Hi Everyone. So the terrain is pretty similar to the last few days. Lots of Sastrugi, uphill and headwind. Still lots and lots of uphill. At one point I was daydreaming about how it would feel going the other way with the wind behind me.
I’m doing ok so far. Bit tired. Feels strange to have been alone for 29 days, its funny I thought id feel more lonely but to be honest I felt much more lonely as a teenager living away and playing a sport full time I wasn’t enjoying.
Maybe while I’m here its because I know I have a lot of people supporting me or because I know it’s about much more than me. I also have my precious voice notes from my friends that I listen to on tough days. I never have much downtime, I’m quite enjoying my audiobooks as well as I’m going.
This is for my grandma (my Nani Ji) who is always ready to make me food no matter how quickly I’m passing through Derby. She gave me some money for Christmas before I left and told me to buy myself something. I tried to explain that I wouldn’t be getting anything from Antarctica but there was absolutely no way she wasn’t going to give me that money. Thank you Grandma, I’ll get something on my way back.
Hi Everyone. Another tough day today starting out with low visibility where it was difficult to see the ground and still a lot of Sastrugi around. I’m feeling tired but still in high spirits. Got a bit of a cough as I’m sure you can hear but otherwise good.
I know I said I might reduce my hours so I get more sleep but I haven’t done that yet and I just keep reassessing each day.
This blog goes out to one of my sponsors, BFBS. Thank you so much for all of your support. I think some of these voicemails are also being shared on BFBS Radio so I hope all of the listeners are enjoying my daily posts!
Tough day today. A lot of height gain. I dont know if the good visibility was a good or a bad thing today as all I could see was another uphill just as I thought it might have flattened slightly. I keep thinking I’m going to see a trig point at the top but I never do. Maybe because I’m not actually at the top yet.
The Sastrugi are also getting bigger, some are a few meters high. It’s also actually pretty stunning when I take a second to look around. I’m in good spirits still and I’m still enjoying my own company which is always good.
This post is dedicated to Jon Fearne (@jon_endurance_coach), who has been my coach over this last year. Thank you Jon for creating my programme and pushing me to train even when it was tough to do so. Consistency has always been the thing that I struggled with the most so having a written programme was so helpful for me!
Hi everyone. Another long day. A lot of Sastrugi with poor visibility and blowing snow too just to top it off. I have 2 sets of goggles with me, one pair is for low visibility and the other is for when its sunny. Some days i pretty much swap them over at each break because they fog up really quickly and today was one of those days.
So, I finished Will Smiths audiobook the other day and he talks about how other people give you advice and basically mentions that other people give you advice based on their fears, their preducices and their experiences which I thought was really interesting. So, you’re living your life for the first time and how does anyone else know what you’re capable of, you may not even know yourself yet.
Hopefully another inspirational post for anybody that needs to hear it. You are capable of anything you want to achieve. It is always hard to start but you can do it. Just take it one step at a time. That is exactly what I’m doing out here, I’m taking one step at a time. You’ve got this (talking to myself at the same time).
Otherwise i’m doing well, i’ve started craving a coke zero and i’m hoping that i’ll be able to get one at the end. Thats all for tonight.
Hi everyone. Long day today and a complete whiteout so I couldnt see anything at all and a lot of Sastrugi as well. I could just feel that I was going uphill. But on the plus side it wasnt too windy today. The forecast is for poor visibility over the next few days with increasing wind.
I would like to dedicate this blog to Steve Jones (@antarcticsteve) who is the ALE (@antarcticlogistics) Expeditions Manager. I first spoke to Steve just over 2 years ago when I knew absolutely nothing about how to conduct an expedition in Antarctica and he has guided me throughout, with advice about where to train (which has been difficult with travel restrictions), what books to read and what experience I would need for a solo expedition. He has answered every question I’ve had. Thank you so much for all of your support Steve and I look forward to seeing you on my return.
Hi everyone, day 24 in Antarctica. I had a good day today, the sun was out and even though I could still feel the uphill slog its great to see where you’re going. I know the pulk is lighter because I’ve had over 20 days of food, but honestly it still feels the same. Maybe it will feel lighter when I get even closer to the south pole.
I’m listening to Will Smiths audiobook at the moment. Its about 16 hours long so I’m still on the first half. I love Will Smith, I grew up watching Fresh Prince of Bel Air. So, at the start of the book he talks about building a wall when he was younger which seemed impossible but he broke it down and just focused on laying one brick at a time. Eventually, after about a year I think, the wall was built. I think this is a great way to do things. I’m always breaking things down. For example while I’m out here I sometimes break it down into degrees. There’s a total of 10 degrees to the south pole. Sometimes I break it down into the hours I’m travelling that day and on a tough day I just focus on taking one step after the other.
Today I wanted to mention the charities I’m raising money for. I decided to raise money for 2 different causes, one is Khalsa Aid, who’s message is to recognise the whole human race as one. A simple and powerful message. They are a great charity and do some really amazing work. And the other is for an adventure grant that I’m setting up when I’m back. I set up a GoFundMe page earlier this year and even before I had anywhere near enough funding, I decided to split the page, 50% would go toward the expedition costs, and the other 50% toward this grant. The grant will be for women wanting to conduct unique adventures and I will set it up when I’m back. It can be for any adventure, it does not need to be anything to do with Antarctica. I just want to encourage people to push their boundaries and hopefully this will help. I have a few name ideas but if you have any please comment on the post. And if anybody would like to donate to either cause, the links are on the website, under charity.
