- Pushing out of your comfort zone
Pushing out of your comfort zone can be absolutely anything. A few weeks ago, after “a little..” persuasion, my mum (aged 56) went on her first ever mountain ⛰️
She likes to walk, mainly done on pavements local to home. She made it about an hour from the top of the ⛰️, I’m so proud of her for pushing out of her comfort zone and getting that far. Next year we’ll go again with Khalsa Aid and hopefully it won’t be as much of a push out of her comfort zone.
The unknown can be scary but it is amazing what we can learn about ourselves when we take that first step. How much we grow and hopefully encourage others to push their boundaries too.
The walk up Snowdon was with Khalsa Aid and it is an amazing day meeting so many different people from the community, all for a great cause.
Khalsa Aid: Recognise the Human Race as one 🙏🏽
- The school competition
Running this competition was very close to my heart. When organising anything, it can be a bit stressful! Working full time, planning my exped, training and then trying to organise this competition. But it was so worth it!
I fell quite a lot in Antarctica, I faced many low moments. I would often look back at my sled at these 11 logos and smile.
Being able to announce the school winners each week and their words (why their logo should come to Antarctica) was a joy.
It took me a while to post this photo because I wanted to give it to all of the school winners first along with a small gift. I have now visited all of the winners of the school competition.
Thank you all so much for taking part in the competition, it has been so lovely to meet you all 💜
I’m quite a passionate speaker, passionate about wanting to inspire people and show them they can push any boundaries so I hope this comes across in the talks.
Unfortunately I am unable to attend anymore schools. I’m back in my full time Army role and grateful that they allowed me the time to go to these school 🙌🏽
📸 all the logos on my sled. Taken just under 24hrs after finishing and about to leave Antarctica.
Whenever I come back from an expedition, I always receive comments about me being a millionaire and I have no idea where that comes from! The comments are generally from adults..
Maybe because I have been seen on the news – I do not get paid for the interviews.
I am in the Regular Army but took unpaid leave from work to do this expedition. My role in the Army is as a physiotherapist.
There is a huge contrast between the two expeditions I completed. Phase one was 700 miles to the Pole. Phase two was 922 miles. Other than the difficulty level, when I got back from phase one, I was in a lot of debt. I used my life savings and more to train for the expedition. This was a low point for me in training, I had used all of my money on training instead of for a house deposit and I still had no sponsors.
It took me over a year and a half to get my first sponsor on board for this trip. I emailed 10-15 companies daily and I’ll never forget the email when the first sponsor came on board.
For phase two, I was not being paid for the expedition as I took unpaid leave from work. I did not earn money from either exped but for phase two I did get enough sponsors to cover the cost of the expedition. This means I did not come back in debt 🙌🏽
The training and expeditions were tough but I also wouldn’t change any of it.
I’m not certain exactly what the future holds and there is a lot I want to do.. but I am currently back in my full time Army role.
One thing I can tell you is that I won’t ever stop pushing those boundaries..
📸 taken approx 4 hrs after finishing phase 2. On the plane on the way back to Union Glacier. Smiling because I know I get to have a shower in a few hours 😂
It feels strange to post my two Guinness world records with the title failure but hear me out.
My aim was to complete a solo unsupported expedition of Antarctica and finish at Reedy Glaicer. I fell about 100 miles short and failed to meet my initial aim. When I finished, I’ll admit I felt disappointed.
But when I use the word failure now I don’t mean it to come with negative connotations. I failed to reach my initial aim. I had to change the goal and that’s exactly what I did. I kept going for as long as I could. I finished on the 23 Jan 2023, the last passenger flight out of Antarctica was on the 24 Jan. I pushed as long and hard as I could.
So here I am, recognising and owning (probably for the first time) my achievement. I don’t know why I have this habit of downplaying the things I do. I have come across a lot of people I thought were arrogant and I wanted to be as far away from that as possible. I hope I can be humble, these achievements are only possible because of those that helped me get here (ALE, sponsors, every person that helped me train etc).
While I was on the ice, a post was put out that claimed my exped was solo, unsupported and unaided. The word unaided is no longer used in the polar expedition classification system. I don’t personally post on my social media while I’m on the ice but of course take full responsibility for anything posted. The last thing I would ever want to do is exaggerate or “enhance” any achievements.
I believe unaided was previously used to explain that I had no other aids (eg, kite support) which I did not have but as the term is no longer recognised.
I have removed the post using the word “unaided” and apologise for any confusion caused.
- Ups and downs
My injury is healing well and my body is starting to feel back to its normal self. Though for the last three years I’ve constantly been trying to put weight on for the 2021/2022 expedition and then the most recent expedition. Now I’m trying to get back to a healthier diet and not constant snacking!
I’ve also been picking up smaller illnesses recently and realise I’m not quite back to full health.
I am currently doing engagements but these are mainly for my expedition sponsors. I notice I feel very tired after an engagement and I’m for once not trying to squeeze too much in!
I’m trying to take much better care of myself this year. Last year after my expedition, I was completing a lot of school talks and engagements and working full time. I realise now that I didn’t give myself anytime to recover from that trip.
This year I’m taking my time and looking after myself more.
It is incredibly heartwarming to have so many requests for engagements and school talks. Sadly I can’t manage a lot of them at this time.
I’m not quite sure what the future holds for now but I have no doubt boundaries will continue to be pushed 🙌🏽 with some down time in between..
📷 Dressing change pre surgery at Derby Hospital. I was looked after brilliantly by the whole team. Will update re: injures recovery with photos soon.
- Recovery update:
Recovery update: I’m getting there.. The hardest thing is being patient with myself.
I’m over 2 weeks post operation. My dressings are being changed weekly (still rocking the dressing in all my photos..) The donor site (my left thigh – where my graft was taken from) is the most painful part. I feel like my energy is much better but still feel tired after walking for around 15 minutes. I’m still keeping my leg elevated whenever I can and have limited the swelling.
I have been snacking a lot since I have been back and started getting a lot of tooth pain. I hate tooth pain.. It definitely distracted me from my leg though..
I think this is the first time I had to tick yes to so many things on my initial dental paperwork..
Have you been in hospital for anything recently ☑️
Have you been snacking a lot ☑️
Have you been having a lot of fizzy drinks ☑️
I know the last two aren’t great but I’m still enjoying the “I can eat and drink what I want” but I will start to get back into a routine at some point.. anyway, the dentist has put me on antibiotics and the tooth pain is settling.
I still haven’t left the house that much but have been to some big events when I do. Last week I went to Windsor castle with my family. I don’t own no.1 dress (what I’m wearing) and want to thank my fellow sisters in the Army for not only offering their no.1 dress but also bringing it to my home address..
Every time I’ve left the house I’ve been helped a lot with lifts and making sure I don’t have to walk far. Thank you so much 🙏🏽
I haven’t managed to catch up on emails/messages/social media. Trying to focus on recovery though 💜
📸 my mum and her favourite child 😜
Surgery went well yesterday, thank you all for your lovely messages 🙏🏽
I had a wound debridement and a split skin graft. So the wound was cleaned on my left calf, skin was shaved from my left thigh and placed onto the wound.
I had the option of having a spinal anaesthetic as everything was being taken below the waist, I took this option so I was awake for the procedure but everything below my waist very numb and I couldn’t feel anything.
The procedure was pretty quick and then I went back to a room to wait for the feeling to come back into my legs.
My left leg is bandaged from upper thigh to above my ankle. The skin graft is close to my knee so I want to prevent too much knee bending and I’m keeping the limb elevated. I’m wearing my mountain equipment trousers which have a long zip on the side so it’s easy to put them on over the dressing.
The surgery was done as a day case so I was home for the evening. It does feel a little strange being a patient as I’m usually on the other side but everyone has been so amazing.
A huge thank you to everyone at Derby Royal Hospital and everyone involved in helping me.
I still have a few other injuries that are healing.
- Neck pain that I got early on in the exped from dragging a heavy pulk and looking down at the compass (since finishing my neck movement is coming back)
- a few superficial cold injuries that are healing. You can still see the ones on my cheeks and nose.
- a few smaller musculoskeletal niggles which are healing (luckily I know a good physio – that’s me by the way.. 😉)
Earlier this week, it was my homecoming event which was organised by my expedition sponsors.
Since I’ve come back to the UK, I haven’t left the house much. This was the most I had been out the house since I’ve been back. I felt exhausted when I got back to the UK on the 28 Jan but I’m feeling more alive daily and my body is recovering.
I was actually a little bit nervous about spending so much time out of the house. This is not like me at all, I’m usually quite an energetic person. My energy is coming back just not as quick as I want it to.
And I had nothing to feel nervous about. I got lifts to and back from the event and it was so lovely to see so many people that had supported me.
I was absolutely overwhelmed by all of the support in this room. Thank you everyone ❤️
And it was my birthday! I turned 34 and yes I’m wearing a birthday badge (thank you to Dave, my partner, for supplying the badge..). I love birthdays and love to celebrate them. I’m sure I’ll have further celebrations later in the year when I’m fully recovered. And I truly believe that birthday month is a real thing although Dave disagrees.
It was really nice to be able to dress up. I have a dressing on for my leg injury but decided to wear a dress anyway and I’m glad I did. You can see my dressing on the second photo but i think it adds to my style…
A huge thank you to everyone on the Lorraine show for doing my hair and makeup that morning!
*Warning – one of the images at the end of this post shows ab open wound of my calf*
I sometimes forget that I finished the expedition just over a week ago. My body still aches and I’m recovering from the cold injury on my calf (image below).
I lost 20kg in weight including fat and muscle (this photo was taken the day I finished at the ALE med centre in Union Glacier). I felt physically exhausted when I finished the expedition. I still don’t have much energy, I realised this very quickly on my flight back to the UK and found it difficult walking from my domestic to international flight with my 10kg backpack, something I would usually do with ease.
I first noticed the cold injury to my left calf in early Dec 22. The injury is named Polar thigh as it usually commonly on the thigh. The wind had been coming from the East (hitting my left calf first) for a few weeks. I had three layers of clothing over my calf (nothing tight fitting).
I became quite creative with my dressings and you can see my used cut up socks as additional dressings on my left leg.
It looked like a bruise to start and then started to scab over before the skin broke. I put a granuflex dressing on as soon as the skin broke and left it on for around 5 weeks. It was a bit painful in Antarctica but the pain was a lot worse when I was in Chile. As soon as I was out of Antarctica, the wound has gradually started to heal. I have been going into my local NHS hospital and I’m having my dressings changes every few days. Planning for surgery in around a week for a wash out and a skin graft. I have had so many amazing people help me and advise me about my injury.
I’m surrounded by my family who have been providing me with lots of food, taking me to the hospital and Sonia is still working on getting the huge knot out of my hair (we’re getting there)!
