on my Pulk.
Thats all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – the start (day 1)
Hi Everyone. I’ve started the expedition. I spent a day in Union Glacier when I got here with ALE at their camp before being dropped at my start point this evening. It’s very windy outside but I’m glad I’ve started. I’ll be doing daily blogs while I’m on the ice and I’d like to dedicate each day to those who have helped me along the way.
So today I want to dedicate this blog to my Baba ji (my grandad). He passed away a few years ago now but lived until he was almost 100 years old. He raised me when I was younger, My memories of him are him walking me to school which was literally across the road and he used to eat chyawanprash every evening. He would sometimes let me have a little, I loved the sweet taste of it.
A lot of the time in our community, girls and women are seen as less than boys/men but he never made me feel that way. To my Baba Ji, just like you did last time, I hope you are watching down on me again. That is all for tonight.
- One step closer to the ice
This is a pretty cool ticket 🇦🇶
On my way to the airport in Punta Arenas, aiming to fly to Antarctica today. I’ll be flying into Union Glacier, this is where Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions have a camp setup with a lot of amazing staff to help me set off on the ice safely. I will collect my fuel here, complete my final comms checks before heading on a 30 minute flight to my start point (Hercules Inlet).
See you in a few months!
- Antarctic Crossings 🇦🇶
Great connecting with the amazing expeditions crossing Antarctica this season.
@spiritlivesantarctica (Emily Chapman, Vincent Carlsen, Jack Forbes, Sean Taylor, Kelly Kavanagh, Tim Geronimo) are six members of the Australian Defence Force skiing over 1700km from Hercules Inlet to the Reedy Glacier 💪🏽
@antarctica2023 (Gareth Andrews and Richard Stephenson) are skiing 2023km from Berkner Island to the Ross Ice Shelf which will be the longest unsupported ski crossing of Antarctica 💪🏽
And then there is me heading from Hercules Inlet to Reedy Glacier which will be the first female solo unsupported crossing 🙌🏽
All expeditions are using @zerosixzero mapping so you can follow our journeys.
@ericphillips has ascended Reedy Glacier twice and provided some really useful information about his routes. Thank you Eric!
What an awesome group to be part of. We’re unlikely to see each other during the expedition but potentially at the end 🎿
Hoping to fly out tomorrow!
From left to right: Richard, Gareth, Jack, Me, Kelly, Vincent, Sean, Emily, Tim
- Flight Delays
My expected flight date to Union Glacier, Antarctica was 5 Nov but there was snow on the runway and some bad weather. Delays are generally expected with the flights especially early in the season. I planned for the flights to be delayed so I haven’t felt any frustration at all. Focus on what you can control, I’m focusing on my upcoming expedition and excited to get started.
Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions are keeping me updated daily on the weather situation and the flight will be on as soon as there is a good weather window.
Meanwhile, my packing is complete and hopefully there will be a good weather window soon ✈️ 🇦🇶
I have put all the winning logos for the school competition on my pulk. They look AMAZING, I can’t wait to announce the winners weekly when I start the exped!
📸 Evening walk in Punta Arenas enjoying the beautiful view.
The final bits of preparation.
I have been in Punta Arenas, Chile for 5 days now and have been doing the last bits of preparation. I sent my kit in boxes out by air freight a month ago and was reunited with them when I got here. The boxes contained all of my food and most of my kit. I booked an apartment here so I had space for all of my kit and a kitchen to prepare my food.
The food takes a while to pack, I haven’t left the apartment much since I have been here. I have emptied all of my food from its original packaging, cut the snacks into smaller bite sized pieces. 73 days of food has now been packed. All of the empty food bags will be carried with me for the duration of the expedition.
I have tested my communications kit and set up my harness and stove systems. I have put the first sticker on my pulk (sled), Simran (named after my niece) and the stickers on my skis are named after my nephews (Karanveer and Arjan). I’ll be putting on the school competition winner stickers on my pulk today too (the winners will be announced each week when I’m on the ice)
We’re almost ready to go! The flight to Antarctica is weather dependent, should be leaving in the next few days 🙌🏽
- Leaving the uk
I was going to start this off with it has been a busy week but it has been a busy few years since I first had this idea.
I’m so excited to start and so grateful for all of your supportive messages. I haven’t been the best at responding to messages over the last few months (or probably the last year).. it has been a busy one.. but the training, the stress, the sacrifices are all worth it.
I believe if you really want something, you will do anything you can do get there.
As I’ll be offline for a few months, I’ve spent the last week, sending my last work emails, turning my out of office on, making sure all my bills are paid before I go. You want all your life admin done before leaving. I don’t want to be thinking about my car insurance while I’m on the ice!
I will shortly be on route to Chile where I will meet my air freight (my pulk, food, equipment – I sent this out at the beginning of the month).
It feels good to be on route. My daily blogs will be posted by my partner, Dave and sister in law, Sonia. I’m so excited to take you on this journey with me.
It is important for me to be honest about my experiences. The good and the not so good ones. I talked openly about my mental health in my last post and it is something I want to encourage, to be able to talk openly.
I still feel a little nervous when I write posts like that, worried that is sounds like I’m complaining. Thank you for all of your messages, they remind me we are not alone 💜
So often, we’ve been encouraged to say the “right thing” and look the “right way.” This meant for years I was trying to be somebody I wasn’t, in order to fit other peoples expectations.
It took me a while to get out of this, to be honest and real. I don’t believe anybody’s life is perfect, I think we all have our ups and downs.
I’ll be leaving the UK in less than two weeks to start my journey to Antarctica. There have been tough times to get here but I made it this far. I don’t always remember to look back and reflect. But I know for a fact my 15 year old self would be amazed at where we are now. Not just my 15 year old self, but my also 20, 25 and so on!
I’m so proud of myself. It feels strange writing that because I don’t say it very often but it is true. Take a minute and give yourself a pat on the back for your achievements. However tough it’s gotten for you, you are reading this now and you made it through.
We have the power to face anything in front of us.
📸 laughing but also wanted a more secure place to stop on the multi pitch climb
- Mental Health Awareness
I struggled quite a lot when I got back from Antarctica. There were some difficult times on the ice too, it’s physically hard but I found it mentally much tougher. In my darkest moments on the ice, I would concentrate on the smallest things, putting one foot in front of the other. Watching my left ski move forward and then my right.
At times my mind felt like a prison, I struggled to get past frustrations. I thought it would get easier when I got off the ice but it didn’t. When I got back to Chile in the early hours of the morning, I received all the messages from the last two months. A lot of amazing positive messages but also from those that had made it harder for me. When the same people claimed to have helped me or wanted to take credit, I struggled with my frustration.
I remember not being able to sleep. It was my first time in a bed for two months, it was around 3am and I just couldn’t sleep. My mind felt so busy and I couldn’t get away from it.
When I got back to the UK, I spent a few hours at the airport conducting interviews and then interviews for 3 weeks before starting a school talking tour.
18,000 students, 8000 miles over four months. I love talking to students but I was also exhausted. I did have breaks in the school holidays, I used these breaks to train for phase two.
I would complete 3-5 talks a day all over the UK. I was fine during the talks but not so great afterward. I felt like something was wrong with me, like I was going to fall apart. I felt as though I was drowning. It took me until around May this year until I started feeling like myself again. Making any other plans seemed like it was too much. The school talks finished on a Wednesday and five days later, I moved to my new Army role and new location in Aylesbury.
Sometimes it is difficult to see that light when there is this huge cloud in your mind. But it is there. I found breaking things down into smaller chunks helped me. Focusing on just one thing at a time.
📸 training in Scotland in April during the Easter Holidays – taking it one step at a time.
- School Competition
I always wanted to bring people with me on this expedition. Sadly, it wouldn’t be solo if I had people with me on the ice! But it was always about more than me.. so I decided to create a school competition and I plan to take the winning logos on my pulk (sled).
Sometimes when I have an idea, I feel as though I’m just creating more work for myself! That is true but if it is something I’m passionate about, I’ll do it anyway and this is an idea I was really excited about. I get to take logos created by young people all over the word with me and yes I have thought about the additional weight and it’s worth it.
It is not being run through any organisation, just me and the amazing people that offered to help. We are still accepting logos from schools – this is open to schools all over the world. I have extended the deadline until 13 Oct.
All the details are under school competition on the website. One entry per school – I’ll create the winning logos into stickers and have them on my pulk. I will be taking 7-8 stickers from all over the world and will announce the winners while I’m on the ice.
We have had some amazing submissions so far. I want to get as many people involved as possible – this is open to schools all over the world. If you are between the ages of 4 – 16 but do not go to school, your submission will be accepted.
📸 A week of leave taken to complete some training in Chamonix earlier this year. This photo was taken on the way down from Mont Blanc.
So much packing! In these boxes, I have 75 days of food and the majority of my kit and equipment. The boxes will be sent to Punta Arenas, Chile and I will meet them there in 3 weeks. I will then spend a week in Chile completing final preparation before flying to Antarctica 🇦🇶
I counted my freeze dried food (supplied by basecampfood) and every bit of kit numerous times, making sure I have everything I need. I rented a van from Enterprise, sent my boxes via air freight and said goodbye to my kit 👋🏾
The starting weight of my pulk (sled) will be approximately 120kg. My pulk will be meeting me in Punta Arenas too.
Look forward to being reunited with my kit 🎿
📸 Feeling tired. Long nights packing all of this up 🙂
It’s often difficult to fit in everything we want so we prioritise. My priority right now is the expedition, not just the journey on the ice but everything else that I want to bring with it. I’m really excited to be bringing young people on the journey with me through the school competition I’m running (https://polarpreet.com/school-competition/). I’m also conducing research with Ultra Sports Science and raising money for charity with Khalsa Aid.
