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!
Getting my degree will always remain one of my biggest achievements. Only having a few GCSEs and no A-levels, I never felt very academic and was so nervous about getting a place at university. I got myself on an access course and was so excited when I got accepted at St George’s to study physiotherapy.
I remember going through anatomy and physiology in the first few months, feeling like I was completely in over my head. I was overwhelmed, nervous that I wouldn’t understand it, surrounded by students that were so much smarter than me. It can be so difficult not to compare yourself to others. I did get it eventually and became the first person in my family to get my degree. And now I’m doing my MSc, I never would’ve believed this 10 years ago!
I finished paying my student loan today. When I first went to uni, I was told I wouldn’t be able to do it on my own. I took a loan to pay for all of my accommodation etc and I did it. Fast forward 8 years and it’s paid off 😁
No matter how small or big, your achievements are achievements. Try not to compare yourself to others, easier said than done. But your journey is your own, nobody else’s.
- Frost Nip
Frost nip is a cold weather related injury and a mild form of frostbite. You can see the frost nip on the edge of my nose on the photo below as it was starting to heal. I had a fur hood on which was covering my face from the side wind (I thought it was anyway). We had high winds and it was -45deg with wind chill. The tip of my nose started to go a mild blue in the evening and eventually scabbed over as you can see.
Different stages of frostbite effect the different layers of skin. Frost nip occurs when skin is exposed to extreme cold for a sustained period of time. This affected the superficial layer of my skin. If left untreated and further exposed to extreme cold, it can develop into frostbite.
How did I treat it? It was difficult to not further expose my nose to cold conditions and I’m not a fan of having my mouth and nose constantly covered so I used k-tape to cover it. I would then warm up the frozen aloe Vera gel in the evenings in the tent and rub that onto my nose, drink warm water. I’d also warm up my hands on my hot water bottles before applying them to my nose!
What did I learn? To continue checking that my face isn’t exposed, especially when I’ll be out in Antarctica on my own..
- Learning Never Ends
I’m always learning something. This relates to all areas of life, military, physio, all the sports I’m involved in and the list goes on!
In preparation for my polar expedition, I’ve read countless blogs and spoke to different people about their experiences in cold weather.
Not everyone will do things the same way. I have cooked inside the tent and outside in the vestibule area. Both have their benefits, with both it’s important to make sure the tent is ventilated! The last thing you want is carbon monoxide poisoning!
I had to change how I would usually pack my pulk. I would normally have my sleeping system in a piteraq bag on top of my pulk. We had a lot of wet weather so I had to waterproof a lot of my kit. The last thing you want is a wet sleeping bag!
We had to adapt on several occasions, adapt to the weather and conditions. I’m always learning and will continue to do so throughout this journey.
- Being Asian
I’ve been called a “coconut” on many occasions and told I’m “not really Indian.” The term “coconut” refers to someone that is brown on the outside but white on the inside.
I wrestled with my racial identity a lot when I was younger. I’m a British born Indian. I moved away from home aged 14 to play tennis full time, first in Surrey, then Czech Republic. I came back to the UK when I was 19 which is when I joined the Army and have lived all over since.
Being viewed as an outsider isn’t nice and I started to think maybe I was a “coconut” Why might I be viewed as a “coconut”
- Not speaking enough of my native language. My punjabi is broken at best
- Pursuing a career that is not expected. I’m in the Army, I didn’t tell anyone when I first joined because I didn’t want anyone to stop me.
- Not following the faith you were born into. I recognise as being Sikh but have never strictly followed the religion
- The only Indian clothes I own are the ones my mum has bought me but she has great taste!
- Doing activities that are not classed as “normal.” I spend my free time doing endurance events, the photo is me digging a snow hole in the Cairngorms and I’m training to go to Antarctica
I’ve grown more confident about my identity as I’ve gotten older. I don’t have to try to be Asian, I am Asian even if people think I “act white.” There isn’t a box that I have to try and fit into. Instead, let’s encourage people to be unique and not have to follow what is expected of them.