- Back in the uk
I have been back in the UK for four days and have just started going through some of your amazing comments. Just reading the posts on my final blog brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so so much for all of your support throughout my journey 🙏🏽❤️
It was so good to see my family at the airport, my mum even brought home made parathe with her (they did not last long…)
I haven’t left the house much since I’ve been back. I did go to the hairdressers to try and get this huge knot out of my hair (from not brushing my hair for 70 days) – it’s currently a work in progress.
My body is still pretty exhausted and I have to remind myself that I only finished the expedition a week ago and give myself some time to recover.
I haven’t reflected on the expedition much since I’ve been back but will definitely take the time to do so and continue to eat and sleep.
I’ve been very much enjoying the luxuries of sitting down to go to the toilet, having a warm bed and being able to eat whatever I want!
📸 my niece and nephew waiting for me at London Heathrow Airport
My luggage did not arrive at Heathrow so I came out carrying minimal kit. It was left in Madrid at my connection but we were reunited yesterday 🙂
- Phase 2 – Final
Hi everyone, apologies for the delay in posting the final blog. It has been a quick turnaround from finishing to travelling to Chile from Antarctica. I finished on the 23rd and wrote this blog post on the plane journey back to Union Glacier (the ALE camp). It took me 24 hours to reach the pick up point, it was a really tough day and I’m still pretty exhausted.
I’m disappointed that I ran out of time to make the crossing of Antarctica which would have been around another 100 miles. But I also feel I did everything I could. I didn’t take a single day off in 70 days and pushed the hours every single day.
I’m also proud of myself, I kept going when it was tough, when I thought I couldn’t do anymore. I wanted to continue to push my boundaries and hopefully inspire others to do the same.
I wanted to show that it does not matter where you are from, what you look like or what you start line is, you can truly achieve anything.
A lot of people told me that I would not be able to achieve things, wanted me to fit into a box, I’m sure the individuals would not admit that now but I’m so so glad I didn’t listen to them.
If a Punjabi woman from Derby can do this, then anybody can achieve anything
It was Rupi Kaur that said:
“I stand on the sacrifices of a million women before me thinking what can I do to make this mountain taller so the women after me can see farther”
I hope I have made that mountain a little taller. You are capable of so much, don’t let anybody tell you that you are not.
And finally to Antarctica – this is not a place you conquer, it is a place you treat with respect and hope it will allow you safe passage. Thank you for allowing me that safe passage.
And a few more words:
Aaj main ehi dakhona chaundi si, ke thusi kuch vi achieve kar sakde hai.
Main hamesha is expedition naal loka nu inspire karna chaundi si
Jeh Derby tho ik Punjabi kurri eh kar sakdi, thusi vi kuch vi achieve kar sakde hai
That’s all from me.
- Phase 2 – day 69
Hi Everyone. I had a really tough day. Came into a lot of Sastrugi, fell several times and travelled slowly and it was very cold. The water in my thermos flask even froze. I haven’t made it to my pickup flight yet but I am not far.
Over the last week I have been listening to some comedians (their audiobooks). Romesh Ranganathan, Tez Illyas, James Acaster, thankyou for keeping me company and making me laugh out loud. I got to see Nish Kumar and Tez Illyas earlier this year, they were brilliant. I am looking forward to watching Man Like Mobeen’s new season and of course Taskmaster.
I’m just feeling pretty tired and looking forward to coming home soon.
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 67
Hi Everyone. I dont have long to go now. Another long day, still pushing the hours while I can. The pilot is already at my pickup point and I am aiming to be there tomorrow. I am feeling very tired but I am still taking it a day at a time and hopefully just one more day to go.
I’m constantly hungry at the moment, I think I may have burned quite a lot of calories. I have been thinking a lot about food and when I get home, I’m looking forward to having my grandma’s parathe with amb da achar (mango pickle) but on the way home from the airport, I will likely stop for a Nandos.
I am looking forward to getting to the pickup point tomorrow. It’s been a tough journey but I am doing ok.
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 66
Hi Everyone. A tough day today. It was very cold and windy but I kept my breaks very short so I diddn’t get too cold. I diddn’t let my self stop earlier though because I wanted to get the miles in.
I have been given my pickup point which is about 30 nautical miles away from me. I’m pretty gutted that I dont have the time to complete the crossing. I know that I have done a huge journey, it’s just difficult while I’m on the ice and I know it’s not that far away.
Today I listened to the little voice notes which were sent to me before I left and they are amazing. It’s so nice to hear the voices of those closest to me. I have voice notes from my close family as well, so from my mum, my two older brothers and my niece Simran. I listened to childhood memories from my brothers, my mum telling me how excited she was about having a baby girl and how the midwife commented that she had never seen an Asian woman so excited about having a girl. And finally hearing my niece say its the most amazing thing she has seen anyone do in her entire life and it’s even more amazing because it’s her phuwa (auntie) doing it. It’s so precious to hear. I have not yet located the easter bunny or the tooth fairy, but I still have a couple of days left.
I love you all and can’t wait to see you all soon. That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 65
Hi Everyone. Had a long cold day today and it’s getting a bit windy as well. But when I’m in the tent I put boiling water in my nalgene water bottle which I first put by my feet before sleeping, then I hug it overnight to keep me warm.
So today I announce the final winner of the school competition. Simrat Soggi from Landau Forte College, Derby.
I love this logo, it is really creative and I love the meaning behind it.
Simrat said: ‘I was very inspired by Preet; an Asian woman from Derby, pushing herself to achieve dreams despite typical clichés and obstacles that Asian women can face. Being of Asian heritage, I can relate. Through hard work, the boundaries she is breaking to achieve her ambitions is admirable, giving me confidence that I can also achieve the same. My design celebrates and champions strong Asian women using:
- Mandala patterns and colour to resonate the beauty of Asian heritages.
- Logo ‘Break Boundaries’ to encourage young Asian women to push themselves.
- A map of Antarctica, reminding people of Preet’s expedition.’
Thank you so much Simrat, I love everything about this logo and the words to go with it.
- Phase 2 – day 63
Hi Everyone. I’m still doing quite long days which is why my blog isn’t quite daily. I dont have long left, so I’m just trying to get as far as I can before the pickup. It’s still pretty cold, especially when the sun isn’t out and the wind hits you. I haven’t lost any height (any altitude) since reaching the pole and I have actually climbed 100m according to my GPS. That doesn’t sound very much but you notice it when you’re dragging a pulk.
So I’m announcing the last two school winners this week.
Well done to Finlax Alger from the North West who says:
I think my logo design should win because the design isn’t too overcrowded with colours but isn’t too dull either. It also explains what and where Preet Chandi will be going. I put a penguin on a piece of ice because penguins live in Antarctica and ice melts and drifts away from the continent. There are my reasons why you should choose my design. Bye!
Thankyou so much for your logo. It looks amazing on my pulk with all the other logos.
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 62
Hi Everyone. I had low cloud today and I’ts very cold. The wind was hitting me from behind though which is so much better than hitting me in front, which it did for the first 700 miles. I forgot to share my map location yesterday so it will show the distance of two days.
I’ve talked about some of the struggles I had when I finished my expedition last year so I really want to do things differently when I get back this time and look after my mental health. I’m looking forward to being able to spend some time with those closest to me. I’m also looking forward to having a holiday (maybe somewhere warm for a change) and of course having several hen dos so if you have any holiday recommendations, please let me know!
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 61
Hi Everyone. So I’m still keeping up the long days. Because of that I’m not sleeping up so I’ll adjust my hours to make sure I’m getting the sleep. Last year I was so sleep deprived at one point I started hallucinating and I dont want to do that again. I am also just very tired and start moving very slowly when I go over 24 hours at once. It’s really cold today. In weather like this my breaks are short, just to get some food and fluid before continuing.
The more I do things that are different to what is expected of me, the more push back I receive. I have been called stupid, naive and many more words. When I get past the frustration, I realise that not everybody wants to see you succeed and often people want some control over you, that’s my experience anyway. It has often made me feel nervous, if this many people are standing against me, am I in the wrong? But the more I do the more confidence I gain and I will not let others control me anymore, I will not let anyone dim this light. Don’t let anyone dim your light.
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 59
Hi Everyone. I had good conditions today and no soft snow which was a relief, so much easier to move. I’m pushing my hours and miles now as I don’t have long left until I’ll be picked up.
So today I get to announce another school winner.
Zane Mistry from Stanley Primary School
I think that my logo should go to Antarctica so that Preet has an inspirational quote to help motivate her, I know she likes them. The penguin represents the Antarctic as this is where Preet is undertaking her adventure. I picked the quote because it sounds like it would be helpful if you feel doubtful and I want to wish her good luck as Antarctica is very big and cold so it might be hard to get through. The penguin has cute eyes and might cheer Preet up if she is feeling down.
Thank you so much Zane, I love your inspirational quote and has definitely motivated me.
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 58
Hi Everyone. Preet is pushing hard to get some extra miles in and therefore not putting a post up today. Please enjoy this short update instead.
The journey so far:
Preet is 58 days into the expedition and has just passed the South Pole. Her last GPS update showed that she has travelled 694.23 miles so far, solo and unassisted. She is now pushing towards the coast on the final phase of the exped.
The weather is currently -31 degrees centigrade and visibility has been poor for a lot of her journey so far. Despite the cold temperatures the snow is soft, which is making dragging the pulk harder and slowing her down. Some days she is walking for 15 hours plus to cover the distance needed. It takes her approximately 4 hours a day to melt snow for water, cook and eat, leaving her with 5-6 hours sleep each day.
- Phase 2 – day 57 – South Pole
Hi Everyone. I made it back to the South Pole, its a really incredible place to be. I didn’t stay very long as I still have a big journey to go. It has been really tough getting here this year. I have been skiing between 13 and 15 hours a day, averaging 5 hours sleep and not getting the mileage I want with the tough conditions.
My cutoff date is around 22nd Jan which means I will have to finish then. I could have finished at the South Pole but I thought about all the reasons I wanted to do this journey and wanting others to push their boundaries. So I’ll continue to push mine and do as much as I can in the time I have left.
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 56
Hi Everyone. Another day making my way through the snow. One more day and I should make it to the pole.
So, this is I would day a fairly big adventure and people will often say to me ‘My adventure is not as big as yours.’ I try not to ever underestimate somebody else’s achievements whatever they are, we never know how tough it was for them to get there and also no boundary or barrier is too small, no adventure is too small.
I know this is easier said than done, but try not to compare yourself to others. I don’t think it is helpful, you are on your own journey, focus on your goals and what you want in life.
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 55
Hi Everyone. Another day working my way through soft snow, but the sun was out which is always good for morale.
So, I did not know anything about Antarctica when I had this idea around August 2019. I didn’t even know where to start so I started on google. It has been a tough journey to get to this point, I have not found it easy at all.
I never thought I would be here or be able to achieve something like this. I’m just so glad I didn’t listen to the people that told me no.
It is ok if you cannot relate to the journey I’m doing, I understand that and it would’ve been me before I had the idea. If you take anything at all from this, please believe that you can achieve anything you want. I’m sure it will be hard work to get there but you can do it.