Time is precious. I work in my Army role from 0800 – 1700, this is my main job as a physiotherapist. I’ll be taking a period of leave from the Army to conduct the expedition.
I use all of my spare time to prepare for the expedition and I often feel like I have two jobs. I train in the mornings before work and will fit in meetings at lunch or after work. Waking up every morning to train before work is hard, I wake up even when I’m not motivated to do so.. because what I’m working toward is that important.
It is busy and I don’t have time for anything outside of the expedition prep and work. I think when we are training or working toward something important, it is ok to focus on that one thing.
It’s taken a lot to get here and I’m excited to take as many people as possible on this journey with me.
- DERBY UNIVERSITY
What a privilege to receive my Honorary Masters from Derby Univeristy and to be able to address the Graduates of 2022. I loved being part of the ceremony.
I’m sure the Graduates were faced with some tough times to get to this point, it has been a difficult few years. Getting through those tough times is no easy feat. What an incredible achievement. Congratulations 👏🏽
Over 10 years ago, I completed my Access Course at Derby Univeristy. I did not come out of school with many GCSEs or have A-levels, I never felt very academic. I always remember being told that I wouldn’t be able to get onto my Degree course but I went on to become the first person in my family to get a Degree. Graduating from University as a physiotherapist in 2012 remains one of my greatest achievements.
It is hard to do something when you’ve been told you can’t, it is hard to believe in yourself. BUT we can do it. My future and your future is yet to be written and we can achieve anything we want with that future. We can achieve anything we want with the right mindset.
I didn’t get a chance to go to my Graduation ceremony in January for completing my Masters as I was still in Antarctica. Being able to go now in my home town was perfect.
With training and planning for phase 2 and my full time job, I don’t often stop and celebrate my achievements. These days are so special.
📸 with my big brothers
- Solo and unsupported
Solo and Unsupported – what does this actually mean?
It is important to me to be open about my experience and be relatable. Yes it was tough to get to Antarctica but it is also achievable.
Solo – I am on my own. This was the case for phase one (700 miles to the South Pole) and will be the same for phase two (1000+ miles across Antarctcia).
Unsupported – this means that I do not pick up any resupplies on route. The biggest weight is the food and fuel so it means that my pulk (sled) is heavy to start with (approx 120kg for phase 2). The pulk does get lighter as I’m using the food and fuel but to be honest, it didn’t feel like it got any lighter last year!
I carry everything I need with me from the beginning and if anything breaks, I would try to repair it on route.
Unsupported doesn’t mean that I’m completely “off grid.” I have Comms with Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE) daily. Each day I would speak to them on my satellite phone – this is a safety check in too.
I would also leave a voicemail daily – this was my blog. My partner (David) and sister in law (Sonia) would listen to the voicemail and Dave would type it out on my social media and website. I did not have access to the internet and couldn’t see any comments on these posts until I flew back to Chile. The blogs were so precious to me, it was my way of bringing you on the journey with me and I can’t tell you how much it meant seeing all the comments and support when I got back 💜
The maps on my website were created by ZeroSixZero, they were amazing and I still think it is so incredible that you can click on the map and hear me speaking from Antarctica!
I plan to use the same system that I did for phase 2 later this year.
I’m doing so many things now that I wouldn’t have thought I was capable of even 5 years ago.. don’t limit yourself. You never know what you could be capable of..
- Phase 2
My aim is to complete a solo and unsupported crossing of Antarctica. This involves me travelling over 1000 miles, pulling a pulk (sledge) with all of my kit, battling temperatures of up to -50c and wind speeds of up to 60mph. This journey will take approximately 75 days. This expedition will make me the first female to complete a solo and unsupported crossing of the continent.
Three years ago, as I was learning about Antarctica, I decided I wanted to do a crossing of the continent. I did not put my application into Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE) immediately because I knew I didn’t have enough experience. ALE are the company that allow expeditions like this to take place, they are the logistical and medical support while I’m on the ice and so much more!
After a year of training and completing expeditions in Norway and Greenland, I put my application in to ALE. A few weeks later, I received an email and my application had been rejected, I still did not have enough experience. To be honest, I felt deflated. It is never nice to have any kind of rejection. What could I do to gain the experience that was required? I created phase 1 (a 700 mile solo expedition to the South Pole). Phase one was completed on 3 Jan 2022.
I put in my application for the crossing once again to ALE for the crossing and it was approved a few weeks ago. When I look back, I’m glad it was rejected the first time around, the reality is that I did not have the required experience at the time. A No or rejection does not have to be the end of your story or a final answer, it can be an opportunity. I now have the additional training and experience to attempt the crossing I will be taking a few months of leave from the Army at the end of the year to conduct the expedition.
Why did I go to Antarctica in the first place and why am I going back? I wanted to show that no matter where we are from, no matter what we look like, we can achieve anything we want. I want to inspire others to push their boundaries and encourage them to believe in themselves. I want to break that glass ceiling,
A huge thank you to the sponsors on board so far, your support means so much. I am still looking for sponsors that would like to be involved. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to come on board.
I took a week off work to go and climb some mountains 🏔 So good to be back in Chamonix.
Made it up to Gran Paridiso Summit 4061m and Mont Blanc 4807m with a great team. I love being outside, it gives me a sense of freedom. I haven’t done much mountaineering before but learnt from our amazing guides during the week. We were roped up with crampons and an ice axe and helmet.
We could pack relatively light on the summit days and leave kit in the hostels. I carried a sleeping bag liner and they had blankets at the hostel.
0400 start in the morning for Gran Paradiso, I quite like the early morning starts, not when I first have to wake up but when I’m outside in the dark with my head torch knowing a new adventure is about to begin.
We had a mixture of rain, sun and snow for Gran Paradiso and some strong winds for Mont Blanc but made it safely to the top.
Thank you to David Sanabria and Juan Pablo Bosch for a great week. I could definitely feel my quad muscles on the way down the mountain.
Perfect training trip for my next expedition (to be announced very soon..)
- Financial stability
I have been asked by quite a few people if I made money from this expedition. The short answer: no..
The slightly longer answer… I put everything I had into the cost of the training and expedition and I’m still paying off this debt since I have been back. I have absolutely no regrets at all, this expedition was so important to me and it is heartwarming to hear that people were inspired. I also think it’s important to be honest about my experiences.
I have been asked if I’m a millionaire a few times too. One website even suggests I’m worth 3 million 😂They should see my bank accounts!
Financial stability has always been important to me, joining the Army Reserves when I was 19 helped me with that. I had student loans, bursaries and money I was earning from the Reserves to help me through University.
I was saving for a house for a few years and then decided to pick quite an expensive interest… I struggled to gain interest and sponsors on board for my Antarctic expedition for a while and decided to use my house and life savings to go on a training trip to Greenland, a trip I didn’t fully pay off until 5 Nov 21, I flew to Chile for Antarctica on 7 Nov 21. I did get corporate sponsors on board for the Antarctic expedition, I would not have been able to afford the expedition without them.
I also bought a house last year taking full advantage of the Help To Buy scheme. I didn’t get funding for my MSc so also paid this off before I left.
I’m still paying a huge cost of this expedition off and it has been difficult. I struggled when I came back with the amount of talks, driving and trying to sort my life/finances out.
Just before I left, my expedition became an Army expedition. This means I didn’t have to take any leave and my role when I came back has been with the Army engagement team.
Since I have returned, my role in the Army has been doing school talks all over the UK. I’m still being paid in my Army role but the talks are not paid. I have reached over 15000 students over the last 3 months which is amazing. I do love talking to people and it has been rewarding. It has also been exhausting. 3-5 talks a day in different regions of the UK. I think it’s ok to acknowledge although something is positive, it has also been difficult.
If you’re drowning and don’t tell anybody how will they know? I come alive when I talk, I can smile and do interviews. It is the in between that has been the struggle.
I’ve started to put boundaries in place which has helped me. I’m completing my last set of Army talks this week and will be back to my full time job. I’m working out a plan to help me with my finances and I definitely see the light.
It’s ok to talk about the struggles, it doesn’t make you weak, I think it makes you stronger. I’m acknowledging my struggles and making a plan to move forward.
I recently became the first woman of colour to complete a solo expedition in Antarctica. It was incredible seeing all of the Media when I got back to the UK on 14 Jan. On most mainstream Media channels, I saw a lot of comments questioning why the colour of my skin was even mentioned. I saw comments such as “Why does it matter” and “We’re all equal”
To me, equality never meant we’re all the same or ignoring our differences. After all, nobody seemed to have an issue with me being described as British or an Army Officer. Are these not also differences? To me, equality is about embracing our differences. I’m proud of the colour of my skin, it is important to me, as is my culture and my heritage.
I haven’t always been proud and it’s so important to me that I’m finally here. I want others to be proud of their differences. We are all unique. I had the voices of authors from different backgrounds with me in Antarctica and I felt so proud having them with me. They got me through some tough days. I thought to myself I’m not alone.
Some of my audio books:
The Good Immigrant (UK and US version) Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman
Brown Baby – Nikesh Shukla
The Corner Shop – Babita Sharma
The Right Sort of Girl – Anita Rani
It’s Not About the Burqa – Mariam Khan
I am Malala – Malala Yousafzai
Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? – Mindy Kaling
It was absolute privilege having your voices with me.
I’m already making a list of audio books I want to take on my next adventure.