- Appreciate the small things
You learn to appreciate the small things.
Keeping warm became a luxury in the last few days in Greenland. We were only sleeping a few hours at a time. The nalgene hot water bottles were a luxury. One bottle would go straight into my sleeping bag to my feet and I would hug the other one!
I also started drinking just hot water from my thermos, not something I would usually do but it was just what I wanted.
I was also eating less the late few days trying to avoid going out in the storm to go to the toilet. I would struggle to finish my dinner on the days I was tired and would have to force most of it down. The creamy pasta with pork was one of my favourite meals and I never had an issue with that. The porridge was the hardest thing to digest. I’ll start eating it again in the new year, I needed a break for a while!
I had lost approx 5kg by the end of the expedition. Nutrition is key, making sure you’re eating enough calories and the right things. I’ll be trying my expedition food again in the New Year and trialling different food.
- Believe in yourself
Recently I was asked what advice I would give to others that wanted to go on their own adventures.
Believe in yourself and don’t wait! I know it’s so easy to say but just taking that first step is huge.
I’m very impulsive and if I want to do something, I will generally find a way! Sometimes there will be obstacles but then I will work around then. I’ll squeeze it in if I have to. I’m also very stubborn..
I decided I wanted to join the Army when I was 19, I didn’t actually tell anyone because I didn’t want anyone to stop me. It’s still one of the best decisions I made.
I decided I want to do an expedition in Antarctica. Why? I want to inspire people to believe they can do anything. It’s not that common as an Indian female and I do believe that representation matters. I want my 8 yr old niece to believe she can achieve anything. Imagine, if you grow up thinking like that. The possibilities are endless.
- Tent Bound
Being tent bound for 6 days due to storms was tough.
The relief of getting back into the tent out of the wind after shovelling snow for hours. I would take a few seconds before attempting to delayer.
My goggles would freeze up in a few minutes so there was no point in wearing them. My buff has ridden up from covering my nose. My zip was generally frozen so I couldn’t take the jacket off as soon as we got in.
When we got back into the tent, it was always my toes that took the longest to warm up. We had to get the stove running straight away. My fingers would lose their dexterity quickly so lighting a match wasn’t always that easy.
When water was boiled, it would go straight into our Nalgene bottles and into my sleeping bag to warm up my toes. Everything was damp, I made a few attempts to try and dry my down jacket with the hot nalgene water bottle but it didn’t actually dry until we were off the ice.
We stayed in the tent for a few hours, warming up before heading back out again. Back to shovelling the snow so the tent wouldn’t get buried in the storm. Definitely one was to build resilience!
- The Northern Lights
My journey back was not smooth at all. I was frustrated that nothing seemed to be going my way. I remember looking up and just thinking wow. At first it looked like a faint grey light and then would turn into this beautiful aurora. It’s at times like this, I remembered that I’m in such an incredible place.
I saw them a few times, once on the icecap when we were building a wall for the storm at 0200, on the East and West Coast. This photo was taken by the hostel manager on the east coast on his iPhone.
The journey back was still challenging, especially when I was feeling physically and mentally tired. When we finally got off the Greenland Icecap, I wanted to get home as soon as possible.
I spent a few days on the phone to Air Greenland trying to get 2 of us on a flight that had 1 space, I managed to get us on the flight. We took a pretty rough 1hr boat ride (open boat, no life jackets). I held my breath every-time I saw a big wave coming toward us! 2hrs before the flight, we were told it was delayed and had to wait in Kulusuk for 3 days, a small town on the East Coast with approx 240 inhabitants.
I was frustrated at this point, I just wanted to get back. None of the return journey went smoothly. Our hotel booking was messed up on the West coast so we were waiting outside at 2200 for the hostel owner to find us different accommodation.
Our luggage (which we sent at the start of the expedition to the west) with our clean clothes in had been sent back to the east a few days before we arrived. So I was still in my expedition clothes.