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 54
Hi Everyone. A lot of blowing snow today, I’ll often look back at my pulk to see why it still feels so heavy and see the track marks its leaving in the soft snow. It’s tough moving slowly but I’m a day closer to the pole.
This post goes out to the Regional Rehabilitation Unit Halton, this was the Army role I was working in before leaving. I loved the role and I think that is because I was working with such a great team. A lot of the team had the fun of trying my freeze dried meals as I would bring them in for lunch so I could trial them. I was rushing around all the time in this role, training before work, having meetings at lunch for expedition prep and I just want to thank everyone at RRU Halton for your support. Can’t wait to see you all when I get back!
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 53
Hi Everyone. Another day working my way through the powdery snow but also another closer to the pole.
I am now in the last degree and I wanted to talk about how I go to the toilet which is another question I got from most of the schools I visited. In this section, I carry poo bags with me and go to the toilet in the bag and put the bags at the back of my pulk. To go for a wee, I have a sheewee. When I am in the tent, I have a wee bottle and use the sheewee to wee in there. The wee does freeze if you leave it overnight so I always empty the bottle before going to bed!
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 52
Hi Everyone. Conditions are similar so far so still pretty slow going.
I get to announce another school winner today which is very exciting.
Ivy Rostron, age 7 from South Milford Primary School.
Ivy said: Please choose my logo because it is cute and I know you can do it.
On my logo I have drawn an emperor penguin. They live in Antarctica. I hope you see some! Another reason why you should choose my logo is because of the positive message the penguin is saying. I have drawn a reflective line around my logo so you can always see it.
Thank you Ivy, there are emperor penguins in Antarctica, sadly I have not seen any on the route I have taken but I love then penguin you’ve drawn especially with the quote ‘You can do this.’.
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 51
Hi Everyone. So I made it to the last degree which means I am just under 60 nautical miles from the South Pole. Sadly there’s still a lot of soft snow, there was also a whiteout and lots of wind today so difficult all round, but I made it through and am ready for the next day.
This post goes out to those training for their expeditions, I know a few people training to come to Antarctica, it is not an easy journey to get here. Please show them your support.
Sam Cox (@frozendagger) is aiming to complete a solo and unsupported crossing of Antarctica covering 1950km.
Jacob Myers (@youngesttopoleproject) is aiming to be the youngest person to complete a solo 700 mile expedition to the South Pole.
Gina Johansen (@ginajohansen91) is aiming to get the speed record from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole
Antarctic Fire Angels (@antarcticfireangels) are aiming to ski from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole.
I know they are all training hard to get here so please do show them your support.
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 50
Hi Everyone. Another long day but I’m getting closer to the south pole. The snow is still quite soft and powdery.
This post goes out to my two big brothers, Pard and Jag, I love the relationship we have. For rhakri this year, we tied bands on each other, traditionally it is when sisters tie a band on their brothers wrists for protection. This is the second year, they also tied the band on me for my protection too, this is something we will continue for years to come.
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 49
Hi Everyone. Another day through soft snow. Had low cloud this afternoon, it was difficult to see. I was just staring down at my compass in those conditions.
This post goes out to my partner Dave, who gets to wake up in the early hours every day for my check in call while I’m on this expedition. Thank you for being my rock. I miss you and your pancakes.
Happy new year everyone. That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 48
Hi Everyone. I’m still in a lot of soft snow, it’s difficult moving slowly through the snow. I’m still taking it a step at a time and then a day at a time as well.
This blog goes out to my mum who I know is waiting for this voicemail every day. She has always told me that she is not as strong and brave as me. In most of my birthday cards, she writes that she is sorry she could not give me enough. The truth is she has given me so much more than she knows. I still remember when she got a divorce and not many people stood by her in our community. So to my mum, thank you so much for showing me that you do not need to listen to the majority. You broke boundaries I did not even have to think about.
Also mum, I hope you have bought me an advent calendar this year. I will happily eat them all on one go when I’ve finished (that is what I do anyway!).
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 47
Hi Everyone. Another really tough day, the pulk feels very heavy dragging it in this soft snow. But still moving forward and will continue to do so.
I am a very proud phuwa (aunty), this post is for my niece and nephews. My niece, Simran turned 11 not long ago ago. My pulk (sled) is still named after her. My nephews Karanveer and Arjan (which still reminds me of the Indian movie), I have a ski each named after you. You’re all with me each step of the way and I can’t wait to see you when I get back.
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 46
Hi Everyone. The last couple of days have been pretty tough. A lot of soft snow and soft Sastrugi making it hard to drag the pulk, but I’m only 2 degrees from the pole so that’s a positive and I get to announce another school winner today for the school competition.
Clara Murray in year 3 from Kirk Fenton C of E Primary School.
Clara said “I think this should go to Antarctica because it is colourful and would stand out against the snow in Antarctica. If it got chosen, it would make me happy and proud.” I hope you are very proud Clara, I love your colourful logo and it definitely stands out on my pulk!
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 45
Hi Everyone. Another tough day again today . . .
Unfortunately due to poor signal Preet’s message message dropped out after 7 seconds today. She is in good health and will announce the next school winner tomorrow.
The journey so far:
Preet is 44 days, 15 hours into the expedition and has just passed the 88th degree. Her last GPS update showed that she has travelled 556.92 miles so far, solo and unassisted. She is rapidly closing in on the Pole and will likely reach it within the next 10 days.
The weather is currently -24 degrees centigrade and visibility has been poor for a lot of her journey so far. Despite the cold temperatures the snow is soft, which is making dragging the pulk harder and slowing her down. Some days she is walking for 15 hours to cover the distance needed.
Once she reaches the Pole, she will turn towards the coast for the final phase of the expedition which includes a glacier crossing before she hits the coast.
- Phase 2 – day 44
Hi Everyone. I’m getting towards the end of 87 degrees now which I’m happy about. There’s a lot of Sastrugi in this area, hoping there will be a little bit less as I get further south.
During my school talks, a lot of young women asked me how I managed my period which is a great question. I am carrying tampons and sanitary pads with me, I did not have a period on the last trip and I haven’t had one on this trip, but I am carrying the products with me just in case.
Having periods is a completely natural thing and I want to encourage people to talk about it. I always thought I wasn’t allowed to ask questions about my period and didn’t know much about it when I have my first period.
There are some great resources online too:
The Eve Appeal are doing a lot to shift the taboos and normalise the conversation around women’s health. They run an education programme, Know Your Body, designed for 7 – 13 year olds covering menstrual health and a lot more. (http://knowyourbodylessons.org/)
@bloodygoodperiod provide menstrual education and provide period products for those that can’t afford them.
Please list more resources below if you know of any.
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 43
Hi Everyone. I found today pretty tough. Still a lot of Sastrugi and then soft snow in between, so still pretty hard to drag the pulk through.
When I’m having tough days, I think back at memories and today I was thinking about some of my favourite childhood memories. Friday was always a treat day and my mum used to take me and my brothers for dinner at Asda when we were younger. It is something simple but something I used to love. We do still have our treats (not just on a friday though) and will definitely be having some more when I’m back!
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 42 – Merry christmas
Merry Christmas from Antarctica.
This is my second Christmas in a row alone in my tent on the ice. But I know deep down that I’m not alone and you’re cheering me on (well I hope so anyway). It’s been tough going so far but I’m taking it a day at a time, and as a treat for Christmas I’m going to have five sweets. I brought some Haribo with me. Other than that, it will be a normal day, making my way through the Sastrugi and getting closer to the pole and I’m sure I will have a belated Christmas with my family when I get back.
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 41
Hi everyone. Another day making my way through the Sastrugi, which are those windshaped ridges. Some of them are huge but I’m getting through step by step.
This post goes out to my sister in law, Sonia who gets to update my social media every single day. She is basically my big sister and has been from the day she came into the family. Not only that, she’s also one of my best friends. Thankyou Sonia.
Thats all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 40
Hi everyone. Today felt really long, a lot of Sastrugi and spent the day working my way through it.
So I’m going to put a trigger warning with this post.
I know quite a few people that have been struggling with their mental health, those that are close to me and have thought of taking their own life, those that have tried. My cousin, Paul, took his own life 12 years ago today on the 23 Dec, I had no idea he was struggling. I just want to say to anyone that has ever felt this way or is struggling, please remember that you are not alone. Please talk to somebody.
When I have been in dark places, I remember feeling at times like there was no escape. As though I was surrounded by this darkness and there was no light, but the light was and is there, it may be dim when you first see it but it is there.
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 39
Hi everyone. Today was a good day, the ground was a bit firmer so my pulk actually felt lighter than it did at the start which as amazing. There was Sastrugi but there wasn’t soft snow so thats good.
I was asked a few times if I had made money from the last expedition that I completed in Antarctica, which was phase one. I did not. I used my life savings on training to get there and as I mentioned previously, was in debt until May this year. This year, I used any spare time and all my leave to train for phase two and I am currently on unpaid leave from the Army.
I’m not sure anybody makes money from these expeditions or that is ever a reason to want to do it in the first place. Personally the reason for me was wanting to not only push my boundaries but also inspire others to push theirs too, and I think the why is important. It’s the thing that helps me get out of the tent every day. If I can do this, hopefully I can show others they can achieve anything.
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 38
Hi everyone. I saw a bird today which was very exciting. I also put on my third pair of socks of the journey, it’s always a nice treat changing my socks. Today the ground was firmer which made conditions a bit better.
It is that time of the week again, to announce another winner from the school competition.
Imaan Osman is in Year 6 at Oldfield Primary School
Imaan says “Preet discovered more about herself in adversity than in comfort that led her to an unforgettable journey through an extraordinary combination of bravery, strength of character and endurance.”
What a creative logo, I love how you have captured all the different aspects of my journey and I agree 100% with your words. I have learnt so much about myself in adversity and from pushing my boundaries. Thank you so much Imaan, it is an absolute pleasure to have your logo on my pulk (sled).
- Phase 2 – day 37
Hi everyone. I worked my way through sastrugi for most of the day, good visibility though which is helpful. I’ve just had my dinner as well.
This post is to one of my best friends. Rachael Lelia Tucker Norton, this phenomenal women submitted her PhD this year, I am so glad your graduation is next year when I am in the UK because I cannot wait to be there in the audience. I am so unbelievably proud of you.
- Phase 2 – day 36
Hi everyone. So, I’m gaining height and altitude for this first 700 miles and it’s starting to get colder. Sun was out today though so good visibility.
This blog post goes out to Pete Swaile (@peteswaile), I have been working with Pete, a fitness trainer since around August 2021. I didn’t feel very confident doing weights at the gym and working with Pete has not only built my strength up but also increased my confidence too. I have always loved endurance but never been as good at working on my strength.
I have loved working with Pete. I’ve become so much stronger and I really needed that strength pulling my 120kg pulk at the start, and pulling it through all of this soft snow.