📷 26 Dec 21 on the ice
- Keeping up
I have been talking at schools all over the UK over the last six weeks and have reached approximately over 5000 students and young people so far. Each week has been spent in a different region and consisted of day and evening talks. I have been travelling to schools in Northern Ireland, the South East, Bristol, Scotland and East Midlands.
One of the best comments I recieved was ‘I really enjoyed your talk because you can tell you want to be here.. and you’re not just here because your company made you come.’
I love doing the talks and reaching so many young people. I’m also tired, it has been pretty non stop since I have been back and I’ve been finding it difficult to keep up.
I’m not committing to many more talks this year and I feel a bit of relief in writing that. It’s ok to say no and that is what I’ve been doing a lot more. I know I have a lot of emails and messages that I haven’t read or responded to. I’m just trying to focus on one thing at a time and that is currently doing the school talks until May and then I’ll be back in my full time role as a physiotherapist 🙂
I want to clarify that I LOVE talking to young people. I want to inspire the next generation and I’m continuing with my current commitments.
- “At the root of most fear is what other people will think of us”
We can care so much about what others think, that we often put that above what we want and need. When we do something different, something new, there are generally always objections. Loud objections. What is seen now as success, was looked down on. We often lack the ability or the willingness to see that their objections are just a hump that must be gotten over.
So many people are really proud of me now and that is honestly incredible. From my community, for the 2.5 years I was training, there were the naysayers, the people that showed no interest and those that didn’t really understand what I was doing. Those from the community who genuinely supported and encouraged me were few. The most important thing is that you believe in yourself. The one person’s belief in me that really mattered, was my own, and thankfully that remained regardless of the naysayers.
I really hope that when the next person says their ambition out loud (which could be anything they want), that the same community can encourage them to push their boundaries. Let’s continue to learn and encourage others not keep them inside any box or lane.
Let’s get over all of those humps together 🙌🏾
Inspired by a chapter from a book called Courage is Calling. Thanks Jag Chandi
What an incredible homecoming event. Thank you so much to Mitie for hosting the event. I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to seeing my face and videos of me on big screens!
I have been asked how it feels to be in the media and to be honest, it all still feels a bit surreal. But I’m also glad it has come at this time in my life. My confidence has grown through this journey and I feel more comfortable in who I am. I want to be as honest and real as possible about how I got to Antarctcia. I found it tough to get to that start line but it is achievable. It is so easy to look at the end result, I made it to the South Pole but the journey to get there is important to remember.
I had this idea over 2.5 years ago, I didn’t know anything about the polar world at the time. I wanted to do something that would push my boundaries and hopefully inspire others to do the same. I used all my leave for training trips, my life savings, with some training trips taking me over 6 months to pay back in installments. I would email 10-15 companies in the evenings after work trying to get sponsors. Most wouldn’t respond and when they did, they couldn’t commit due to COVID. I felt overwhelmed at times while trying to train, being a COVID vaccinator, completing my MSc, looking for sponsors and trying to buy my first house. I remember just sometimes sitting in my partner’s kitchen and I just wanted to cry because it was just too much.
But I persisted. My first big sponsor came on board 10 months before the expedition. I can’t even explain how much this meant to me. I had unpaid leave approved at the same time. I felt as though I was getting closer. About six months before the expedition, I had the opportunity to do it through the Army and I’m very grateful for that.
I used everything I had to get there, I was well into my credit card when I left for Antarctica and have just paid it off since being back 🙌🏾
It was hard work but when I had tough times during the expedition, I reminded myself of how much it took to get to the start line. This helped me. If I worked so hard to get here, I could get through the tough days and make it to the South Pole.
It’s incredible to have all the support and the following on social media too. I don’t think I’ll ever manage to respond to all of the messages and comments.. I will be as honest and real as I can about my experiences. I’m continuing to learn, grow and will continue to push my boundaries.
It is so good to be home. I had such an amazing welcome at the airport. We had a slight delay so I was pretty much running out of the terminal to make it in time for the live interview. I think everybody had to wait for over an hour for me so thank you!
It is the simple things that you miss while on an expedition.. sitting on a toilet seat, sleeping in a bed, having a coke zero (it had to be added to the list…). I spent the weekend sleeping a lot, seeing family and eating. It’s nice to sleep when it’s dark (I had an incredible 24hrs of daylight in Antarctica).
I have honestly never had so many messages and emails and I’m just starting to make my way through them. It’s heartwarming to see all the comments on the posts when I was on the ice and I want to thank everyone for their support. I learnt a lot from the expedition and the 2 and a half years it took me to get to the start line. I’m still learning how capable I am and I hope I can help so many more people realise how capable they are too.
- Day 40 – Finished
Preet has just made history becoming the first woman of colour to complete a solo expedition in Antartica. She completed the 700 miles in only 40 days.
Hello everyone, checking in from day 40. I made it to the South Pole where its snowing. Feeling so many emotions right now. I knew nothing about the polar world three years ago and it feels so surreal to finally be here. It was tough getting here and I want to thank everybody for their support.
This expedition was always about so much more than me. I want to encourage people to push their boundaries and to believe in themselves, and I want you to be able to do it without being labelled a rebel. I have been told no on many occasions and told to “just do the normal thing”, but we create our own normal. You are capable of anything you want. No-matter where you are from or where your start line is, everybody starts somewhere. I dont want to just break the glass ceiling, I want to smash it into a million pieces.
Whos with me?
- Day 39
Hi everyone. Apologies for not doing my audio blog over the last few days. It has been a long few days but I’m doing well and I’m super close now as well. So, the weather can change so quickly here, it was so cold yesterday, I think about minus 45 degrees with wind chill and then in the afternoon there was hardly any wind at all which was amazing.
It definitely feels colder in the last degree where I’m at higher altitude. I haven’t seen anyone here in the last degree and now I’m 15 nautical miles from the south pole. I cant believe I’m almost there.
This blog goes out to some of my friends. My friends are basically like family to me. I call them when I’m travelling. I have a room at each of their houses. I know their families and they are people that I know will always be in my life. I read somewhere that when you ask people to be your bridesmaids its nice to do it in a special way, so all the way from Antarctica I would love nothing more than for you to be my bridesmaids. Sonia Chandi, Rachel Tucker-Norton, Kamal Dhamrait, Tig Bridge, Hannah Sawford (or Hannah Smith now) and Collette Davey. I love you all and would love you to be my bridesmaids. I think at least three hen do’s are required. That’s normal right? But even if its not normal that’s never been anything to stop me.
That’s all for tonight. I’ll check in tomorrow. Bye.
- Day 36
Hi everyone, I made it to the last degree. So I’m on the final 60 nautical miles which is a big milestone. I might even see other people soon as there are a few last degree expeditions going on. I had a long day, just under 20 hours. Its 24 hour daylight but it suddenly gets a lot colder when there’s cloud cover or a whiteout which is what I had for a few hours.
This post goes out to Hannah McKeand (@hannahmckeand), Devon McDermitt (@mcddevo) and Denise Martin. The first polar course I did was Hannah’s Polar Expedition Training course (@polarexpeditiontraining) in Norway in Finse in Feb 2020 and it gave me a fantastic baseline, I learned a lot from the course and some really great instructors. So thankyou very much. I’ve learned from some really amazing people which has really helped me while I’m out here.
Ok, wish me luck for the last degree. That’s all for tonight.
- Day 35
Hi everyone, its getting colder now and I can definitely feel it. The Sastrugi’s a lot lighter now which is great. As of tomorrow I’ve decided *coughing* . . . every time I speak I start coughing and obviously I’m not speaking much which is why you always hear me coughing on the phone. So, as of tomorrow I’ve decided I’m going to pretend as though I’ve just started, I’m fresh, and I’ve got around 5 or so days to go. Just a different way of breaking it up and I’ve done 5 day events and races and things before so no problem at all.
This blog goes out to a few companies who have been so helpful over the last few months and gone out of their way to help me with my kit and preparation. Thank you so much to Jon at The Piste Office (@thepisteoffice), everyone working at Needles in Derby City Centre and Nigel from Prestige Embroidery. Nigel tells me he has no social media so if you know him, please make sure he listens to this blog, thank you very much!
- Day 34
Feeling much better than yesterday and had a well needed sleep. Visibility was good today too which is always nice. Overall I’m doing ok. Im tired but each day I’m getting closer to the south pole and I’m also getting closer to having a coke zero which I’m very excited about.
This blog goes out to Pete Swaile (@peteswaile) who has been helping me with my specific strength training for the last few months. I just want to say thank you so much Pete, I definitely felt stronger and definitely been a huge help out here as well.
Ok, thats all for tonight.
- Day 33
Hi everyone. Day 33. I hope everyone had a good Christmas. Today felt like one of my hardest days. Not because of the terrain, as the Sastrugi are getting smaller and I had good visibility as well. But I havent been sleeping a huge amount and I think thats caught up to me.
I was sick a few times today which is actually just annoying because you dont want to take your facemask off and on top of that I also had diarrhea today. Really not what you want when you’re out here. So I had a shorter day, so I’m going to get a good sleep tonight before tackling tomorrow.
This post goes out to Are Johansen (@arejohansen) who was my guide when I trained in Greenland last year. It was a tough trip on so many levels, financially, physically, mentally and I learnt so much from it. Thank you Are for all of your support and advice. When I’m having a tough time out here, I think to myself ‘At least I’m not tent bound stuck in a storm for 6 days!’
Thats all for tonight.