Sometimes you just have to laugh (or cry!). It was so nice to get home and get into clean clothes. I still don’t have my luggage (with the clean clothes) but hoping I’ll get it back in the next few weeks).
Every part of this trip was an adventure, even the times that I was not on the ice cap. I just have to remember that wherever I am, just to take a minute, appreciate how I got there and take it all in!
- London Marathon
Virtual London Marathon completed!
A week ago, I wasn’t sure I would be doing the London marathon this year. I had just come off Greenland ice cap and was physically and mentally tired.
A few days before I flew back to the UK, the travel isolation rules were introduced. I had my race number and decided to see how I felt this morning. I also didn’t have my trainers because they are in my luggage in the east of Greenland, so I would have to do it in my boots..
This morning, I thought I’ll do a few miles and then see how I feel. I can walk/jog in the house/garden. When I was about 2 miles in, I thought, if I can do 2 miles, I can definitely do 26.2… I’ll just take my time!
And that is exactly what I did. I took my time. My legs were tired before I started. I walked/jogged in my boots and completed the 26.2 miles. I had a few breaks in between and it took over 7 hrs. It took double the time it usually takes me but it didn’t matter today. I’m glad I completed it, in my boots during my isolation.
If you want to do something, you’ll find a way!
- 27 Days on the Ice
I spent 27 days on the Greenland ice cap/ice fall, covering approximately 400km of the east coast.
I was told that the conditions in the Fall were much more challenging than the Spring. We had even worse conditions than usual. According to Lars, this is the longest anyone has been tent bound due to weather on a Greenland Exped
My journey didn’t go to plan but what journey does. I was initially disappointed that we didn’t reach the west coast but realised I have learnt everything I wanted and more.
We had difficult weather throughout due to the hurricanes in the Caribbean. Whiteouts, snow, rain, high winds and we’re unfortunate to have 11 days of storms throughout where we were unable to travel.
The last 6 days were spent in our tent, getting up every few hours to dig the tent out, getting wet and cold every few hours digging our way out of the ongoing storm and rationing fuel at the end. We did feel like we were on a survival trip by the end!
It was difficult but if anything, I now feel more prepared for my next training trip. The skills I’ve learnt on this expedition have been invaluable and will no doubt help me when I reach Antarctica
A huge thank you to Are Johansen for your support and guiding me
Thank you to my expedition manager Lou Rudd for managing my social media and Dave for updating my blog and both for keeping morale high.
Thank you Jenny Wordsworth, your in reach was invaluable!
And thank you for all of your kind and supportive messages! No longer disappointed but proud of what I have achieved so far. I’m also happy now that I’ve had a Coke!
- Greenland – Updates
Day 3 – We’re finally off the ice fall and onto the ice cap. It was hard work getting through the never ending ice fall on the east side. There were crevasses every few metres, it was icy and hilly and it rained continuously on the 3rd day! It took hours just to walk a few kilometres, trying to navigate our way through the crevasses. We were on foot throughout pulling both pulks it would be impossible to have skis on here. We have passed hundreds of crevasses, cracks, rivers, open water and hills. We had to stop our pulks falling down crevasses on numerous occasions. Wet, hungry and knackered after the 10hr day of going uphill through an icy crevass field and happy to be on the icecap! Ready for another day.
Day 9 – Nothing comes easy. Since getting onto the ice fall, we’ve had 3 storms with winds up to 97kph and gusts up to 107kph, snow and whiteouts. Snow means soft ground and breaking trail which is physically demanding. A whiteout is like staring at a blank white wall in front of you so I’m constantly staring at my compass. We’ve been tent bound for the storms, we’ve dug in our tent and built a 2m high wall so the wind would go over the tent. Half the tent was still buried in snow in the morning so we then dig ourselves out. It’s been tough going trying to make our way to the summit but we’re not far off now. Every day we make progress and brings us one step closer.