Thank you so much Pete. That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 35
Hi everyone. Still making my way through the soft snow.
So, I’m eating a lot but I have definitely lost weight which was expected. I have been working with a nutritionist for the this expedition and the last one. Rin Passmore has been brilliant, I am consuming 5000 calories a day and it has all been broken down. I usually find breakfast difficult to eat but I have been eating all of my food while I have been out here including breakfast. I need the energy. I gradually put on weight before I started and got to 15kg over my baseline weight and was expecting to lose that much by the end.
Thank you so much Rin for all of your help.
- Phase 2 – day 34
Hi everyone. That is another day completed. Today started with low cloud and the sun came out later. I forgot to mention in the blog a few days ago that I passed Thiels which is half way to the South Pole. My long days are blurring into one. There’s a runway at Theils for aircraft and expeditions often pick up resupplies from there too. There’s also a portaloo there. I saw two teams there and it was great morale seeing people for the first time on my journey, I was there for about 5 to 10 minutes before skiing straight past that portaloo as my expedition is unsupported.
This post is to Zero Six Zero (@zerosixzeromap), this is the second time I have worked with them and they have are incredible. If you go onto the website you will see a map of Antarctica and my voice blogs are attached to where I am on my route. It is a really cool system so please check it out if you haven’t already. I also learnt that one of the first maps they created were for Ben Saunders (@polarben) which is also very cool.
Thats all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 33
Hi everyone. Another day with good visibility. But I’m still making my way through this powdery snow.
I have some amazing books with me, some audiobooks I have been listening to and I want to give a shout out to some of the authors I have had with me so far:
Poorna Bell (@poornabell) – Chase the rainbow, Stronger, In Case of Emergency
Sukh Ojla (@sukhojla) – Sunny
Jaspreet Kaur (@behindthenetra) – Brown Girl Like Me
Anchal Seda (@anchal) – What would the aunties say?
Kal Penn (@kalpenn) – You can’t be serious
Mindy Kayling (@mindykaling) – Nothing like I imagined
Jay Shetty (@jayshetty) – Think like a monk
Dr Rangan Chatterjee (@drchatterjee) – Happy Mind, Happy Life
Lilly Singh (@lilly) – How to be a Bawse, Be a triangle
It’s a privilege to have your voices with me. Thats, all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 32
Hi everyone. Good visibility today, but still making my way through this powdery snow which is making the pulk feel heavy. But I’m doing ok and I’m taking it a day at a time
This post goes to the expeditions on the ice right now.
The team of six serving or ex serving Australian Defence Force members who you can follow at www.thespiritlivesantarctica.com (@thespiritlivesantarctica) are aiming to ski just over 1100 miles.
Antarctica 2023 (@antarctica 2023) a team of two doctors, Gareth Andrews and Richard Stephenson are skiing 2023km, aiming to achieve the longest ever unsupported ski crossing of Antarctica.
Inspire 22 (@antarctic_inspire_22) who are aiming to explore the metabolic cost of sustained polar travel and they are skiing over 900km.
Omar Di Felice (@omardifelice) who is aiming to conduct the longest cycling journey across the South Pole.
Ben Weber (@bweber360) who is skiing 700 miles solo to the South Pole.
And Caroline Cote (@caro.line.cote) and Wendy Searle (@betweensnowandsky) who are both skiing the 700 miles solo to the South Pole and aiming for the speed record too.
There are quite a few expeditions this year and I dont know them all, so feel free to mention any I have missed. That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 31
Hi everyone. Another tough day, it’s hard work trying to pull the pulk through this powdery soft snow, but I did have good visibility today which is always a plus.
It is that day of the week where I get to announce another school winner. Today’s winning logo was created by Olivia Junor-Fitzpatrick who is in year 6 at Derby High School.
Here are some of the words that Olivia sent with her logo.
“The fist punching up around shattered pieces of glass inside the crest represent your famous quote ‘I don’t just want to break the glass ceiling, I want to shatter it into a million pieces.’ Surrounding the outside of the crest are different sized snowflakes which represent the snow and frost you might face on your journey. On the outside of the crest I decided to use the colour blue to represent the shade of frost you might come upon. At the very top is your name but instead an O in the world polar I decide to change it to a penguin footprint because penguins are located in the Antarctic and you might come across some on your journey.”
What a brilliant logo, thank you so much. I love the penguin footprint, sadly I’m unlikely to come across any penguins with the route I am taking but I love having this logo with me.
- Phase 2 – day 30
Hi everyone. Unfortunately due to technical difficulties Preet was unable to leave an audio blog today. Rest assured that she is in good health and is still pushing hard towards the pole. She should be leaving normal blogs again from tomorrow.
The journey so far:
Preet is 29 days, 20 hours into the expedition and has covered approximately half the distance from her start point to the South Pole (349 miles) solo and unassisted. The weather is currently -14 degrees centigrade and visibility has been poor for the majority of her journey so far.
Once she reaches the Pole, she will turn towards the coast for the final phase of the expedition which includes a glacier crossing before she hits the coast.
- Phase 2 – day 29
Hi everyone. Another tough day today. A whiteout and soft snow, so hard work dragging the pulk but I’m in my tent now.
I have been asked many times how people in my community responded to me going to Antarctica and since I came back earlier this year. To be honest, the response has been mixed. Some people have been amazing and others don’t have much interest.
Before leaving for phase one, I struggled to get a lot of people interested. I think a lot of people didn’t understand what I was doing or just didn’t care. When I got back earlier this year, some acted as though they had been on board the entire time which was frustrating, and others have still shown no interest. I understand what I am doing is different, something different from the norm but how amazing would it be if we supported those that need it, when they want to do something different from the norm and not just come on board when it is a success.
Many of my choices were not supported because I wanted to do things that were different from the norm (joining the Army, going on adventures just to name a couple). So often, I’m still asked ‘Preeti tu viah kado karna,’ – ‘Preet, when are you getting married’ because that is still seen as the most important thing by many.
I just want to show that we should celebrate so many different achievements and encourage our community to push their comfort zones not making it harder for them to do so. It is already hard enough, we don’t need people from our own community adding to that.
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 28
Hi everyone. Today was tough. A whiteout for most of the day. I got through it and now i’m in the tent. When I got into the tent I took off my hat and looked at my hair using my phone camera. It’s already a huge knot. I couldn’t bring a hairbrush as it’s just extra weight but I can look forward to brushing that out when I’m finished.
Today I was listening to some of my Bhangra tunes which reminds me of home or being in Sonia’s kitchen where she’s generally playing BBC Asian Network (@bbcasiannetwork). I want to give a shout out to Jay Sean (@jaysean), Diljit Dosanjh (@diljitdosanjh)and Panjabi MC for keeping me going today.
Panjabi MC still makes me think of Sonia because she still always requests their song when we are out.
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 27
Hi everyone. Today was a good day, the sun was out and it wasn’t very windy. So nice to have days like that, you can really appreciate them.
This year I attended the Outsiders Summit which involved an inspiring group of people coming together working on representation. There were so many open and honest conversations. I had a lot of negative comments about the colour of my skin when I finished phase one and it was great to be surrounded by people where I did not have to explain why representation is important.
I also want to shout out to the Outsiders Project (@the.outsiders.project) (founded by Phil Young (@philskills) which promotes inclusion and diversity within the culture and community of the Outdoors and All the Elements (@alltheelements_) run by Soraya (@sorayaearth) which is for everyone creating change on diversity in the UK.
I’m so glad I had the opportunity to connect with Soraya and Phil, they are doing so much positive work and have connected me to so many incredible individuals.
- Phase 2 – day 26
Hi everyone. Another decent day, mainly because I had good visibility. The days are busy, it feels so nice to get into the tent at the end of the day. You cant really switch off. I have to melt snow so I can have my dinner, make my checkin call and all my other tent admin and then go to sleep before doing it all again tomorrow.
I am Punjabi and have a very big family, this is a shout out to some of the younger members of the family. This post is goes out to Ammie, Eisha, and the young ones in New Zealand, Jeevan, Isla, Akash, Lottie and Paneet.
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 25
Hi everyone. Today was a big day. Long but good. Started with a whiteout but the last few hours were good visibility and the wind even died down a bit.
I was supposed to announce a school winner yesterday so thats my mistake. So I hope you are as excited as I am to hear the next school winner, Olivia McDowell from Strathearn School in Belfast.
Olivia said: “I chose these design colours because they are Suffragette colours. I chose an Artic Fox because it represents someone going out of their natural habitat (or comfort zone) to achieve new things. The fox is green as the Suffragettes used this colour to represent hope and new life and this journey is hope for future people to explore outside their comfort zone and a new journey for Preet. I think this logo should go to Antarctica to represent any women who challenge themselves to accomplish great things.”
I absolutely love the logo and everything it represents. These words are so powerful, thank you so much Olivia.
- Phase 2 – day 24
Hi everyone. Today was ok. Good visibility at the start of today which turned to low cloud. The days are starting to feel like they blur together a bit.
This expedition would not be possible without Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (@antarcticlogistics) (ALE), they are my logistical support and have been with me through every step of planning. There are so many members of the team I want to thank, just to name a few: Steve Jones, Simon Abrahams (@simonmtnguide), Lucy Dowland (@lucy.dowland) and Sam Wilds.
Every day while I’m on the ice, I check in with ALE from my satellite phone, they are tracking me each step of the way. There are so many members of the team not just at Union Glacier but also in Punta Arenas that are supporting my expedition and so many more.
I wanted to do this crossing last year but my expedition was rejected by ALE because I did not have enough experience. They were 100% right so I created phase one to get the experience. That was the 700 miles I completed earlier this year. A rejection does not always need to be the end of the story, it can be an opportunity. That additional experience I have has been invaluable.
Thats all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 23
Hi everyone. So today started with low cloud where it’s quite difficult to see the ground with low visibility. I’ve come across a lot more Sastrugi so far this year so it’s still pretty slow, either truing to go around it or through it.
I decided to raise money for two different causes for this expedition.
The first is on my GoFundMe page, partly to help me fund my expedition but also up to 50% goes toward a grant that I am giving out yearly. It’s exactly the same page I used last year and this year, I got to give out the first grant, which went to four young individuals through British Exploring Society. I hope to be able to continue this grant to encourage people to push their boundaries.
I am also raising money for charity, Khalsa Aid (@khalsaaid) are a great charity that do some incredible work. Their motto ‘Recognise the whole human race as one,’ such simple but powerful words.
If anybody would like to donate to either cause, the links are on the website, under charity.
Thats all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 22
Hi everyone. So today was a slow day. I felt my pulk dragging heavily over the sastrugi but I had good visibility which is always a plus.
I love a good quote and today I want to use one from Rupi Kaur (@rupikaur_) – “we all move forward when we recognise how resilient and striking the women around us are”.
