Walking over thick ice sheets in temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius and dragging 90 kilograms of food and supplies along the way was what 32-year-old Preet Chandi had planned to do for almost 40 days. Finally, on January 3, she achieved her 1127-kilometre feat and defied every little doubt she faced along her journey. Preet, a British-born Sikh army officer, set out on a journey to the south pole, involving more than a 1000-kilometre trek, alone and became the first ‘woman of colour’ to complete this solo expedition, reported CNN. The trip began from a flight to Chile, but the ideation had commenced two and a half years before, while Preet was serving as a physiotherapist in the British army, working under the United Kingdom Defence Medical Services.
“The expedition was always about so much more than me. I want to encourage people to push their boundaries and to believe themselves, and I want you to be able to do it without being labelled a rebel,” read her blog, ‘Polar Preet,’ where a support team used to update her whereabouts on her 40-day journey.
Emotional and proud to congratulate fellow Brit Preet Chandi who has become the FIRST woman of colour to complete a solo expedition to Antarctica. It is an utterly gruelling and incredible achievement. What this will mean to little girls like my niece is beyond words. pic.twitter.com/gG9IuPczvl— Poorna Bell (@poornabell) January 3, 2022
But the feat did not come to her serve, instead, she had to earn it with months of practice, hardcore training, and various smaller expeditions before being able to imprint her shoe on the thick ice sheets in the South Pole. Before her 1127-kilometre journey, Preet had trained in the French Alps, spent close to a month on the ice caps in Greenland, and trekked across the Langjokull Glacier in Iceland.
The moment she reached the South Pole, she updated her blog with a voice note, in which she said, “I made it to the South Pole where it is snowing. I am feeling so many emotions right now…it feels so surreal to finally be here.” From knowing nothing about the South Pole three years ago to actually setting camp at it is a story that is self-telling.