Day 16 – We’re sat in our tent on our 7th day of storms on this trip, unable to travel. A few days go we had to make the tough decision to turn around and head back to the east coast as we would not have made it to the west coast in time. Weather conditions have been tough, snowfall and whiteouts make it hard work and it feels like we’re just dragging the pulks. We got up at 0100 this morning to unbury the tent which was half covered in snow and are continuing this routine every few hours as the wind changes direction in this snow storm. Otherwise, the frost nip on my nose is slowly healing (we hit approx -33 deg about a week ago), my nose is now constantly covered when outside! Hoping we will be able to move soon.
Photos courtesy of Louis Rudd (as Preet cant transmit photos back from the ice cap).
- Greenland – Day 1
The boat ride took us to our start point in Isortoq. It was a rough 4 hours with 5-6m waves hitting us in every direction. I might have been sick a few times! Luckily I felt better when we arrived in Isortoq and we spent the next 6 hrs taking all of our kit up and down mountainous terrain and there was some scrambling too!
We took 4 trips up and down at various points until we got to our sheltered cabin for the night. It started raining as we got in the cabin.
We now need the sky to clear before we navigate the crevasse field on the east side.
(sent via inreach text)
- Four flights, a helicopter and a boat
Yes, it took four flights, a helicopter and a boat to get to the start line. About to get on the boat in the next hour and then no internet for a while.
Very excited to start! The last day and a half have been spent sorting all of our equipment, buying our food and packing everything! My pulk (sled) weighs about 80kg and I have enough treats for the journey!
My trusty Casio watch broke yesterday which was great timing but have “fixed it” with cord and tape.
We have stayed at The Red House for the last two nights and Robert (the owner)has been amazing, literally drove us everywhere to get our fuel, food and equipment and invited us for food.
The next update will be when I’m on the ice!
- One step closer
We got negative Covid re-tests!! I’m SO relieved!! We’ve spent 6 nights in the west of Greenland, Nuuk. This was mandatory before flying to the East. Me and Are took Covid tests in our respective countries before arriving in Greenland and again, five days later in Greenland. So we’re Covid free and good to go!
The first 5 days were spent in quarantine, luckily we had WiFi in our apartment and cooking facilities. We spent time route planing and sorting logistics. 150 waypoints are in my GPS. You can see some of them in the GPX screenshot below.
I downloaded some films on Netflix, audio books and songs all ready for the expedition. The films are there for when the storm hits and we’re stuck in the tent.
We had time to explore for a day and see some of the breathtaking views that Nuuk has.
At the airport now, ready to fly to Tasiilaq where we will be buying all our food and fuel! We’ll be on the ice soon!
- Getting to Greenland
Well this has been a journey in itself! I had decided last year that I was going to do the fall crossing in 2020. I would’ve finished my MSc exams and it fits in well with Summer Leave at work.
With Covid restrictions, the plan had been cancelled… up until a week ago. I was looking into every possibility of getting there. I would have to fly to the West of Greenland, do 5 days of quarantine, get a negative Covid re-test and then fly to the East, prep all the kit, get on a boat to the start and then start the crossing…. of course I was going to do it!!
I spent that week in England, contacting everyone to borrow as much kit as possible, Mike Fisher, Jenny Wordsworth and Louis Rudd have all been incredibly helpful!
You require a negative Covid test within 5 days of travelling to Greenland from a Scandinavian country. I contacted the authorities and managed to get an English Centre approved.
The easiest way for me to get to Nuuk (the West where I had to quarantine) was via Copenhagen. This is where I met Are Johansen (my guide). Our flight was the next day so we spent one night in Copenhagen before flying to Kangerlussuaq. This will be my finishing point too! From there we took a smaller flight to Nuuk. We had 90kg in our checked in baggage, this doesn’t include the 1kg of m&ms I had stuffed in my pockets..
And we made it to Nuuk! Only 5 days of quarantine to go, my Covid retest is on Monday and then fly to Tasiilaq.