I have been in a lot of incredible rooms this year with so many resilient and striking women – this post goes out to them. It was a privilege to be able to attend the Women of the Year Awards (@womenofyear) and be able to celebrate so many incredible people.
And I want to give a special shout out to Asian Women Mean Business (@a.w.m.b), I had the privilege of being able to speak at Inspire Fest this year, the word for the year was Faith. Having Faith over Fear. A fellow sister said to me ‘We see you in all of us’ and those words really hit me. To be in a room that understands those barriers and boundaries because we all face them. Thank you so much for all of your support.
- Phase 2 – day 21
Hi everyone. On day 21.
So, this is mentally a difficult trip, I can’t see anything on the horizon. I follow the bearing, the direction of travel on my compass but can’t see anything in front of me. Last year it brought all of my deepest darkest thoughts to the front and I couldn’t run away from them. It was difficult knowing I was going to likely face this again.
Personally, I struggled with those that put barriers and boundaries in my way, made it harder for me to push them. It is even more difficult when the same individuals try to take credit for your success. Something that helped me was realising that forgiving people does not mean you need to have them in your life.
It is difficult having those that drain you in your life and it has made me feel better to know that I have taken a step away from individuals so they cannot have that effect on me.
It is not always easy. I wanted to go to therapy this year but got so caught up in everything else and felt too busy (which is a poor excuse). It is still something I intend to do when I am back, talk to somebody professional to help me when I am in those dark places.
For now, in the dark moments, I take it one step at a time.
Thats all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 20
Hi everyone. Today felt like a good day, there was good visibility which always helps. A long day, but a good day.
I have been working with Base Camp Food (@basecampfood) for over a year and a half and they have been amazing. I found them online and contacted them in July 2021 to see if they would be interested in working together. I was excited to see that they are based in Derby which is where I am from.
Thank you so much Laura Gardener and Jenny Hopkins (@adventurebambam) and all of the team at Base Camp Food for supplying my food (even the last minute orders) and other bits of kit including my MSR stoves and kettle.
Tonight I have just finished my lovely Pasta Bolognese dinner. Thank you Base Camp Food!
That’s all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 19
Hi everyone. Another whiteout for most of the day. The sun came out in the evening which was nice. There’s still sastrugi around but not as much in this section.
This post goes to Ben Saunders (@polarben) who has led some epic polar expeditions. He has been so incredibly helpful. It has been a really crazy year and no matter what time I email or message him, he always got back to me with the answers. He is also brilliant at knowing where to reduce weight for kit on expeditions. His advice has been invaluable. Thank you so much for helping me reduce any weight possible for this expedition and all of your help Ben.
Thats all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 18
Hi everyone. Good visibility today which was helpful while I was making my way through the sastrugi. Felt like a bit of a maze. I am still wearing long skins on my ski’s which help me grip. I will change them over to my short skins as soon as my pulk starts to feel lighter. Been tough so far but I’m doing ok, just concentrating on each day at a time.
This post goes out to Louis Rudd (@louisrudd), he was the first polar explorer I told about my aim to cross Antarctica back around Dec 2019. I actually had his number for a few months before I contacted him, I didn’t have any experience at this point and was nervous to tell him about what I wanted to do. So I did my research beforehand and booked my first polar course in Norway. Anyway, I had nothing to worry about, Louis was great and has been so helpful. Thank you Louis for not laughing at my crazy idea and thank you for all of your support.
And if you have an idea, no matter what it is or how crazy it seems, take the first step.
- Phase 2 – day 17
Hi everyone. Today was a pretty tough day. I got stuck in some pretty big Sastrugi (the wind shaped ridges) in a whiteout causing my pulk to slip over a few times. It was still pretty heavy to get it back over the right way. I’m feeling better after having my dinner and tomorrow is another day.
I love the days that I get to announce the school winners, I hope you’re as excited as I am! Today’s logo has been drawn by Lupe Mendez-Quirke in class 6K, Birkenhead High School Academy Juniors.
A few words that came with her design: “For her design, Lupe initially took inspiration from space mission patches and bold and bright superhero logos. Lupe chose primary colours that would proudly stand out against on Preet’s pulk. These bold and bright colours reflect the bold decisions that Preet has made, and the brightness reflects her determination and optimism.”
This logo is very cool, I love the inspiration behind it and having it with me on this journey. Thankyou.
- Phase 2 – day 16
Hi everyone. So the sun was out today which was great. Makes such a difference when you can see where you’re going. I always wear my compass mount so I know my direction of travel. Theres nothing on the horizon, it all looks the same in each direction. Sometimes it feels like I’m hardly moving but I know I am when I check my GPS location in the evening.
I want to tell you about the research I’m conducting while out on the ice. I am working with Ultra Sports Science (@ultrasportsscience). In August I went to the Centre for Space Medicine and Extreme Environments to get a series of measurements to get information on body composition, energy expenditure, sleep, heart rate and I had some blood tests done too. When I’ve finished the expedition, I’ll go back to do the same tests.
I am also carrying some research equipment with me on the ice. I’m wearing an ActiGraph, which is a small wristwatch, I’m carry three of them which I am wearing at three different stages of the exped (start, middle and end). I’m doing an ECG on myself using the Faros system every 10 days. I also have some questionnaires to monitor my sleep, fatigue and mood. Hopefully we will get some really interesting data and I’ll keep you updated on the research.
Thats all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 15
Today felt like a very long day. But I also get to change my socks today which is very exciting. To clarify, I have socks that I ski in and socks that I sleep in. I change into my sleeping socks every evening and I’m changing my ski socks every 15 days. That’s a liner sock and a slightly thicker sock on top. I didn’t bring more socks because I had to think of every bit of weight for this journey and sock changing day is a treat.
I was listening to songs and was listening to Emmy Meli’s song ‘I am Woman’ and I could listen to that song on repeat – I am woman, I am fearless… I’m unbeatable, I’m creative… I am feminine, I am masculine, I am anything I want.
I love these words. How often are we expected to fit in a box and told what we should be. I am anything I want and so are you.
- Phase 2 – day 14
So today the winds died down a little bit which made a huge difference and I felt good today. It was good visibility too which meant I could look at my shadow to navigate instead of staring down at my compass all day.
When I first had this idea, I genuinely started playing the lottery every week because I thought there is no way I would manage to raise the funding required.
So on that note, this one goes out to all of my sponsors that come under Team Forces; Amey, Anaplan, Atkins, BMC Software, Be Military Fit, boxxe, Costain Group PLC, Dell Technologies, Fujitsu, Improbable Defence, Kromek Group PLC, Microsoft, Mitie, Punjab Covent Garden, Qioptiq, Salesforce, Sopra Steria, Shared Services Connected Ltd, Ultra Electronics Group and Veeam Software. It was such a pleasure to be able to meet people face to face at the launch event and I am so grateful for your support. I wouldn’t be here without you. Thank you so much.
- Phase 2 – day 13
Hi everyone. A very windy day today, received a weather warning that this evening would be around 60mph winds so I stopped a little early to secure my tent.
The Women in Defence awards took place yesterday, sadly I couldn’t make it. I was nominated for the Inspirational Award which is a real privilege and I have been told that I won. All I really ever wanted was to inspire others so this is incredibly special to me. It’s really tough to feel good about myself and i’m finding it tough, and it’s hard to be kind to myself. It’s really heartwarming to hear others have been inspired so thank you.
I was also told that I won the Woman of the Year Award and just wow. Thank you so very much.
This post is for all those that have inspired me. To all of those stepping outside of your comfort zone, you’re all winners.
- Phase 2 – day 12
Hi everyone. Low cloud again at the start of the day and then the sun came out later. So the wind is picking up, ALE have told me to expect a storm tomorrow. This means I will finish skiing earlier tomorrow to make sure I’m in the tent before the wind picks up.
I am working with Global Telesat Communications (@globaltelesatcomms) who have provided most of my communications kit, they are really important pieces of equipment that I carry for safety purposes and also to keep people up to date on my expedition. It is the same kit I used for my last expedition. I have a satellite phone and I use this to do my daily blog, I am currently leaving a voicemail and my partner, Dave, types it up every day on the website. My sister in law, Sonia, is then copying them onto my social media so I don’t actually see any messages until I’m back. I use my Iridium Go! to send photos back too when I can. Thank you so much GTC. I also use an InReach as a tracking device and I have 2 Garmin GPS devices where I have stored all of my waypoints and this is how I know my location and my bearings for my direction of travel.
(NOTE: If listening to the audio blog the audio cuts out at 1.08 today, please read the transcript above instead)
- Phase 2 – day 11
Hi everyone. I felt good as I was skiing today, good visibility. I have to remind myself not to push the hours to get more mileage as I am still travelling quite slowly, but I remind myself that I still have another 60 days to go as well.
To Col Chris Coats and Col Neil Wilson from Army Adventurous Training Group, you were the first people in the Military that supported me when a lot didn’t. From a lot of very long calls and even sending emails to help me from a hospital bed one day post op, your support has been invaluable.
Thank you so much.
- Phase 2 – day 10
Hi everyone on day 10. It’s been a pretty tough ten days so far. I’m moving slowly with my heavy pulk. Fell a few times today during the whiteout, no injuries, you just cant really see where your’e going when theres a whiteout. But it turned into low cloud later in the afternoon so I had a bit of visibility which was nice.
Today I get to announce another winner of the school competition. Congratulations to Evie-Rose who is in year 4 at St Mary Magdalen’s Catholic Primary School. Evie-Rose wrote some words that I want to share with you:
“It would be really special to see my logo on the pulk of the first woman to cross Antarctica solo (and unsupported) as this is very inspiring to me as a little girl. I put a lot of work and creativity into my logo. I think it is amazing to cross Antarctica and it would be cool if my logo could go on that journey with Preet. I drew her pulk because I wanted to show how she was able to bring all of her things in a small space and in cold snow weather. This is really impressive”.
Thank you so much Evie-Rose, I love this creative drawing of me with my pulk getting to the South Pole earlier this year. I love having your logo with me.
- Phase 2 – day 9
Hi everyone. Another tough day today. Very windy but getting through it step by step.
So I have trained with a range of companies this year, which is similar to how I trained for the first expedition. I found companies online or on social media who I wanted to thank. Thank you to Arc Guiding (@arc_guiding) for helping me train in Scotland earlier this year. Huge thank you to Chamex and to JP (@jp.bosch) and David Sanabria (@davidsanabria_mountainguide) for the training we did in the Alps and helping me get up Mont Blanc.
And to Sgt Gaz Mitchell who is a Royal Marines PTI for training me in the Alps as well. This year I wanted to get as much training as I could on glaciers to help me with the end of this expedition where I have to cross a glacier.
Thats all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 8
Hi everyone. Tough day today. The wind picked up in the afternoon and it took me a while to put the tent up. I’m in the tent now and I have had my dinner ready for another day. I don’t spend too much time focusing on how tough the day was. It was tough, and I got through it. I’ll do the same tomorrow and the next day.