- Day 32
I genuinely wouldnt know what day it was if I didn’t do a daily blog. They kind of merge into one and the days feel like they are getting longer. I’m feeling pretty tired and I’m also getting closer to the pole. There was low cloud today, when you really struggle to see the ground, but otherwise all good. Thinking about getting to the south pole now! Still concentrating on each degree at a time.
Merry Christmas from Antarctica!
This post goes out to all of my family, I hope you have a great day and that you have a cardboard cut out of me at the table, which I think is a totally reasonable request. I always quite liked the simple things around Christmas, like my mum usually makes me tandoori chicken so I’m looking forward to that when I’m back!
I hope everyone has a lovely christmas and I look forward to seeing everyone when im back. Thats all for tonight.
- Day 31
Hi Everyone. Still making my way through the Sastrugi. Visibility was good which is helpful. Its going slow through this section, around 30mph winds today. It’s also getting colder which means I dont stop for as long on the breaks. I’m feeling ok, a bit tired.
I would like to dedicate this post to Nics Wetherill who is an Army Doctor and has helped me with all of the medical planning for this expedition. Thank you so much for all of your help.
I’m doing well so far, obviously I’ve got a cough which you can hear. But I’ve had that since the beginning pretty much. I’m a bit tired but I’m getting closer to the south pole so I am looking forward to that. I hope everybody’s enjoying listening to these voice messages.
That’s all for tonight.
- Day 30
Hi Everyone on day 30. This morning was really tough, it was a whiteout, I’m still in the section with a lot of Sastrugi. I fell a few times (nothing serious) and I had to use my arms to pull the pulk out from the deep Sastrugi areas. They can get to a few meters high so when its a whiteout and you cant see you’re stepping very carefully.
I’m still making good progress though, I’m feeling tired by that’s to be expected and I’m still thinking about that coke zero at the end.
Every 10 days I’m celebrating something as I open up a new bag and today I am celebrating my engagement! I got engaged a few weeks before leaving the UK! It has been such a whirlwind that I didn’t get to celebrate. And on that note, this blog goes out to my partner, David who has been waking up every morning in the early hours every morning for my check-in call while on this expedition. Dave is quite simply my rock.
That’s all for tonight. Thanks very much.
- Day 29
Hi Everyone. So the terrain is pretty similar to the last few days. Lots of Sastrugi, uphill and headwind. Still lots and lots of uphill. At one point I was daydreaming about how it would feel going the other way with the wind behind me.
I’m doing ok so far. Bit tired. Feels strange to have been alone for 29 days, its funny I thought id feel more lonely but to be honest I felt much more lonely as a teenager living away and playing a sport full time I wasn’t enjoying.
Maybe while I’m here its because I know I have a lot of people supporting me or because I know it’s about much more than me. I also have my precious voice notes from my friends that I listen to on tough days. I never have much downtime, I’m quite enjoying my audiobooks as well as I’m going.
This is for my grandma (my Nani Ji) who is always ready to make me food no matter how quickly I’m passing through Derby. She gave me some money for Christmas before I left and told me to buy myself something. I tried to explain that I wouldn’t be getting anything from Antarctica but there was absolutely no way she wasn’t going to give me that money. Thank you Grandma, I’ll get something on my way back.
That’s all for tonight.
- Day 28
Hi Everyone. Another tough day today starting out with low visibility where it was difficult to see the ground and still a lot of Sastrugi around. I’m feeling tired but still in high spirits. Got a bit of a cough as I’m sure you can hear but otherwise good.
I know I said I might reduce my hours so I get more sleep but I haven’t done that yet and I just keep reassessing each day.
This blog goes out to one of my sponsors, BFBS. Thank you so much for all of your support. I think some of these voicemails are also being shared on BFBS Radio so I hope all of the listeners are enjoying my daily posts!
That’s all for tonight.
- Day 27
Tough day today. A lot of height gain. I dont know if the good visibility was a good or a bad thing today as all I could see was another uphill just as I thought it might have flattened slightly. I keep thinking I’m going to see a trig point at the top but I never do. Maybe because I’m not actually at the top yet.
The Sastrugi are also getting bigger, some are a few meters high. It’s also actually pretty stunning when I take a second to look around. I’m in good spirits still and I’m still enjoying my own company which is always good.
This post is dedicated to Jon Fearne (@jon_endurance_coach), who has been my coach over this last year. Thank you Jon for creating my programme and pushing me to train even when it was tough to do so. Consistency has always been the thing that I struggled with the most so having a written programme was so helpful for me!
That’s all for tonight.
- Day 26
Hi everyone. Another long day. A lot of Sastrugi with poor visibility and blowing snow too just to top it off. I have 2 sets of goggles with me, one pair is for low visibility and the other is for when its sunny. Some days i pretty much swap them over at each break because they fog up really quickly and today was one of those days.
So, I finished Will Smiths audiobook the other day and he talks about how other people give you advice and basically mentions that other people give you advice based on their fears, their preducices and their experiences which I thought was really interesting. So, you’re living your life for the first time and how does anyone else know what you’re capable of, you may not even know yourself yet.
Hopefully another inspirational post for anybody that needs to hear it. You are capable of anything you want to achieve. It is always hard to start but you can do it. Just take it one step at a time. That is exactly what I’m doing out here, I’m taking one step at a time. You’ve got this (talking to myself at the same time).
Otherwise i’m doing well, i’ve started craving a coke zero and i’m hoping that i’ll be able to get one at the end. Thats all for tonight.
- Day 25
Hi everyone. Long day today and a complete whiteout so I couldnt see anything at all and a lot of Sastrugi as well. I could just feel that I was going uphill. But on the plus side it wasnt too windy today. The forecast is for poor visibility over the next few days with increasing wind.
I would like to dedicate this blog to Steve Jones (@antarcticsteve) who is the ALE (@antarcticlogistics) Expeditions Manager. I first spoke to Steve just over 2 years ago when I knew absolutely nothing about how to conduct an expedition in Antarctica and he has guided me throughout, with advice about where to train (which has been difficult with travel restrictions), what books to read and what experience I would need for a solo expedition. He has answered every question I’ve had. Thank you so much for all of your support Steve and I look forward to seeing you on my return.
- Day 24
Hi everyone, day 24 in Antarctica. I had a good day today, the sun was out and even though I could still feel the uphill slog its great to see where you’re going. I know the pulk is lighter because I’ve had over 20 days of food, but honestly it still feels the same. Maybe it will feel lighter when I get even closer to the south pole.
I’m listening to Will Smiths audiobook at the moment. Its about 16 hours long so I’m still on the first half. I love Will Smith, I grew up watching Fresh Prince of Bel Air. So, at the start of the book he talks about building a wall when he was younger which seemed impossible but he broke it down and just focused on laying one brick at a time. Eventually, after about a year I think, the wall was built. I think this is a great way to do things. I’m always breaking things down. For example while I’m out here I sometimes break it down into degrees. There’s a total of 10 degrees to the south pole. Sometimes I break it down into the hours I’m travelling that day and on a tough day I just focus on taking one step after the other.
Today I wanted to mention the charities I’m raising money for. I decided to raise money for 2 different causes, one is Khalsa Aid, who’s message is to recognise the whole human race as one. A simple and powerful message. They are a great charity and do some really amazing work. And the other is for an adventure grant that I’m setting up when I’m back. I set up a GoFundMe page earlier this year and even before I had anywhere near enough funding, I decided to split the page, 50% would go toward the expedition costs, and the other 50% toward this grant. The grant will be for women wanting to conduct unique adventures and I will set it up when I’m back. It can be for any adventure, it does not need to be anything to do with Antarctica. I just want to encourage people to push their boundaries and hopefully this will help. I have a few name ideas but if you have any please comment on the post. And if anybody would like to donate to either cause, the links are on the website, under charity.
Thankyou very much. That’s all for tonight.
Adventure grant: https://www.gofundme.com/f/polarpreet
- Day 23
Hi everyone, better day today. Still windy but good visibility. Could really feel the uphill today, a lot more blowing snow over the last few days too so it takes me a bit longer to take the tent down in the morning as I shovel all the snow that has mounted up overnight.
Have a bit of admin to do today. My liner gloves always seem to get little holes in them so I sew them up using dental floss and needle.
This one goes out to all of my sponsors that come under Team Army; Amey, Dell Technologies, Fujitsu, Harmonic, Qioptiq, Ultra and Microsoft. It was a pleasure to meet people face to face at the launch and I am so grateful for your support. I wouldn’t be here without you. I look forward to seeing you all again in the New Year!
That’s all for tonight.
- Day 22
Tough day today. Around 30mph headwind to start, plus snow, felt like my pulk was deadweight and of course uphill. The wind was increasing to about 40mph this evening to the point where I had to stop to put my tent up. You may be able to hear it in the background.
I was being a bit tough on myself for finishing slightly earlier and then had to remind myself that I’m actually doing way more hours than I had planned and I’m also way ahead of schedule. I’ve been averaging on about 5 and a half hours sleep so I may reduce my skiing hours in the next few days anyway. I’m also eating constantly, i’m currently on about 5000 calories a day and probably burning almost double that.
I want to give a shout out to the group of Outdoor Leaders I spoke with in the Peak District, a few weeks before I left the UK. One of my biggest aims is to inspire people but this group genuinely inspired me. I have been asked on many occasions why it matters that I am an Asian woman, why is it even mentioned. And I asked the group for their comments and opinions and their responses just made it so clear. Having somebody that looks like you, or just different from the image you expect is so powerful. I filmed some of their comments and watched it tonight. I posted the video on my Social media at the start of November, it is a great video if you want to watch it. One of comments was ‘If she can do it, I can do it.’ Yes you can. Thank you all for inspiring me and thank you Rehna Yaseen (@outdoors_with_rehna) for inviting me to speak.