“I may not be there yet but I’m closer than I was yesterday” and I will get there, I just know it
- Take your own advice
I find it’s always easier to give other people advice, not just in my role as a physio but for most things.
We are generally our own worse critics. I sustained an injury a few months ago and kept pushing through because I wanted to train. A few training trips were cancelled with Covid, so part of me felt like I wanted to train harder. I felt like I haven’t really achieved much this year, other than winter training, polar training , first year of my MSc. It’s so easy to forget! I would tell my friends to not be so harsh on themselves, take their time and make sure they rehab. Why couldn’t I take my own advice!
I decided I needed to train smart. I wrote my programme down with sets and reps, you’re much more likely to stick to it and remember if it’s all written down, it works for me anyway. My injury (tendinopathy) required gradual loading so I took a step back, stopped over loading (by running) and started with the basics. It was frustrating not being able to run, especially when the weather has been so nice.
I’m finally starting to come out the other side and even managed to get back to some tyre dragging. Things started to improve when I started training smart and I’m ready for my next training trip. I’m still not sure what this will be as it depends on restrictions on parts of the country. I have a few back-ups plans too so I’m sure I will be doing one of them in August.
I’ve been doing my rehab exercises, working and took my little sister up Mam Tor in the Peak District for her 10thBirthday (I give the best gifts..)
Have you ever just wanted something so much that you will do anything it takes to get there. That’s how I feel. It’s time to be smart about it. Don’t get frustrated over the small things, like when you’re tyre gets stuck around a tree in the woods. I don’t need to waste my energy on that.
‘Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting’
- Mental Health Awareness
A few people in my life have been struggling with their mental health recently. People have also spoken to me about feeling low as they are unable to see family, friends or have had holidays or events cancelled. However, they feel bad because so many people are in a worse position.
I don’t think we should feel bad or make each other feel bad for feeling low at a time like this. It is completely understandable to feel this way. Be kind to yourself and take one step at a time.
I used to think not talking about my emotions made me stronger, I didn’t want to appear ‘weak.’ It doesn’t matter how strong and resilient you are, keeping it all inside can be overwhelming. What I’ve learnt is this, talking more about my emotions has just made me stronger. I am so grateful to all the people in my life that support me. Thank you.
I’m in the middle of my MSc and one of the modules I’m taking is Exercise Medicine. One of the components is physical activity and mental health. National guidelines recommend physical activity for persistent mild-moderate depression in group settings with support from an instructor, typically 3 session per week. This is not as easy with social distancing however there are more and more classes available online. I know more than a few adults that love PT with Joe.
If I’m feeling low, these are some of the things that help me:
Staying in touch – It’s more difficult know that we’re inside but keep in touch with people over the phone or online. Feel free to send me a message if you don’t know who to talk to.
I know I always feel better after speaking to my niece over zoom. We played snakes and ladders today, she won this round. I’ll get payback next week. I usually travel a lot and have great people in my life that keep me company at 0200, during long trips or when I am waiting at the airport (the picture at the airport below was pre-isolation..)
Be more active – if you feel up to it, go for a short walk or join in one of the many classes online. I know that this is easier said than done. I’m usually really active and find it difficult to slow down. Just take one step at a time, even sitting for less periods will be helpful.
Try to maintain a healthy diet – I always find I eat better when I have planned my meals. My mum is diabetic and has started doing the same.
Have a routine – Its easy to get into poor sleeping patterns. Try keeping a diary to help you with routine. This can include meals and physical activity. I have a training routine when I have something I am training for. I am currently still training for my next training expedition.
Make mini goals – something you have control over. ‘Today I will get out of bed and have a shower’. Recently mine have been ‘complete my essay and prepare for exams!’ I like to move around and have recently been enjoying revising outside sat on my roll mat. Or build a fort – I was very proud and excited by our bed sheet fort (see pic below).
I am by no means any kind of expert, these are just some of the things that helped me in the past. Spending two months in Antarctica alone will definitely be challenging and I will do all of the things above to help me prepare.