So this post goes out to Team Forces. I want to say a huge thank you for all of your support. There are so many people from Team Forces helping me, from sponsors to so much more. I first connected with Maj Gen Lamont Kirkland in January 2021 on LinkedIn, at the time I was struggling to get people interested in my expedition and we have come such a huge way since then. Thank you for helping me and becoming a huge part of my team. To name a few members of the team, thank you Lt Col Tim Wakefield, Catharine Moss and Kerry Godley.
Thank you so so much for everything.
- Phase 2 – day 7
Hi everyone. On day seven today. There was soft snow on the ground today which made it tougher to drag my pulk. Routine is really important while I’m out here so I ski for an hour before having a ten minute break and continue that for the day. As soon as I have finished for the day I put my tent up, start melting snow so I can have some dinner, and when I have completed my admin I go to bed. So its a simple life really. It can be tough but its simple as well.
I wanted to tell you a little bit about my kit. I am working with Mountain Equipment, I am using pretty much all of the same kit that I used last year. I really like their polar jacket and salopettes and I’m using the same sleeping bag which is the Redline sleeping bag. Thank you Mountain Equipment.
Thats all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 6
Hi everyone. So not much wind today which was nice. There was low cloud so I couldn’t really see much in front of me. I wear a compass mount at all times to keep me going in the right direction. Keeping my hours steady and still feeling good.
So this goes out to my headline sponsor, Cognizant. Thank you so much for hosting the launch event before I left. One of their values is to ‘always strive, never settle’ and I think this is something I very much relate to. It is never easy to push outside your comfort zone but it amazing when you do.
Do something to step outside of your comfort zone, this could be anything. Take the first step and see how it feels. You may be amazed by what you’re capable of, I’m still learning what I’m capable of too.
To Cognizant, thank you so much for your support.
- Phase 2 – day 5
Hi everyone. So on day 5, not much wind today which was nice but after some low cloud it was then a whiteout for the day so I couldn’t really see anything. I am getting into my routine though and I am feeling good.
Today I wanted to talk about when I got back from my expedition earlier this year. So I struggled when I got back after my expedition at the start of this year, I got back to the UK around 14 Jan after completing phase one (700 miles solo to the South Pole). I got back to the UK and completed around three weeks of interviews before starting school talks. The talks were organised by the Army and involved travelling to Regions all over the UK. It was amazing to connect with so many young people but I also remember feeling that something wasn’t right. I was completing 3-5 talks a day including evening talks, I drove around 8000 miles in the 4 month period. I had breaks in the school holidays but I used these breaks to train for phase two of the expedition (which I’m on now). I felt as though I was drowning and I didn’t know how to get out. I would be fine during the talks and was able to smile for interviews but would often break down and cry after finishing for the evening.
During that time, I did not have the capacity to think about anything else, I know a lot of messages and emails have been unanswered, I was struggling to cope. I was also still in debt from phase one of the expedition until May this year.
I started to feel better in May, I started my new role and moved to Halton for my new Army role. I move every 2-3 years to my next Army posting. I work with a great team who I will talk about in another post. It has been tough training around work, it has often felt like I’ve had two full time jobs, work from 8 until 5, training and all of the expedition preparation around that, using any bit of leave I had to train. I’m grateful to be able to take a period of leave from the Army to do this expedition.
I’m talking about this because I want to be honest about my experiences, I know others have felt like they’re drowning but I also realised if you do feel that way, if you feel like you’re drowning and do not tell anybody, how will they know. So please talk to somebody.
Thats all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – day 4
Hi everyone, another slow and steady day. There’s a lot of incline in this first section so hoping to get past that bit tomorrow.
Today I wanted to talk about the RAMC. I have been in the Royal Army Medical Corps for over 10 years, I joined when I was 19 years old after seeing an advert in Derby city centre. I didn’t tell anybody in my family at the time because it was definitely not expected of me.
At the time, I had just started my access course, I wanted to do a degree in physiotherapy but had minimal GCSE’s so I did an access course to get onto the degree. I started in the Army Reserves and loved it, it opened up a whole different world to me. I stayed with the same Army unit when I got into University. I would get the train on a Friday from London to Leicester and then jump on a minibus to train in Scotland for the weekend before heading back to Uni on Sunday night. I was generally knackered by the end of the weekend but always felt that sense of achievement.
From joining as a private soldier to joining the Regulars and becoming an Officer, it has been a privilege to serve.
This blog post is going out to the RAMC Charity, thank you so much for your support.
In Arduis Fidelis.
- Phase 2 – day 3
Hi everyone, a bit of a rough day. There was a whiteout today soI couldn’t see anything in front of me which doesn’t help when you’re trying to ski around the sastrugi which are the wind shaped ridges. I can really feel the weight of my pulk but I know after each meal the pulk gets slightly lighter. I’m also taking it one day at a time.
So let’s start the school competition, winners will be announced every Wednesday. I had some amazing entries and it was tough choosing the winners. I have created all of the winning logos into stickers and they are on my pulk (sled). The image that is posted is today’s winner.
Darcey Wright is in year 9 at Broadland High Ormiston Academy. I asked students to write up to 100 words why their logo should be chosen and I wanted to share some of Darcey’s words with you:
“I took inspiration from the idea ‘nothing’s impossible’ that Preet has always used to be motivated to achieve great things.. I think that my logo will inspire others that they can push boundaries, achieve anything and never give up.”
Darcey, thank you so much, I love having your logo on my pulk and it is definitely making me feel inspired!
- Phase 2 – day 2
Hi everyone, so i’m on day 2. Its pretty cold at the moment and very windy, a lot colder and windier than when I started last year. But I started later in the season last year and I know the weather can be more tempremental early on. I can really feel my 120kg pulk. Going quite slow at the moment but i’ll gradually build up my mileage as my pulk gets lighter too and I just need to remember that I am doing this day after day so I dont want to do too many hours too soon.
Today I want to talk about the school competition I am running. I really wanted to bring people along with me on this expedition so I decided to create a school competition. The competition involved schools creating a logo that could go onto my pulk (my sled), thank you so much to the schools that got involved, it was really difficult picking 11 winners.
The competition was not run through any organisation, it was just an idea that I had and I want to thank all of the amazing people that offered to help me and spread the word in their Regions. A huge thank you to my future sister in law, Rachael Jarman for helping manage the entries.
I will be announcing the first winner starting from tomorrow and then ill announce each winner every week. I have created all the winning logos into stickers and they look amazing on my Pulk.
Thats all for tonight.
- Phase 2 – the start (day 1)
Hi Everyone. I’ve started the expedition. I spent a day in Union Glacier when I got here with ALE at their camp before being dropped at my start point this evening. It’s very windy outside but I’m glad I’ve started. I’ll be doing daily blogs while I’m on the ice and I’d like to dedicate each day to those who have helped me along the way.
So today I want to dedicate this blog to my Baba ji (my grandad). He passed away a few years ago now but lived until he was almost 100 years old. He raised me when I was younger, My memories of him are him walking me to school which was literally across the road and he used to eat chyawanprash every evening. He would sometimes let me have a little, I loved the sweet taste of it.
A lot of the time in our community, girls and women are seen as less than boys/men but he never made me feel that way. To my Baba Ji, just like you did last time, I hope you are watching down on me again. That is all for tonight.
- One step closer to the ice
This is a pretty cool ticket 🇦🇶
On my way to the airport in Punta Arenas, aiming to fly to Antarctica today. I’ll be flying into Union Glacier, this is where Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions have a camp setup with a lot of amazing staff to help me set off on the ice safely. I will collect my fuel here, complete my final comms checks before heading on a 30 minute flight to my start point (Hercules Inlet).
See you in a few months!
- Antarctic Crossings 🇦🇶
Great connecting with the amazing expeditions crossing Antarctica this season.
@spiritlivesantarctica (Emily Chapman, Vincent Carlsen, Jack Forbes, Sean Taylor, Kelly Kavanagh, Tim Geronimo) are six members of the Australian Defence Force skiing over 1700km from Hercules Inlet to the Reedy Glacier 💪🏽
@antarctica2023 (Gareth Andrews and Richard Stephenson) are skiing 2023km from Berkner Island to the Ross Ice Shelf which will be the longest unsupported ski crossing of Antarctica 💪🏽
And then there is me heading from Hercules Inlet to Reedy Glacier which will be the first female solo unsupported crossing 🙌🏽
All expeditions are using @zerosixzero mapping so you can follow our journeys.
@ericphillips has ascended Reedy Glacier twice and provided some really useful information about his routes. Thank you Eric!
What an awesome group to be part of. We’re unlikely to see each other during the expedition but potentially at the end 🎿
Hoping to fly out tomorrow!
From left to right: Richard, Gareth, Jack, Me, Kelly, Vincent, Sean, Emily, Tim
- Flight Delays
My expected flight date to Union Glacier, Antarctica was 5 Nov but there was snow on the runway and some bad weather. Delays are generally expected with the flights especially early in the season. I planned for the flights to be delayed so I haven’t felt any frustration at all. Focus on what you can control, I’m focusing on my upcoming expedition and excited to get started.
Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions are keeping me updated daily on the weather situation and the flight will be on as soon as there is a good weather window.
Meanwhile, my packing is complete and hopefully there will be a good weather window soon ✈️ 🇦🇶
I have put all the winning logos for the school competition on my pulk. They look AMAZING, I can’t wait to announce the winners weekly when I start the exped!
📸 Evening walk in Punta Arenas enjoying the beautiful view.
The final bits of preparation.
I have been in Punta Arenas, Chile for 5 days now and have been doing the last bits of preparation. I sent my kit in boxes out by air freight a month ago and was reunited with them when I got here. The boxes contained all of my food and most of my kit. I booked an apartment here so I had space for all of my kit and a kitchen to prepare my food.
The food takes a while to pack, I haven’t left the apartment much since I have been here. I have emptied all of my food from its original packaging, cut the snacks into smaller bite sized pieces. 73 days of food has now been packed. All of the empty food bags will be carried with me for the duration of the expedition.
I have tested my communications kit and set up my harness and stove systems. I have put the first sticker on my pulk (sled), Simran (named after my niece) and the stickers on my skis are named after my nephews (Karanveer and Arjan). I’ll be putting on the school competition winner stickers on my pulk today too (the winners will be announced each week when I’m on the ice)
We’re almost ready to go! The flight to Antarctica is weather dependent, should be leaving in the next few days 🙌🏽
- Leaving the uk
I was going to start this off with it has been a busy week but it has been a busy few years since I first had this idea.
I’m so excited to start and so grateful for all of your supportive messages. I haven’t been the best at responding to messages over the last few months (or probably the last year).. it has been a busy one.. but the training, the stress, the sacrifices are all worth it.
I believe if you really want something, you will do anything you can do get there.
As I’ll be offline for a few months, I’ve spent the last week, sending my last work emails, turning my out of office on, making sure all my bills are paid before I go. You want all your life admin done before leaving. I don’t want to be thinking about my car insurance while I’m on the ice!