I also wanted to add in tonight’s blog, that it took me a long time to be proud of the colour of my skin. I used to be embarrassed, having eggs thrown at me and people spit at me when I was a teenager because I ‘looked different’ certainly didn’t help. It took me a while to appreciate my culture and my roots, so when I describe myself as a ‘woman of colour’ it is because I am finally proud of my skin colour, my roots, my culture. This term isn’t used to offend anyone. It is part of me and doing this expedition as a woman of colour is incredibly powerful. Having been told on many occasions that I don’t look like a polar explorer… lets change the image you expect to see.
- Day 21
I made it to Thiels corner which is my half way point. There’s a fuel depot here and a toilet as well. I didn’t use the toilet though, I didn’t want to get used to that little bit of comfort of sitting on a toilet rather than digging a hole in the snow and squatting. I could see the mountain range to the west of Thiels corner too. Its great to actually ski towards something, I haven’t seen any features like this since the start.
So they started with a whiteout where I couldn’t see anything. Then just cloudy where I had a little bit of visibility. Its been really difficult to see the ground this afternoon though which makes progress difficult. Quite windy for the next few days, I think approximately 30mph winds at the moment.
So tonight my dinner was salmon pasta which is one of my favourites, all of my evening meals are freeze dried meals supplied by Base Camp Food (@basecampfood) who have provided my food not only for this trip but also a lot of my training trips. They are a great company who have helped me with every order, no matter how last minute (and there have been a few last minute orders). And a special mention to Laura Gardener and Jenny Hopkins (@adventurebambam), thank you so much for all of your support. And to Rin Passmore who created my entire nutrition plan which involves all the snacks, breakfasts and freeze dried meals. Thank you so much Rin! I’m really enjoying all of my food, I’m making sure I’m eating all of it was well which is really important because I need the energy.
That’s all for tonight. I’m pretty tired and ready for bed.
- Day 20
Such a lovely day today. Just a little bit of wind, though the weather is turning tomorrow so it felt like the calm before the storm. I can hear the snow blowing now outside.
So, I’ve been listening to a range of audiobooks while I’ve been out here. I love a good rom-com so I have a few of those in there. The last few days I listened to Amy Poehler’s book “Yes Please”. I love the book. She plays Lesley in a show called Parks and Recreation and she’s my favourite character. Also loved Mindy Kaling’s two books. Basically they’re badass women and I love listening to their lives and advice. You want to have good audiobooks while you’re out here. I also haven’t listened to any of them before so its the first time I’m listening to them.
So, on day 20 and every 10 days I finish one of my food bags and I celebrate something from this year. Today I am celebrating getting a distinction in my masters. A huge thank you to all of my lecturers at Queen Mary’s University of London (@officialqmul) for all of your support.
I decided to do a 4 year part time MSc in Sports and Exercise Medicine in Sep 2019 and then last year decided it would be great to complete it before going to Antarctica. It was pretty stressful at times. I just paid the last fees before leaving too. Two weeks before leaving the UK, I got my results and I was really pleased to see the hard work paying off. So thank you to all of my lecturers for your support and a special thank you to Simon Lack and Stuart Miller and the guys in my research group.
That’s all for tonight.
- Day 19
A good day today, though I felt tired by the end. It was pretty windy, If any part of your skin is exposed you can feel it pretty quickly and at the start of the day I could feel a small sting in my cheek but quickly closed the gap between my hat, goggles and facemask so no skin was exposed. I also have a mirror just to double check.
This is for all of the expeditions on the ice this year! It was tough getting to this point, with COVID, funding, getting hold of kit and equipment because everything seemed to be in short supply. I feel very privileged to be here and I want to give a shout out to the other expeditions that are also here this year.
I know we are nowhere near each other but it just feels a little less lonely knowing you’re on the ice at the same time. Here is to Masatatsu Abe (@masatatsu_abe) from Japan who is travelling from the Ross Ice Shelf to the South Pole, covering around 1,200km, Erik Bertand Larssen (@erikbertandlarssen) who is on a solo expedition from Berkner Island to the Pole. And of course, Louis Rudd (@louisrudd) and Martin Hewitt (@martinhewittadventure, @adaptivegradslam) who are heading to the South Pole from Hercules Inlet and are climbing Mount Vinson after! I also got to meet two of the groups before heading out so a big shout out to the team on the Hercules Inlet route and the Axel Heiberg route.
Thats all for tonight.
- Day 18
A good today with good visibility, which makes such a difference when you can see where you’re going. Feels strange that I havent seen any sign of another person for 18 days. It’s tough going out here, but im also living a simpler life which I quite like. Ski, put up my tent, cook, sleep and do it all over again. I’ve got a few aches here and there but thats completely normal after pulling a heavy pulk for 18 days.
This blog goes out to my cousin who’s nickname is Spikey and her kids, my niece and nephew; Simar and Kanwar. She lost her partner, Inder, who was 38 years old, a few months ago and I wanted to dedicate this blog to all of them. I’m sure he’s up there watching down on you all with your Mama Ji.
That’s all for tonight.
- Day 17
Hi everyone. Day 17, long day today. Poor visibility again travelling in a whiteout. I turned my GPS on a few times just to double check my direction as I couldn’t see anything in front of me. It requires a lot more concentration staring at my compass all day, so pretty tired today. I think travelling in a whiteout is more mentally draining too. But on the bright side, I’m one day closer to the south pole!
When I’m tired or I’m finding it hard. I think about different memories and today I was thinking about how many people from the Indian community thought I was going to Southall. I can still imagine them thinking why I’m making such a big deal about heading to Southall. I think it might be just a little bit colder here.
This blog goes out to Mitie who were my first sponsor that came on board. I emailed at least 10 companies every day after work trying to get companies on board. A lot dont reply and obviously with Covid its been difficult as well and I was delighted when Mitie did respond.
I wanted to work with companies that I had some kind of relationship with and Mitie also sponsor Army Rugby. A huge thank you to Phil Bentley, Charlie Antelme, Chris vanMarle and everyone at Mitie for giving me an incredible send off event and for all of your support. I look forward to seeing you when I’m back.
- Day 16
Hi everyone. I changed my socks for the first time this morning which was so nice. There was poor visibility all day today. It was a whiteout and you cant see anything around you but white. Somebody else said it was like travelling in a marshmallow which I think was a good way of explaining it. So I end up skiing a lot slower because I cant see where the Sastrugi is and they can get pretty big. I also end up staring a lot harder at my compass just to make sure I’m going in the right direction. I still got good mileage in and still feeling good.
The post goes out to the British Army which has been a big part of my life, I joined the Reserves as a private when I was 19 with minimal education at the time, went onto become a physiotherapist and joined the Regular Army about 6 years ago. I had never been camping before I joined so my first weekend in the field was quite the experience!
I want to say thank you to everyone that saw potential in me and encouraged me along the way. A shout out to 222 Medical Squadron which was my Reserve Unit for about 7 years, 3 Medical Regiment, London PCRF (physio department) and my fellow sisters in the Army, serving and retired for your ongoing support.
And a special thank you to my chain of command, Brig Lizzie Faithfull-Davies and Lt Col Gareth Hattersley.
Thankyou so much all of you. That’s all for tonight.
- Day 15
Hi everyone. I had a good day today. It was only a little bit of wind and I got some good mileage in. It’s also a lot easier to put the tent up when its not as windy. I’m sticking to skiing for 90 minutes and taking a 10 minute break after every 90 minutes. Every now and again I have to stop in between as well, especially if I get too hot or to cold. You dont want to sweat because it will freeze, and I dont want any other injuries by getting too cold as well.
I’ve listened to three of Ben Fogle’s books so far. I listened to the last one today. “Up”, “Inspire” and “Race to the Pole”. I love them all and enjoyed listening to the descriptions of Antarctica in race to the pole. I wasn’t too sure about listening to expedition books while I’m here but I’m glad I did listen to it, I felt so invested and got teary eyed when he talks about getting to the pole. I haven’t really thought about how I will feel at the end, I’m just taking it one day at a time.
This post is for anybody that needs to hear this. It can often be those closest to us that hold us back. I am often called a rebel for doing things out of the norm, for pushing my boundaries. For a long time, I stopped telling as many people about the challenges I was doing or I would down play them.
You may not be able to relate to the challenge I am currently on, but I want to tell you it is ok to push your boundaries and I want to encourage you to do so. You can achieve anything you want and it soon becomes addictive, when you start pushing those boundaries. You’ll soon realise what you are capable of, I have (I say sitting in Antarctica..)
I feel like I have my own radio show but can’t see any of the feedback until I finish. So I hope you’re enjoying my journey, tune in tomorrow for more!
- Day 14
Hi everyone on day 14 today. So I had a good day today, made it to 83 degrees south which is awesome. Just 7 degrees to go.
Good weather today and great to just look around and appreciate where I am. Strange to think that I haven’t seen any sign of another person for 14 days. I haven’t even started to talk to myself yet.
I had a bit of admin to do in the tent tonight. Things like sewing rips in my liner gloves and I had to put some glue on my half skins as well which were coming off slightly at the end.
This thank you goes to Rhodri from Nordic Life (@nordiclife). Thank you so much for all of your help, not only providing most of my kit but for your advice and answering all of my many questions. And getting my pogies to me just before getting here too. They are perfect! Pogies are basically big gloves that I attach to my ski poles and they’re keeping my hands warm while I’m on the go!