If you’re struggling, please reach out and talk to someone. You are not alone.
My quote today:
‘Your illness does not define you’
- 1000 Burpees Later
Today, the Army and Navy Women’s Rugby Teams were going to make history by playing their first Army vs Navy fixture at Twickenham. They still wanted to mark the occasion and decided to do 82,000 burpees together to raise money for the NHS. As the physio for the 7s team, I’ve been able to see a few of these incredible ladies in training and matches. It has been a pleasure working with them and taking part in this challenge.
I completed 1000 burpees. I started early and did them in 20s and they progressively got slower, by the end I was doing sets of 5. I can honestly say that this challenge has not made me like burpees… what a shock!
So far, over £15,000 has been raised for the NHS and over 86,000 burpees pledged!! It has been such an epic feeling to be part of this challenge. People have been doing more than they pledged so the final number will be higher and no, I did not do more than 1000 burpees.
The next question, what should I do next weekend? I’ll try to stop making the titles sound like horror movies too (24 hours later and 1000 burpees later..)
My quote of the day is from Theodore Roosevelt:
‘Believe you can and you’re half way there’
It isn’t always that easy to believe in yourself. It has taken me a while but when you do, it opens up so many possibilities.
- 24 Hours Later
Thank you so much to everyone that joined in the 24 hour step up challenge, your support and messages kept me going throughout! I absolutely loved all of your step up videos, they were creative, funny and inspiring.
It was a really long day but so worth it! I had a nice set up in the garden, I’m so glad it didn’t rain… The dark hours were the most difficult but I had a few phone calls to keep me going and I also had food brought to me throughout. I should do these 24 hour challenges more often!
The video below was put together of everyone that joined in, thank you Jonathan Fawke for creating the video. All of your donations have raised over £1800 for the NHS!
I worked for the NHS for a few years before joining the Army. A lot of my friends and previous colleagues still do, part of me feels sad I can’t be working with them right now. The other part, is incredibly proud of them.
My quote of the day is taken from Mother Teresa.
“None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.”
Stay safe everyone x
- Step up for the NHS
I was supposed to be dragging a tyre around London Marathon this weekend, which has now been postponed until October and so I was wondering if there is anything else I could do inside the house. I did consider burpees for 24 hours, luckily I was persuaded against that idea! What could I do inside the house which could also get other people involved? Step ups! I was quite proud of the title if you see what I did there..
I will be completing 24 hours of step ups to raise money for the NHS. The 24 hours will run from Fri 24 Apr 1400 to Sat 25 Apr 1400. I will be posting live updates every hour and possibly streaming it live. Keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram links (@polarpreet)
The aim is to get as many people involved as possible!
How to join in:
- Complete step ups in your own home for as long as you want and record it (time lapse or a short video)
- Post online and tag me (insta and Facebook: @polarpreet)
- Make a £5 donation to the JustGiving page:
Would love for as many people to get involved as possible!
The photos on the blog are from other endurance events (Mt Kenya, Morocco, the Alps and a Military competition) .
Quote of the day:
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
- Norway (part 2)
After Norway (part 1), I spent a busy 2 weeks in the UK which included Army work, MSc work, getting kit for my next Norway trip, a hen do and I went swimming.
I’m not a swimmer but a good friend of mine is training for an ironman (which I also said I would do..). Anyway, after no swimming for at least 2 years, I went to an hour class. It was great but tiring. Will I go back, of course I will J
After two weeks in England, I flew back to Norway. This time I went to Finse for a Polar Training Course that I booked a few months ago to make sure I had a good baseline for future training trips.
On arrival in Finse, I couldn’t see much apart from blowing snow, at least I had the right weather conditions! Hannah McKeand runs the course and has an immense knowledge of polar travel, however she wasn’t able to stay for long as she was going on a North Pole expedition herself. Therefore we were left in the capable hands of our guides, Devon and Denise, who both have a wealth of polar knowledge and experience. Safe to say, I was surrounded by the perfect people to learn from.