I will shortly be on route to Chile where I will meet my air freight (my pulk, food, equipment – I sent this out at the beginning of the month).
It feels good to be on route. My daily blogs will be posted by my partner, Dave and sister in law, Sonia. I’m so excited to take you on this journey with me.
It is important for me to be honest about my experiences. The good and the not so good ones. I talked openly about my mental health in my last post and it is something I want to encourage, to be able to talk openly.
I still feel a little nervous when I write posts like that, worried that is sounds like I’m complaining. Thank you for all of your messages, they remind me we are not alone 💜
So often, we’ve been encouraged to say the “right thing” and look the “right way.” This meant for years I was trying to be somebody I wasn’t, in order to fit other peoples expectations.
It took me a while to get out of this, to be honest and real. I don’t believe anybody’s life is perfect, I think we all have our ups and downs.
I’ll be leaving the UK in less than two weeks to start my journey to Antarctica. There have been tough times to get here but I made it this far. I don’t always remember to look back and reflect. But I know for a fact my 15 year old self would be amazed at where we are now. Not just my 15 year old self, but my also 20, 25 and so on!
I’m so proud of myself. It feels strange writing that because I don’t say it very often but it is true. Take a minute and give yourself a pat on the back for your achievements. However tough it’s gotten for you, you are reading this now and you made it through.
We have the power to face anything in front of us.
📸 laughing but also wanted a more secure place to stop on the multi pitch climb
- Mental Health Awareness
I struggled quite a lot when I got back from Antarctica. There were some difficult times on the ice too, it’s physically hard but I found it mentally much tougher. In my darkest moments on the ice, I would concentrate on the smallest things, putting one foot in front of the other. Watching my left ski move forward and then my right.
At times my mind felt like a prison, I struggled to get past frustrations. I thought it would get easier when I got off the ice but it didn’t. When I got back to Chile in the early hours of the morning, I received all the messages from the last two months. A lot of amazing positive messages but also from those that had made it harder for me. When the same people claimed to have helped me or wanted to take credit, I struggled with my frustration.
I remember not being able to sleep. It was my first time in a bed for two months, it was around 3am and I just couldn’t sleep. My mind felt so busy and I couldn’t get away from it.
When I got back to the UK, I spent a few hours at the airport conducting interviews and then interviews for 3 weeks before starting a school talking tour.
18,000 students, 8000 miles over four months. I love talking to students but I was also exhausted. I did have breaks in the school holidays, I used these breaks to train for phase two.
I would complete 3-5 talks a day all over the UK. I was fine during the talks but not so great afterward. I felt like something was wrong with me, like I was going to fall apart. I felt as though I was drowning. It took me until around May this year until I started feeling like myself again. Making any other plans seemed like it was too much. The school talks finished on a Wednesday and five days later, I moved to my new Army role and new location in Aylesbury.
Sometimes it is difficult to see that light when there is this huge cloud in your mind. But it is there. I found breaking things down into smaller chunks helped me. Focusing on just one thing at a time.
📸 training in Scotland in April during the Easter Holidays – taking it one step at a time.
- School Competition
I always wanted to bring people with me on this expedition. Sadly, it wouldn’t be solo if I had people with me on the ice! But it was always about more than me.. so I decided to create a school competition and I plan to take the winning logos on my pulk (sled).
Sometimes when I have an idea, I feel as though I’m just creating more work for myself! That is true but if it is something I’m passionate about, I’ll do it anyway and this is an idea I was really excited about. I get to take logos created by young people all over the word with me and yes I have thought about the additional weight and it’s worth it.
It is not being run through any organisation, just me and the amazing people that offered to help. We are still accepting logos from schools – this is open to schools all over the world. I have extended the deadline until 13 Oct.
All the details are under school competition on the website. One entry per school – I’ll create the winning logos into stickers and have them on my pulk. I will be taking 7-8 stickers from all over the world and will announce the winners while I’m on the ice.
We have had some amazing submissions so far. I want to get as many people involved as possible – this is open to schools all over the world. If you are between the ages of 4 – 16 but do not go to school, your submission will be accepted.
📸 A week of leave taken to complete some training in Chamonix earlier this year. This photo was taken on the way down from Mont Blanc.
So much packing! In these boxes, I have 75 days of food and the majority of my kit and equipment. The boxes will be sent to Punta Arenas, Chile and I will meet them there in 3 weeks. I will then spend a week in Chile completing final preparation before flying to Antarctica 🇦🇶
I counted my freeze dried food (supplied by basecampfood) and every bit of kit numerous times, making sure I have everything I need. I rented a van from Enterprise, sent my boxes via air freight and said goodbye to my kit 👋🏾
The starting weight of my pulk (sled) will be approximately 120kg. My pulk will be meeting me in Punta Arenas too.
Look forward to being reunited with my kit 🎿
📸 Feeling tired. Long nights packing all of this up 🙂
It’s often difficult to fit in everything we want so we prioritise. My priority right now is the expedition, not just the journey on the ice but everything else that I want to bring with it. I’m really excited to be bringing young people on the journey with me through the school competition I’m running (https://polarpreet.com/school-competition/). I’m also conducing research with Ultra Sports Science and raising money for charity with Khalsa Aid.
Time is precious. I work in my Army role from 0800 – 1700, this is my main job as a physiotherapist. I’ll be taking a period of leave from the Army to conduct the expedition.
I use all of my spare time to prepare for the expedition and I often feel like I have two jobs. I train in the mornings before work and will fit in meetings at lunch or after work. Waking up every morning to train before work is hard, I wake up even when I’m not motivated to do so.. because what I’m working toward is that important.
It is busy and I don’t have time for anything outside of the expedition prep and work. I think when we are training or working toward something important, it is ok to focus on that one thing.
It’s taken a lot to get here and I’m excited to take as many people as possible on this journey with me.
- DERBY UNIVERSITY
What a privilege to receive my Honorary Masters from Derby Univeristy and to be able to address the Graduates of 2022. I loved being part of the ceremony.
I’m sure the Graduates were faced with some tough times to get to this point, it has been a difficult few years. Getting through those tough times is no easy feat. What an incredible achievement. Congratulations 👏🏽
Over 10 years ago, I completed my Access Course at Derby Univeristy. I did not come out of school with many GCSEs or have A-levels, I never felt very academic. I always remember being told that I wouldn’t be able to get onto my Degree course but I went on to become the first person in my family to get a Degree. Graduating from University as a physiotherapist in 2012 remains one of my greatest achievements.
It is hard to do something when you’ve been told you can’t, it is hard to believe in yourself. BUT we can do it. My future and your future is yet to be written and we can achieve anything we want with that future. We can achieve anything we want with the right mindset.
I didn’t get a chance to go to my Graduation ceremony in January for completing my Masters as I was still in Antarctica. Being able to go now in my home town was perfect.
With training and planning for phase 2 and my full time job, I don’t often stop and celebrate my achievements. These days are so special.
📸 with my big brothers
- Solo and unsupported
Solo and Unsupported – what does this actually mean?
It is important to me to be open about my experience and be relatable. Yes it was tough to get to Antarctica but it is also achievable.
Solo – I am on my own. This was the case for phase one (700 miles to the South Pole) and will be the same for phase two (1000+ miles across Antarctcia).
Unsupported – this means that I do not pick up any resupplies on route. The biggest weight is the food and fuel so it means that my pulk (sled) is heavy to start with (approx 120kg for phase 2). The pulk does get lighter as I’m using the food and fuel but to be honest, it didn’t feel like it got any lighter last year!
I carry everything I need with me from the beginning and if anything breaks, I would try to repair it on route.
Unsupported doesn’t mean that I’m completely “off grid.” I have Comms with Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE) daily. Each day I would speak to them on my satellite phone – this is a safety check in too.
I would also leave a voicemail daily – this was my blog. My partner (David) and sister in law (Sonia) would listen to the voicemail and Dave would type it out on my social media and website. I did not have access to the internet and couldn’t see any comments on these posts until I flew back to Chile. The blogs were so precious to me, it was my way of bringing you on the journey with me and I can’t tell you how much it meant seeing all the comments and support when I got back 💜
The maps on my website were created by ZeroSixZero, they were amazing and I still think it is so incredible that you can click on the map and hear me speaking from Antarctica!
I plan to use the same system that I did for phase 2 later this year.
I’m doing so many things now that I wouldn’t have thought I was capable of even 5 years ago.. don’t limit yourself. You never know what you could be capable of..
- Phase 2
My aim is to complete a solo and unsupported crossing of Antarctica. This involves me travelling over 1000 miles, pulling a pulk (sledge) with all of my kit, battling temperatures of up to -50c and wind speeds of up to 60mph. This journey will take approximately 75 days. This expedition will make me the first female to complete a solo and unsupported crossing of the continent.
Three years ago, as I was learning about Antarctica, I decided I wanted to do a crossing of the continent. I did not put my application into Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE) immediately because I knew I didn’t have enough experience. ALE are the company that allow expeditions like this to take place, they are the logistical and medical support while I’m on the ice and so much more!
After a year of training and completing expeditions in Norway and Greenland, I put my application in to ALE. A few weeks later, I received an email and my application had been rejected, I still did not have enough experience. To be honest, I felt deflated. It is never nice to have any kind of rejection. What could I do to gain the experience that was required? I created phase 1 (a 700 mile solo expedition to the South Pole). Phase one was completed on 3 Jan 2022.
I put in my application for the crossing once again to ALE for the crossing and it was approved a few weeks ago. When I look back, I’m glad it was rejected the first time around, the reality is that I did not have the required experience at the time. A No or rejection does not have to be the end of your story or a final answer, it can be an opportunity. I now have the additional training and experience to attempt the crossing I will be taking a few months of leave from the Army at the end of the year to conduct the expedition.
Why did I go to Antarctica in the first place and why am I going back? I wanted to show that no matter where we are from, no matter what we look like, we can achieve anything we want. I want to inspire others to push their boundaries and encourage them to believe in themselves. I want to break that glass ceiling,
A huge thank you to the sponsors on board so far, your support means so much. I am still looking for sponsors that would like to be involved. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to come on board.
I took a week off work to go and climb some mountains 🏔 So good to be back in Chamonix.
Made it up to Gran Paridiso Summit 4061m and Mont Blanc 4807m with a great team. I love being outside, it gives me a sense of freedom. I haven’t done much mountaineering before but learnt from our amazing guides during the week. We were roped up with crampons and an ice axe and helmet.
We could pack relatively light on the summit days and leave kit in the hostels. I carried a sleeping bag liner and they had blankets at the hostel.
0400 start in the morning for Gran Paradiso, I quite like the early morning starts, not when I first have to wake up but when I’m outside in the dark with my head torch knowing a new adventure is about to begin.
We had a mixture of rain, sun and snow for Gran Paradiso and some strong winds for Mont Blanc but made it safely to the top.