- Day 13
Hi everyone, another tough day today. Areas of soft snow made it quite hard work to drag a heavy pulk behind me. So, I knew I would have tough days out here and I have different things to help me along the way. I have voice notes from my friends saved on my phone, I’ve got about about 45 in total and I haven’t listened to any so far. Today I listened to a few of them and it was so great hearing the voices of those closest to me and it perked me right up.
This blog is for an outdoor community, named Love Her Wild (@loveherwilduk). I haven’t delivered many face to face talks about my expedition and the first was to this community. I spent the weekend camping with them, went wild swimming, listened to talks from inspirational women and gave my own talk. It was such a welcoming audience and a weekend I will never forget. Thank you Fiona (@fiona_orrell) for inviting me, Bex (bex_band), and the Love Her Wild community. Check them out they are a pretty amazing group of people.
That’s all for tonight.
- Day 12
So tough day today, terrain was icy. I fell over a few times in just the first hour. The first time I fell I was frustrated and then the next few times I laughed it off and got up and kept going. Just taking one step in front of the other. Besides, I cant control the weather or the terrain, I can control how I react to it though. So I focus on what I can control, my mindset. I’m really glad I still did my 11 hours today, the first few hours were the toughest then it actually got easier as the day went along.
This post goes out to my sister-in-law, Sonia who is updating all of my social media so she gets to write this post up. She was in my life way before marrying my brother and I’ve always enjoyed annoying you and I promise to continue to annoy you forever! (just kidding, I’m obviously the annoying one.
I always wanted a big sister growing up and Sonia, when you came into the family I got my wish. Thank you for everything you do, the hours you spend on the phone with me when I’m constantly travelling, the food you cook for me and send me home with and for always being there. See you soon and I’m looking forward to some of your home made apple crumble when I’m back!
That’s all for tonight.
- Day 11
Hi everyone, so another 11 hours skied today. Found another never-ending hill. The route is all uphill but some parts are more noticeable than others. It was windy too, about 30-35 miles per hour. A headwind, so I had my hood up with my fur ruff creating a tunnel for my face for protection. Tough day but still good progression.
So, I have written notes on all of my food bags as some motivation for me mainly things that other people have said to me or written on my posts before I left and todays food bag says “you’re a role model to those that were told no”.
So I was told no a lot of the time and I ignored it most of the time. I was more often than not discouraged to push boundaries and was often labelled disrespectful for voicing my opinions. I was labelled the rebel for doing things out of the norm. But I think we create our own normal.
Right now my normal is being on an expedition in Antarctica. Normal can be whatever you want it to be. And surrounding yourself with people that believe in you, I know I’m on my own out here but I also know that there are so many people who believe in me and are supporting me. Thankyou everyone for all of your support and I look forward to reading everyone’s messages when I’m back.
This post is dedicated to Antarctica. Thank you for allowing me to be here. I am and will always be forever grateful.
- Day 10
So today felt long, I think it was because this morning was a whiteout, which is where you cant see anything at all. Somebody else described it as “like travelling inside a marshmallow” which I think was a good example. This cleared after a few hours and then visibility was great in the afternoon. 11 hours done, had my days hot chocolate and now I’m ready for bed.
Every ten days, I finish one of my food bags so it is a bit of a milestone. Which made me think of the other big milestones I’ve had this year and haven’t really had a chance to celebrate. So every 10 days, I’m going to celebrate one of them. I’m on day 10 today and I bought my first house this year in May which was pretty exciting. Although it has mainly been a storage place for all of my expedition gear, it has been nice to call a place my own! I don’t think I even stopped at the time to celebrate that so tonight I’m celebrating with freeze dried meal and a hot chocolate.
- Day 9
So I found the terrain slightly harder today. It felt as if the snow was softer, which in turn made it harder to drag the pulk. But I still completed 11 hours which I’m happy with.
Its the 1st December today, I would usually be eating my first chocolate from an advent calendar today and then eating about six more, I never wait. My mum still buys me one every year. Even when I was on an operational tour in South Sudan she still sent my advent calendar. She actually went to the post office and sent it next day delivery thinking it would be there the next day, bless her. It took a few weeks to get to me and I ate it all in one day.
So this blog is dedicated to my brothers. So I’m not wearing any jewellery on the expedition but I do still have my Rakhri on my wrist. Rakhri is a band that traditionally sisters tie on their brothers for their protection and I have been tying this on my brothers since I was a child. This year, for the first time, I asked them to tie the Rakhri on me too. So this goes out to my two big brothers(@jagchandi, @pardeep.chandi), thank you for tying my Rakhris on me. I have that protection with me now too.
And also a reminder to anyone, that it is ok to question or change traditions. I will now ask my brothers to tie a Rakhri on me every year and that will now be our new tradition.
That’s all for tonight.
- Day 8
Hi Everyone, on day 8 today. So it started warm this morning but this afternoon the wind picked up so I stopped and put my mittens on and Gilet on as extra layers. So far the wind has got up to about 25mph and as soon as the wind picks up it feels a lot colder as well.
There’s a lot more Sastrugi around which the pulk catches on and I have to jerk it forwards with my hips, so just trying to navigate around all of that today but managed to do another 11 hours which is good.
Today I listened to Anita Rani’s audiobook which I loved, and it did make me miss some home cooked food though. But it also made me think of breaking boundaries and barriers and why its so important to encourage people to do so. Nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself. Its so easy to say the words but its true. We’re often discouraged from pushing these boundaries, I definitely was and ignored the people who told me I couldn’t do it which got me the label as being a rebel. You dont have to want to do a polar expedition, I understand that’s not for everyone. I didn’t even know anything about the polar world until two and a half years ago. You can do whatever you want, everybody starts somewhere.
Talking of pushing boundaries, I would like to dedicate this blog to my niece and nephew. Simran is my 10 year old niece and my pulk (sled) is named after her. Karanveer is my 2 month old nephew and my skis are named after him. Me and Simran regularly have our little adventures together and this is the same, she’s outside the tent waiting for me every day and she’s with me every step of the way. I can’t wait to start my adventures with Karanveer too!
That’s all from me tonight. Thankyou.
- Day 7
Hi Everyone, I cant believe I have been out here for a whole week. This is definitely the longest I have ever been alone and not seen anyone else. I skied for 11 hours today which is the furthest I’ve done so far. I wont be going for longer than this as I still need to find time for my tent admin, melting snow, eating my food and of course sleeping.
Visibility was good again today and once I’d taken a bearing on my compass I was able to use my shadow for navigation. I used full length skins at the start of the journey for more grip as there’s a lot of height gain in the first degree and last night I put my half skins on. Skins are a carpet like material that I screw into the bottom of my skis to help me grip to the snow with one leg and glide with the other.
For this blog I would like to say a huge thank you to Maj Gen Lamont Kirkland and everybody from Team Army. Maj Gen Lamont Kirkland is one of the best LinkedIn connections I have made, you may get a few more LinkedIn requests after this Sir! I also want to give a mention to Catharine Moss from Team Army who has been amazing, she created my flag, logos and so much more! They are a fantastic sponsor and I feel privileged to have them on board. So thankyou very much.
- Day 6
Hi everyone reporting in from day 6. Good visibility again today but pretty windy which made it feel a lot colder. Skied for 10 hours today and enjoyed my pork pasta freeze dried meal this evening. I’m working in nautical miles out here and I’m travelling south in degrees of latitude towards the south pole. The south pole is 90 degrees south and I’m travelling 10 degrees in total to get there. It doesn’t sound that much when I break it down that way. I’ve just made it to 81 degrees south, so that’s my first milestone so just 9 degrees to go. Each degree is split evenly into 60 nautical miles which is an easier way for me to break down the distance.
Today I was listening to my Bhangra music on Spotify and it made me think of my Punjabi roots and all of the things I love about them and how proud I am of them… I also want to thank Diljit Dosanjh and Jay Sean for keeping me going today, some great tunes on my playlist!
Ok, I will check in tomorrow. Bye!
- Day 5
Hi everyone. I’m on day 5. All good so far, still have good visibility which is great although I did feel like I was climbing up a never-ending hill for 9 hours. I was listening to music for most of the day and just daydreaming. Today I was thinking about my journey to this point, the fact that I had this idea 2 and a half years ago when I knew absolutely nothing about the polar world. I created the name Polar Preet 2 years ago, my partner created my website, it was really hard getting support at the start which is why I’m so grateful that I have it now. I spent so much money, all of my money plus my life savings on a lot of the training and all my leave on the training and it was really tough at times but it was all worth it because I’m actually here now. You would be amazed at what you can achieve if you believe in yourself. .
And finally I want to give a shout out to the following schools: Sam Proctor and year 6 at Stanley Primary School, Karen Ancill and year 6 at Waterside Primary School in Hythe, Southampton, year 5 at St Wystan’s which is my niece’s school and year 7 at Repton which is my little sister’s school. I know some of you are learning about Antarctica so I hope you enjoy following my journey! When I get back next year, I’ll be travelling around to different schools for 4 months to talk about the expedition and hopefully inspire the next generation. Thank you to Regional Command for organising all of this ready for when I return back to the UK.
That’s all for tonight.
- Day 4
Hi everyone. Checking in from Day 4. I had good visibility again today which was great. I basically ski for 90 minute intervals then I take a break. I’m taking it one day at a time, I find thats an easier way to break up big challenges. I’m feeling good so far and still enjoying my own company which is helpful. Also, on day 2 I found the Covid mask that I was given at Union Glacier in my pocket. It made me laugh, because after weighing each gram in of all of my kit I still have that Covid mask in my pocket. So i’ve decided to name him Miles which is what my partner Dave wants to call the dog we dont have yet. So it’s me and Miles on our way to the south pole together.