The first week we spent some time in lessons on nutrition, polar travel, navigation, camping, comms, weather and everything else we would need for the expedition phase. We practiced pulling our weighted sleds and going up and down hills, which definitely took some getting used to! We tied string on all the zips of the tent so that they were easier to open when it got very cold. Small but important things that I wouldn’t have thought of without guidance.
Over the weekend, we packed our sleds with all of the necessities. This included enough food for 6 six days. We had freeze dried food for morning and evening meals and snacks for lunch. It is important to get the calories in but also try to keep the weight as light as possible. My favourite snack was ‘smash.’ This was created by the Norwegians and is basically salted corn covered in milk chocolate. They are so tasty! I had a mixed bag of nuts, raisins, chocolate and smash. Also, you can take cheese on the expedition so I really couldn’t complain!We packed our fuel, cooking equipment, a spare pair of clothes, our sleeping system and off we went.
I started off navigating with the compass which is attached to a holder on your chest so you don’t have to carry it. It was pretty windy on day 1 and became more difficult to navigate during a white out. For safety there was always another team member checking navigation on their gps as a backup.
We would stop every hour for a 10 min break to recharge with water and snacks. You get into a routine quite quickly. Find a good place to stop, flatten the snow as required, put the tent up, cover the guide lines, dig out the kitchen, sort admin, start cooking. Eat, sleep and repeat.
I had a pretty epic fall on this trip, on day 2 when navigating in a white out I stepped forward and the ground just wasn’t there anymore. I don’t really remember the fall, just feeling a pain in my arm and hearing Edward still at the top of the hill shouting ‘she’s disappeared!’ I got to my feet and touched my clavicle (collar bone) and shoulder to feel for injuries and just shouted ‘don’t come down’ I unclipped my sled and ran half way up the hill and as a team we got everyone down. It wasn’t until the evening that I noticed the nice purple bruise on my arm (see photo below). Turns out my sled wacked me in the arm.. Luckily no serious injuries! It’s gone now and I kind of miss it..
By day 3, the weather had cleared and we could actually see where we were going! It was my favourite day. There was a fair amount of up and down and breaking trail which was hard work but it was so beautiful. The next few days were the same with the weather until the last day.
I’m going to finish there and my inspiration for the day came from a teenage girl, I can’t remember her exact age but she was under 15. She gave a speech about her experiences so far. She had done a lot, including the Amundsen race after persuading them to let her enter even though the entry age is usually 18. Anyway, she said something along the lines;
It is about the journey, enjoying every day we’re out there.
How many people look at the end goal, rather than enjoying the experience on the way? This isn’t about winning anything. It is about trying to achieve something great, following the inspirational people before me and hopefully enabling me to be a role model.
- Norway (part 1)
This blog is a little later than planned and it is about my activities in January! I made it to Norway after my ultramarathon and got used to being on skis again!
I spent two weeks Nordic skiing on this trip. It is like cross country skiing, with thinner skis. The first week we went over our ski technique, waxing our skis and even had a day of alpine. I definitely prefer going uphill.. We covered a good amount of ground daily and it was nice to go on a journey. We carried our backpack which contained warm and wet kit, food (a priority) and a shovel. Falling on my backpack was not so fun, however I did have a lot of practice getting off the floor with skis and my not so light bag!
There was a lot of going up and down hill which was good fitness. The expedition phase included staying in Norwegian huts which were incredible. I got to chop some wood (only the smaller bits that were easy to chop…) and we made a fire. The last day of the expedition phase was a very long hilly 20 miles. I was very happy to come back to some daim cake. I had daim cake for the first time on this trip and it was AMAZING!
We went through other useful skills too such as digging snow holes and avalanche drills with our transceivers too. It gets hot when you’re digging!
Overall, it was great to be back on skis and cover some miles. Next step: add a sled.