Thank you to David Sanabria and Juan Pablo Bosch for a great week. I could definitely feel my quad muscles on the way down the mountain.
Perfect training trip for my next expedition (to be announced very soon..)
- Financial stability
I have been asked by quite a few people if I made money from this expedition. The short answer: no..
The slightly longer answer… I put everything I had into the cost of the training and expedition and I’m still paying off this debt since I have been back. I have absolutely no regrets at all, this expedition was so important to me and it is heartwarming to hear that people were inspired. I also think it’s important to be honest about my experiences.
I have been asked if I’m a millionaire a few times too. One website even suggests I’m worth 3 million 😂They should see my bank accounts!
Financial stability has always been important to me, joining the Army Reserves when I was 19 helped me with that. I had student loans, bursaries and money I was earning from the Reserves to help me through University.
I was saving for a house for a few years and then decided to pick quite an expensive interest… I struggled to gain interest and sponsors on board for my Antarctic expedition for a while and decided to use my house and life savings to go on a training trip to Greenland, a trip I didn’t fully pay off until 5 Nov 21, I flew to Chile for Antarctica on 7 Nov 21. I did get corporate sponsors on board for the Antarctic expedition, I would not have been able to afford the expedition without them.
I also bought a house last year taking full advantage of the Help To Buy scheme. I didn’t get funding for my MSc so also paid this off before I left.
I’m still paying a huge cost of this expedition off and it has been difficult. I struggled when I came back with the amount of talks, driving and trying to sort my life/finances out.
Just before I left, my expedition became an Army expedition. This means I didn’t have to take any leave and my role when I came back has been with the Army engagement team.
Since I have returned, my role in the Army has been doing school talks all over the UK. I’m still being paid in my Army role but the talks are not paid. I have reached over 15000 students over the last 3 months which is amazing. I do love talking to people and it has been rewarding. It has also been exhausting. 3-5 talks a day in different regions of the UK. I think it’s ok to acknowledge although something is positive, it has also been difficult.
If you’re drowning and don’t tell anybody how will they know? I come alive when I talk, I can smile and do interviews. It is the in between that has been the struggle.
I’ve started to put boundaries in place which has helped me. I’m completing my last set of Army talks this week and will be back to my full time job. I’m working out a plan to help me with my finances and I definitely see the light.
It’s ok to talk about the struggles, it doesn’t make you weak, I think it makes you stronger. I’m acknowledging my struggles and making a plan to move forward.
I recently became the first woman of colour to complete a solo expedition in Antarctica. It was incredible seeing all of the Media when I got back to the UK on 14 Jan. On most mainstream Media channels, I saw a lot of comments questioning why the colour of my skin was even mentioned. I saw comments such as “Why does it matter” and “We’re all equal”
To me, equality never meant we’re all the same or ignoring our differences. After all, nobody seemed to have an issue with me being described as British or an Army Officer. Are these not also differences? To me, equality is about embracing our differences. I’m proud of the colour of my skin, it is important to me, as is my culture and my heritage.
I haven’t always been proud and it’s so important to me that I’m finally here. I want others to be proud of their differences. We are all unique. I had the voices of authors from different backgrounds with me in Antarctica and I felt so proud having them with me. They got me through some tough days. I thought to myself I’m not alone.
Some of my audio books:
The Good Immigrant (UK and US version) Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman
Brown Baby – Nikesh Shukla
The Corner Shop – Babita Sharma
The Right Sort of Girl – Anita Rani
It’s Not About the Burqa – Mariam Khan
I am Malala – Malala Yousafzai
Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? – Mindy Kaling
It was absolute privilege having your voices with me.
I’m already making a list of audio books I want to take on my next adventure.
📷 26 Dec 21 on the ice
- Keeping up
I have been talking at schools all over the UK over the last six weeks and have reached approximately over 5000 students and young people so far. Each week has been spent in a different region and consisted of day and evening talks. I have been travelling to schools in Northern Ireland, the South East, Bristol, Scotland and East Midlands.
One of the best comments I recieved was ‘I really enjoyed your talk because you can tell you want to be here.. and you’re not just here because your company made you come.’
I love doing the talks and reaching so many young people. I’m also tired, it has been pretty non stop since I have been back and I’ve been finding it difficult to keep up.
I’m not committing to many more talks this year and I feel a bit of relief in writing that. It’s ok to say no and that is what I’ve been doing a lot more. I know I have a lot of emails and messages that I haven’t read or responded to. I’m just trying to focus on one thing at a time and that is currently doing the school talks until May and then I’ll be back in my full time role as a physiotherapist 🙂
I want to clarify that I LOVE talking to young people. I want to inspire the next generation and I’m continuing with my current commitments.
- “At the root of most fear is what other people will think of us”
We can care so much about what others think, that we often put that above what we want and need. When we do something different, something new, there are generally always objections. Loud objections. What is seen now as success, was looked down on. We often lack the ability or the willingness to see that their objections are just a hump that must be gotten over.
So many people are really proud of me now and that is honestly incredible. From my community, for the 2.5 years I was training, there were the naysayers, the people that showed no interest and those that didn’t really understand what I was doing. Those from the community who genuinely supported and encouraged me were few. The most important thing is that you believe in yourself. The one person’s belief in me that really mattered, was my own, and thankfully that remained regardless of the naysayers.
I really hope that when the next person says their ambition out loud (which could be anything they want), that the same community can encourage them to push their boundaries. Let’s continue to learn and encourage others not keep them inside any box or lane.
Let’s get over all of those humps together 🙌🏾
Inspired by a chapter from a book called Courage is Calling. Thanks Jag Chandi
What an incredible homecoming event. Thank you so much to Mitie for hosting the event. I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to seeing my face and videos of me on big screens!
I have been asked how it feels to be in the media and to be honest, it all still feels a bit surreal. But I’m also glad it has come at this time in my life. My confidence has grown through this journey and I feel more comfortable in who I am. I want to be as honest and real as possible about how I got to Antarctcia. I found it tough to get to that start line but it is achievable. It is so easy to look at the end result, I made it to the South Pole but the journey to get there is important to remember.
I had this idea over 2.5 years ago, I didn’t know anything about the polar world at the time. I wanted to do something that would push my boundaries and hopefully inspire others to do the same. I used all my leave for training trips, my life savings, with some training trips taking me over 6 months to pay back in installments. I would email 10-15 companies in the evenings after work trying to get sponsors. Most wouldn’t respond and when they did, they couldn’t commit due to COVID. I felt overwhelmed at times while trying to train, being a COVID vaccinator, completing my MSc, looking for sponsors and trying to buy my first house. I remember just sometimes sitting in my partner’s kitchen and I just wanted to cry because it was just too much.
But I persisted. My first big sponsor came on board 10 months before the expedition. I can’t even explain how much this meant to me. I had unpaid leave approved at the same time. I felt as though I was getting closer. About six months before the expedition, I had the opportunity to do it through the Army and I’m very grateful for that.
I used everything I had to get there, I was well into my credit card when I left for Antarctica and have just paid it off since being back 🙌🏾
It was hard work but when I had tough times during the expedition, I reminded myself of how much it took to get to the start line. This helped me. If I worked so hard to get here, I could get through the tough days and make it to the South Pole.
It’s incredible to have all the support and the following on social media too. I don’t think I’ll ever manage to respond to all of the messages and comments.. I will be as honest and real as I can about my experiences. I’m continuing to learn, grow and will continue to push my boundaries.
It is so good to be home. I had such an amazing welcome at the airport. We had a slight delay so I was pretty much running out of the terminal to make it in time for the live interview. I think everybody had to wait for over an hour for me so thank you!
It is the simple things that you miss while on an expedition.. sitting on a toilet seat, sleeping in a bed, having a coke zero (it had to be added to the list…). I spent the weekend sleeping a lot, seeing family and eating. It’s nice to sleep when it’s dark (I had an incredible 24hrs of daylight in Antarctica).
I have honestly never had so many messages and emails and I’m just starting to make my way through them. It’s heartwarming to see all the comments on the posts when I was on the ice and I want to thank everyone for their support. I learnt a lot from the expedition and the 2 and a half years it took me to get to the start line. I’m still learning how capable I am and I hope I can help so many more people realise how capable they are too.
- Day 40 – Finished
Preet has just made history becoming the first woman of colour to complete a solo expedition in Antartica. She completed the 700 miles in only 40 days.
Hello everyone, checking in from day 40. I made it to the South Pole where its snowing. Feeling so many emotions right now. I knew nothing about the polar world three years ago and it feels so surreal to finally be here. It was tough getting here and I want to thank everybody for their support.
This expedition was always about so much more than me. I want to encourage people to push their boundaries and to believe in themselves, and I want you to be able to do it without being labelled a rebel. I have been told no on many occasions and told to “just do the normal thing”, but we create our own normal. You are capable of anything you want. No-matter where you are from or where your start line is, everybody starts somewhere. I dont want to just break the glass ceiling, I want to smash it into a million pieces.
Whos with me?
- Day 39
Hi everyone. Apologies for not doing my audio blog over the last few days. It has been a long few days but I’m doing well and I’m super close now as well. So, the weather can change so quickly here, it was so cold yesterday, I think about minus 45 degrees with wind chill and then in the afternoon there was hardly any wind at all which was amazing.
It definitely feels colder in the last degree where I’m at higher altitude. I haven’t seen anyone here in the last degree and now I’m 15 nautical miles from the south pole. I cant believe I’m almost there.
This blog goes out to some of my friends. My friends are basically like family to me. I call them when I’m travelling. I have a room at each of their houses. I know their families and they are people that I know will always be in my life. I read somewhere that when you ask people to be your bridesmaids its nice to do it in a special way, so all the way from Antarctica I would love nothing more than for you to be my bridesmaids. Sonia Chandi, Rachel Tucker-Norton, Kamal Dhamrait, Tig Bridge, Hannah Sawford (or Hannah Smith now) and Collette Davey. I love you all and would love you to be my bridesmaids. I think at least three hen do’s are required. That’s normal right? But even if its not normal that’s never been anything to stop me.
That’s all for tonight. I’ll check in tomorrow. Bye.
- Day 36
Hi everyone, I made it to the last degree. So I’m on the final 60 nautical miles which is a big milestone. I might even see other people soon as there are a few last degree expeditions going on. I had a long day, just under 20 hours. Its 24 hour daylight but it suddenly gets a lot colder when there’s cloud cover or a whiteout which is what I had for a few hours.
This post goes out to Hannah McKeand (@hannahmckeand), Devon McDermitt (@mcddevo) and Denise Martin. The first polar course I did was Hannah’s Polar Expedition Training course (@polarexpeditiontraining) in Norway in Finse in Feb 2020 and it gave me a fantastic baseline, I learned a lot from the course and some really great instructors. So thankyou very much. I’ve learned from some really amazing people which has really helped me while I’m out here.
Ok, wish me luck for the last degree. That’s all for tonight.