This post is for Global Telesat Communications (@globaltelesatcomms) who have supplied most of my comms kit which are really key pieces of equipment. I have a Satellite phone which I use to make these daily calls, I have family listening to these voicemails and then updating my social media so I can’t see all of your messages until I’m back. My Iridium Go is what I’m using to send photos back. I also have an InReach which is being used as my tracking device and I also have 2 Garmin GPS devices where all of my waypoints are stored and I get my bearings and distance from these devices.
That’s all for tonight, ill check back in tomorrow.
- Day 3
Hi everyone, just checking in for day 3. Still feeling good, its getting winder now and I find myself gripping tightly onto my items. The last thing I want is anything to get blown away by the wind, like my down jacket that I put on every time I stop for a break. I dont stop for more than 10 minutes at a time as it just gets cold. The tent also takes a little bit longer to put up in the wind and as soon as I’m in the tent its time for my admin. Melting snow so I can have water and cook my food, doing my daily check-in calls, any personal and kit admin and go to sleep.
I want to thank a few people from the Army who’ve been fantastic with their support. Specifically, Col Neil Wilson, Col Chris Coates and Lt Col Dougie Peters, who has now retired and Mike Fisher. They have all been so helpful and I want to say thank you for all of your support. And a special thank you to Adventure Training Group which is an incredible organisation that assists adventure training and expeditions like this across the British Army. Huge thanks from me.
That’s all for tonight.
- Day 2
Hi everyone, checking in from day 2, all going well so far. A lot of elevation in this bit of the journey but im getting through it. Completed just over nine hours today, wind was coming up from the South West so I had my hood up with my fur ruff to protect my face. There are a few waypoints that are relatively close together to follow in this first part and thats to avoid crevasses. To navigate I take a bearing from my GPS and I use my compass. I have a map too but that’s just so I can visualise where I am.
I want to say a huge thank you to my expedition manager, Louis Rudd. I first met Louis two years ago and I have just learnt so much from him. I just want to say thank you for all of your support and advice, it is so great being on the ice at the same time as you. Louis is also on the ice on the Hercules Inlet to South Pole route but he’s about 5 days ahead. Although I haven’t seen any trail mix for me to follow yet so I’ll keep looking out for that!
Thats all for tonight!
- Day 1
So I’m on day 1. I cant believe I’m finally on the ice and I have started the expedition.
The Twin Otter (plane) dropped me off around 4pm and I just did a few hours today. I weighed my Pulk just before leaving and its 87kg. Conditions were windy but visibility was good today.
I’ll be dedicating each blog to someone and this one goes out to my Baba Ji (my Grandad), who lived an incredible long life up to the age of 99. He moved to the UK when I was born and raised me. He always made me feel just as important in a community where I sometimes felt as though I was less. I always used to think he looked like an Indian Santa Claus, he had crystal blue eyes, a white beard and the best heart. Thank you Baba Ji for letting me know that I was just as important. I hope you’re watching down on me for this journey. That’s all for tonight.
- Got my ticket!
I’m heading to the airport this afternoon to fly to ANTARCTICA! Very excited!
I’m flying to Union Glacier and I’ll have my Comms kit checked there and then we wait for a suitable weather window so I can be dropped at my start point (30 min flight from Union Glacier to my start – Hercules Inlet).
It’s time to go break some more boundaries 🙌🏾
*Preet will be doing daily voicemails from the ice and they will be shared on social media by her family.
The last few days have been spent packing all of my food, kit and equipment. The 48 days of food alone took me 2 days to pack, everything has been taken out of their original wrappers, everything has been broken down into smaller pieces.
All of my evening meals are freeze dried (supplied by base camp food). My graze bags (what I eat during the day when I take short breaks on the ice) are a mixture of nuts, raisins, chocolates etc. But most importantly, I have also packed a daily hot chocolate! I’ll be given the fuel when I get to Antarctica.
My comms kit has all been set up too, I have tested my Satellite phones, inReach and Iridium Go, I have all of the waypoints in my GPS, marked on a map, my compass is ready and I’m good to go!
I want to say a huge thank you to Dell Technologies for supplying me with my laptop. I have a lot of spreadsheets where every bit of kit and food has been accounted for, I also have the gpx files on the laptop with the route.. so it is so useful having the laptop with me!
Waiting for a good weather window so will not be flying before 19 Nov.
- Punta Arenas
It’s pretty incredible to know that I’m only a few hours away from Antarctica.. but first I have a load of preperation to do! My kit was sent be air freight at the start of October so it was great to be reunited.
With a few bits of paperwork, planning and several COVID tests, I got here in one piece! I booked an apartment so that I have space to unpack my kit to repack it in the pulk (sled).
Chile only very recently opened up for travel so Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE) have done an amazing job just by running this season (season runs from Nov – Jan).
There are four expeditions (all members on the image below) this year and I feel privileged to be part of the club. It’s unlikely that I’ll see any of them when I’m on the ice but it’s nice to know that they will be there!
My planned flight date to Antarctica is 18 Nov but this is weather dependent. For now, it’s back to packing.
“I often wonder if you were born years earlier, if the lives of many of us girls would be different”
I was sent this message the other day and I really felt this. How often are we told to stay in our box and discouraged when we do things out of the norm. I’ve often been described as the “rebel” because I choose to do things out of the norm. I’ve been called disrespectful for not being quiet and voicing my opinion. I can’t remember having any role models growing up.
You don’t have to relate to what I’m doing right now, I understand that this is a big expedition. I just want to let you know that it is ok to push your boundaries. I know it’s scary, I’ve been there. When people tell you that you can’t, it’s difficult. Now I think back, how does anybody else know how much I’m capable of?! You might not even know yourself yet. I want to inspire you to believe in yourself. Believe that nothing is impossible.
It doesn’t matter how small or big your goal is. You are so capable
📷 Training in the UK not so long ago!
- on My way
Made it to the airport!
I had this idea 2.5 years ago and I’m finally on my way. Before planning this, I never imagined I would going to Antarctica and doing an expedition of this size. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt is not to limit yourself. We are capable of so much, it took me a while to believe in myself but I got there eventually and I’m now feeling ready for the challenge ahead!
Heading to Chile where I will meet all of my kit and equipment that I sent by air freight a month ago. I’ll be there for just over a week before heading to Antarctica!!!
- a Woman of colour
I have been asked on several occasions why it matters that I’m a woman of colour or an an Asian woman so I decided to ask a group of young leaders. I had the opportunity to talk to this amazing group last week.
I spoke with 20 people from diverse backgrounds who were on an outdoor leadership course as part of a youth group. The aim of my talk was to inspire them but listening to them talk inspires me. Representation does matter.
“If she can do it, I can do it.” This is so powerful and being able to inspire these individuals motivates me. This expedition is about so much more than me.
We all have grown up with different barriers and boundaries. People say the outdoors is for everyone. That is true but it’s not always that easy to go and do something you know nothing about or not to see anyone that looks like you doing it.
It’s hard to step out of your comfort zone. I was worried about even describing myself as a woman of colour because of how other people would perceive it. But this is how I identify. My brown skin, my culture is all part of who I am and it is a big part of me.
Hearing one of the young leaders relate to me as a brown woman is important. I’ve been told on several occasions that I don’t look like a polar explorer. I’m not the image that is expected.
It matters because I want individuals to believe they can achieve whatever they want, even if they have come from a background or community that has told them different.
I want to inspire everyone, no matter where they are from, no matter the colour of their skin and no matter where they’ve started. You are so capable. That is the message that I want to share.
I’m not describing myself this way to offend anyone. This has been part of me my whole life. I’m finally confident enough to say it out loud.
I’m aiming to be the first woman of colour to do a solo expedition in Antarctica
🎥 young leaders group 💜
#representation #thisgirlcan #diversity #representationmatters #breakingboundaries
Yesterday I got my MSc results, I got a DISTINCTION!! Such relief when you see all of the hard work you put in was worth it.
This is huge for me. It has been a stressful year, I was supposed to do the MSc part time over 4 years but for some reason decided to complete it in 2 because I thought “it will be great to finish it before I leave…” I’ve also just paid if off because I didn’t have enough big costs this year 😂🤦🏽♀️
I’ve never felt very academic. Completing my degree is one of my biggest achievements, I didn’t come away from school with many GCSE’s, I had no A-levels and I was told I wouldn’t be able to achieve it. But I did and now my MSc!
In between planning my expedition, work, buying a house, training, exams and essay deadlines, it’s been intense! My graduation is mid Jan, there is some motivation to get back from Antarctica in time!
Like with all the big milestones I’ve had this year, I took a minute to celebrate, had a sip of sloe gin and now it’s back to work 💪🏽🔥
One week before I leave!
My launch event at The Shard this week was incredible, I was so overwhelmed by all of the support that was in the room. I started this journey 2 and a half years ago on my own and I now have so many people backing me and supporting me.
This is a solo expedition but I’m not doing this alone. So many people have helped me get here. My pulk is named after my niece (Simran) and skis after my nephew (Karanveer), they will be there with me every step of the way.
This is about so much more than me. This is about inspiring as many people as I possibly can. To the people that have ever been told they can’t achieve something, to the people that don’t yet believe in themselves. No matter what you look like, no matter where you are from or where your start line is, I want to inspire people to believe in themselves.
It was an evening I will always remember. Thank you to all of you involved in making it so special 💜
This week has had so many more highlights, I was part of the honour guard at one of my best friends weddings and I was on BBC woman’s hour with Anita Rani!