My inspirational quote is one that my brother sent me on Instagram:
‘There are people less qualified than you doing the things you want to do, simply because they decide to believe in themselves’
So, my message today is believe in yourself. You are generally capable of so much more than you realise.
- Christmas Time
Over Christmas I started pulling my tyre. I was really excited about this and now have tyres located in different areas of the UK, ready for my training sessions. I could feel my glutes and hamstring muscles working straight away! I’ve started with 40 minutes sessions and I will gradually build this up over time. As this becomes easier, I will also add another tyre.
I had written exams for my MSc last weekend and I thought why not celebrate by running an ultramarathon. A few days ago, I completed Country to Capital Ultramarathon, from Wendover to London. It was supposed to be 43 miles but Strava tells me I completed 44.. I haven’t ran over 10 miles over the last few months which made the last stretch a bit more difficult! I did the event alone but met some lovely people on route. What a great way to start the year!
Two days late and I’m in Norway for some Nordic ski training, building up my endurance on skis. Something I will definitely need for my expedition.
I spent some time with my niece (my favourite person) over Christmas and she told me she wants to go to the North Pole (to visit Santa). Hopefully she’ll still be impressed by me travelling to the South Pole! She also bought me my now favourite mug (see picture below)
My inspirational quote of the day:
When you ask yourself, can you do more? The answer is usually yes.
I’m not sure where this quote came from originally and I’m sure it can be interpreted in many ways. For me, it means don’t hold back. You’d be amazed at what you can achieve if you put your mind to it.
- The Start
It started as an idea. What can I do that pushes my boundaries and helps me inspire younger people? It would have to be endurance related. Something in a harsh environment. . . Antarctica. I started reading more about Antarctic explorers, the incredible journeys of Amundsen and Scott, recent expeditions and blogs. My idea started to grow and I now have a plan.
I’m very excited to have Louis Rudd on board as my expedition manager. Louis completed a solo and unassisted crossing of Antarctica in 2018. You can see why I am excited to have him on board. We had a look at training plans, required kit, nutrition, how to prepare myself mentally and physically. At the end of our meeting, I’m feeling more and more motivated. He has given me a book on the first crossing of Greenland. Guess where one of my training trips will be…
Earlier this year, I returned from South Sudan, where I spent 6 months as the physiotherapist on a UN tour with the British Army. In my spare time, I decided to organise a 30 hour endurance event over a 2 week period in 3 different locations. I completed a total of 125 miles and members of the UK taskforce would join me from anything from 1-12 hours. My highlight of this was getting others involved and a lot of people completing more distances than they ever had before (26 to 50 miles).
After the 6 month tour, I spent a week in the UK before flying to South America where I spent time hiking in Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. After this trip, I had a week to prepare for Marathon des Sables, 156 mile race in the desert. I entered the event alone but at the end of the 6 days, had made some great friends in my tent (or more accurately a rug thrown over some sticks). It was very hot throughout and we experienced a nice sand storm which blew our tent away on one of the nights! The highlight was being given a coke zero (my achilles heel) on day 5 and finishing of course. I am still thinking of what morale I will take to Antarctica with me..
Over the last few weeks, I have been mountaineering and wild camping in Wales. It was wet and windy but we had some beautiful views when the clag cleared. I’m heading to Norway over the next few months, learning polar navigation and practicing puling a sled. I picked up some land rover tyres and will start training with them over the next few weeks!
My eight year old niece recently told me she was scared to try skiing again at the snowdome. We last went when she was six. I said its ok to be scared and she replied but you’re never scared. I explained that isn’t actually true, I get scared a lot of the time but life is an adventure and when I think about everything that can be achieved, being scared isn’t important anymore. I’m not sure I’ve persuaded her to go skiing again though.
I love an inspirational quote. To end this post here is a quote from Laura Dekker, who is the youngest person (aged 16) to circumnavigate the globe single-handedly.
I follow my own head. And if I’m determined to do something, then I’ll make sure that I make it happen. – Laura Dekker