Hi everyone, better day today. Still windy but good visibility. Could really feel the uphill today, a lot more blowing snow over the last few days too so it takes me a bit longer to take the tent down in the morning as I shovel all the snow that has mounted up overnight.
Have a bit of admin to do today. My liner gloves always seem to get little holes in them so I sew them up using dental floss and needle.
This one goes out to all of my sponsors that come under Team Army; Amey, Dell Technologies, Fujitsu, Harmonic, Qioptiq, Ultra and Microsoft. It was a pleasure to meet people face to face at the launch and I am so grateful for your support. I wouldn’t be here without you. I look forward to seeing you all again in the New Year!
Tough day today. Around 30mph headwind to start, plus snow, felt like my pulk was deadweight and of course uphill. The wind was increasing to about 40mph this evening to the point where I had to stop to put my tent up. You may be able to hear it in the background.
I was being a bit tough on myself for finishing slightly earlier and then had to remind myself that I’m actually doing way more hours than I had planned and I’m also way ahead of schedule. I’ve been averaging on about 5 and a half hours sleep so I may reduce my skiing hours in the next few days anyway. I’m also eating constantly, i’m currently on about 5000 calories a day and probably burning almost double that.
I want to give a shout out to the group of Outdoor Leaders I spoke with in the Peak District, a few weeks before I left the UK. One of my biggest aims is to inspire people but this group genuinely inspired me. I have been asked on many occasions why it matters that I am an Asian woman, why is it even mentioned. And I asked the group for their comments and opinions and their responses just made it so clear. Having somebody that looks like you, or just different from the image you expect is so powerful. I filmed some of their comments and watched it tonight. I posted the video on my Social media at the start of November, it is a great video if you want to watch it. One of comments was ‘If she can do it, I can do it.’ Yes you can. Thank you all for inspiring me and thank you Rehna Yaseen (@outdoors_with_rehna) for inviting me to speak.
I also wanted to add in tonight’s blog, that it took me a long time to be proud of the colour of my skin. I used to be embarrassed, having eggs thrown at me and people spit at me when I was a teenager because I ‘looked different’ certainly didn’t help. It took me a while to appreciate my culture and my roots, so when I describe myself as a ‘woman of colour’ it is because I am finally proud of my skin colour, my roots, my culture. This term isn’t used to offend anyone. It is part of me and doing this expedition as a woman of colour is incredibly powerful. Having been told on many occasions that I don’t look like a polar explorer… lets change the image you expect to see.
I made it to Thiels corner which is my half way point. There’s a fuel depot here and a toilet as well. I didn’t use the toilet though, I didn’t want to get used to that little bit of comfort of sitting on a toilet rather than digging a hole in the snow and squatting. I could see the mountain range to the west of Thiels corner too. Its great to actually ski towards something, I haven’t seen any features like this since the start.
So they started with a whiteout where I couldn’t see anything. Then just cloudy where I had a little bit of visibility. Its been really difficult to see the ground this afternoon though which makes progress difficult. Quite windy for the next few days, I think approximately 30mph winds at the moment.
So tonight my dinner was salmon pasta which is one of my favourites, all of my evening meals are freeze dried meals supplied by Base Camp Food (@basecampfood) who have provided my food not only for this trip but also a lot of my training trips. They are a great company who have helped me with every order, no matter how last minute (and there have been a few last minute orders). And a special mention to Laura Gardener and Jenny Hopkins (@adventurebambam), thank you so much for all of your support. And to Rin Passmore who created my entire nutrition plan which involves all the snacks, breakfasts and freeze dried meals. Thank you so much Rin! I’m really enjoying all of my food, I’m making sure I’m eating all of it was well which is really important because I need the energy.
That’s all for tonight. I’m pretty tired and ready for bed.
Such a lovely day today. Just a little bit of wind, though the weather is turning tomorrow so it felt like the calm before the storm. I can hear the snow blowing now outside.
So, I’ve been listening to a range of audiobooks while I’ve been out here. I love a good rom-com so I have a few of those in there. The last few days I listened to Amy Poehler’s book “Yes Please”. I love the book. She plays Lesley in a show called Parks and Recreation and she’s my favourite character. Also loved Mindy Kaling’s two books. Basically they’re badass women and I love listening to their lives and advice. You want to have good audiobooks while you’re out here. I also haven’t listened to any of them before so its the first time I’m listening to them.
So, on day 20 and every 10 days I finish one of my food bags and I celebrate something from this year. Today I am celebrating getting a distinction in my masters. A huge thank you to all of my lecturers at Queen Mary’s University of London (@officialqmul) for all of your support.
I decided to do a 4 year part time MSc in Sports and Exercise Medicine in Sep 2019 and then last year decided it would be great to complete it before going to Antarctica. It was pretty stressful at times. I just paid the last fees before leaving too. Two weeks before leaving the UK, I got my results and I was really pleased to see the hard work paying off. So thank you to all of my lecturers for your support and a special thank you to Simon Lack and Stuart Miller and the guys in my research group.