My tyres live in the car so training has continued as normal 🙌🏽
Remember, Nothing is Impossible
- Not alone
I was dragging my tyre in a park last week, I go to that park regularly. It got dark quickly around 1900 and it appeared that there were no street lights.
It would take me about 40 mins to get back to the car, in the dark. I held my poles out in front of me ready to defend myself if needed. I was frustrated by the usual noise that my tyres were creating against the tarmac.
I was scared. I thought about how I should’ve checked if there were street lights. I thought about how people would tell me that I shouldn’t have been out on my own at that time which made me more frustrated.
I got back to the car park at 1940, there were no lights anywhere so I had to use my phone torch. I put the tyres back in the car, left my harness on and drove away as quickly as possible.
I felt uncomfortable about going back to that park, even though I’ve been regularly in the day. A week later I went back in the day with my partner and noticed there were lamp posts for the entire route and in the car park, they just weren’t on. This leads to me to write a letter to the local council, I’m not sure if they weren’t working or switch off after a certain time.
There have some horrific recent events, it’s so frustrating to see people victim blaming. We shouldn’t have to feel afraid, I don’t have answers but I do want to feel safer and help others feel the same way. I know I’m not alone in feeling this way.
- It’s getting real
Seeing PolarPreet and Army on the same logo still feels surreal. I came up with this name just over 2 years ago and it has been hard work to get to this point. It also makes me feel proud that I now have got here.
It has been a busy week getting all of my kit together. I wanted to send as much as possible by air freight: my pulk, all of my food, kit and equipment. This will now be sent via air freight to Punta Arenas, Chile and I’ll pick it up in just over a month!
My kitchen is looking a bit empty without my 210cm length pulk taking up most of the room!
I’m aiming to leave the UK at the start of November and then start my expedition on approx 21 November. I can’t believe I’m almost at the start line. I’m getting pretty excited!
I had three days in the UK after training in Iceland, cleaned my kit, attended a friend’s wedding, fit as many meetings as I could, took another Covid test and flew to Geneva. Next stop – Chamonix.
The last time I was in Chamonix was Aug 2016 when I did Tour Du Mont Blanc. I remember seeing people finish the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB), I thought to myself I want to do this race one day. Five years later, I came back to Chamonix and saw the same race again. I’m still going to have to enter this one day but let’s concentrate on the other big expedition I have first…..
Crevasses can be pretty daunting, they can be huge deep cracks in ice sheets/on glaciers so it is important to be prepared. That means being roped up and carrying the right kit and equipment including a helmet, ice axe, harness etc.
The next few days were spent crevasse training, reviewing the equipment I will be taking with me and looking at my route in detail.
The visibility was good and I couldn’t miss Louis’s red Hilleberg tent from over a mile away. Today was the last day on the glacier and it had been a great week of training.
I got a high five from Louis as I met his tent and shortly after we were picked up by Arngrimur in his impressive 4×4. He then drove us off the ice and to get an amazing cheese burger (I had a double).
We then spent one night in a hotel near the airport before navigating the pulks through the airport again.
Overall an invaluable experience on the ice. A huge thank you to Louis, my friend and Expedition Manager and Arngrimur for providing us with maps, extensive knowledge of the glacier, transport, the amazing burger placer. We were also given a signed copy of Arngrimur’s book, I can definitely say I will be back in Iceland in the future!
It feels as though I have the entire Glacier to myself. I haven’t seen anybody else, I know Louis is also on the Glacier (out of sight) but it is surreal to feel as though I have this huge space all to myself.
I packed up my tent in the morning, waved goodbye to Louis’s tent and I was off. Visibility was good at the start of the day. I had my GPS, map and compass to navigate and used these more later in the day as visibility became poor. It doesn’t feel that different to a whiteout (what I will experience in Antarctica). I can’t see anything ahead apart from white, somebody once described it to me as ‘feeling as though you’re inside a marshmallow’
I stuck to my routine, checked my GPS location on some of the breaks and listened to Michelle Obama’s audio book for the day. I love listening to audio books, still making my list for the Antarctic Expedition.
I have practiced my tent routine in the garden but it takes a little longer on the snow as I have to melt the snow for water. This is always the first job and then I can get on with admin. I was looking forward to dinner (Spaghetti Bol freeze dried meal) by the time I had set up the tent. I then checked in with Louis, gave him my location, wrote my diary and got my head down for the night.
The next day was pretty similar, I stuck to my routine. As visibility was low again, I kept expecting Louis to appear out of nowhere but no sight of him and we had agreed to meet on the last day.
- Langjokull Glacier
Langjokull Glacier, the “long” glacier, and the second largest in Iceland. We were dropped off in the South and aimed to make our way to the highest point in the North at 1450m. We had maps for the glacier and were advised on points to avoid (crevasse areas).
After marking our maps and a quick revision of navigation in lat and long, we were off. Visibility was good for these days, I stayed in front with my compass mount to simulate exactly what I would be doing in Antarctica.
The route wasn’t always straightforward, we wanted to avoid any crevasse ridden areas and therefore taken the long way around to get to our waypoints.
The sun is out and visibility clear so far. We reached the highest point of the north side (1450m) by day 2 and camped there. This is my last day with Louis before heading out solo.
As many others, I have been constantly checking entry restrictions into Europe. The aim was to head to Norway between Jan-Mar but this wasn’t possible due to travel restrictions.
The plan was to do a final preparation trip with my expedition manager (Louis Rudd) and a chance to practice everything I’ve been taught before heading onto my Antarctic expedition.
We decided on Iceland two months ago, hoping we would get a good weather window. The time came around quickly, I met Louis at Heathrow Airport on 8 August where we rearranged some of our kit into the pulks.
The first task was navigating the pulks through Heathrow and Keflavik Airport (Iceland). From there, we were picked up by an impressive 4×4 and trailer for our pulks. Three hour drive to Langjokull Glacier, we arranged our pulks, picked up fuel and then drove a further 30 mins to get to the snow.
We skied for 2.5hrs with our pulks before setting up our tents and preparing for the rest of the expedition
- Me and my tyre
Can I drag my tyre up Helvellyn? It starts as a question. Lets change around the letters:
‘I can drag my tyre up Helvellyn..’ I’ve made a statement and as soon as I say it to myself, I know I can do it. It will be hard work but I’ve always liked a challenge.
I started with “I’ll maybe go up half way” knowing that I would want to reach the top when I got there.
After about 10 mins in, I’d already told myself I was getting to the peak. No matter how long it took.
I packed my waterproof, food and a head torch. Ready to be there all night if that’s what it took me! Luckily it did not take me all night..
Terrain was rocky, had to pull the tyre a lot with my hands, I spent more time on my hands and feet than expected!
But I got there. Helvellyn – just me and my tyre
- Punjabi Girl
Proudly dragging my tyre while wearing my Indian suit.
When I was younger, I don’t know how much time I spent denying my culture and roots…why it took me so long to realise I should be proud of my background. Part of me didn’t like standing out at the time but now I love it.
Dancing to my own rhythm
Embracing my skin colour
Embracing my background
That doesn’t mean I don’t embrace my British side too. It just took me longer to appreciate where I’m from and to wear my brown skin with pride.
I am proud to be a Punjabi girl.
It was Vaisakhi this week and it brought back memories of Nagar Kirtan with the family. It’s been a long time since I’ve worn any Indian clothing and I really enjoyed this tyre drag.
This month has many celebrations, Vaisakhi, Navratri, Ramadan, Easter, being able to see friends and family. Take a moment to appreciate that, it has been a special month. Wishing everyone love and happiness 💜
This all began with an idea, this idea that I could achieve something incredible. Something beyond what I could’ve expected from myself. I didn’t really know where to start and then I started reading blogs and contacting polar explorers.
I didn’t have any winter or polar training experience and I wanted some experience before I approached companies for sponsorship. I waited until I had been to Norway on a Polar Training Course and then I waited until I had been to Greenland for further training. I wanted to be as prepared as I possibly could and I wanted companies to know that I was serious about this expedition. I wanted them to know that I was determined and that I was going to do anything I possibly could to get there.
I emailed 100s of companies, I went through the enquiry pages of most of them. A lot wouldn’t respond, and a lot came back to say they couldn’t support my expedition at this time. It is understandable, companies receive a lot of emails, and with Covid it was even more difficult.
I would tell myself ‘Don’t give up, keep trying and I did’. I kept emailing companies, after work, before I went to bed, before work, whenever I had time!
I have done a lot of different challenges and raised money for charities but this was the first time I was pitching to corporate supporters. I was so happy when I got my first yes, it was a huge step forward.
I’ve never been one to give up, I’m determined and stubborn and I know that I will get there. It started as one person with an idea, this is a solo expedition but I have so many people supporting me behind the scenes.
I want to say a huge thank you to Team Army for all of your support and to all of the companies supporting me.
I look forward to working with you on this journey and meeting you in person.
I also want to thank the many individuals that have contacted me through my website or helped me in some way along the way. Your encouragement and belief in me has helped me get to this point and has played a part in how much I believe in myself. Thank you.
- My Mum
My mum always told me that she wanted me to have opportunities that she didn’t have.
She had an arranged marriage by 17. She got divorced aged 37 when there was still a lot of stigma around divorce in our culture. So many people stood against her but she remained brave and I’m so glad she did. Thank you for showing me that we don’t have to listen to others. That we shouldn’t live our lives based on what other people might say. Thank you for teaching me to break barriers.
You’ve always told me you wished that you could’ve given me more. I hope you know how much you have given me. Love you mum, thank you for inspiring me.
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!
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!
“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!