British Sikh Army officer Preet Chandi created history on Monday, January 3, by becoming the first woman of colour to reach the South Pole on a solo expedition. Her trip took 40 days. 32-year-old Chandi took to her blog to announce that 'she felt many emotions' and 'it feels surreal to be here'.
Preet set out for Chile on November 7, 2021, and embarked on her incredible 40-day journey via Antarctica's Hercules Inlet. En route, she pulled a sled weighing 90 kg, holding unit, fuel and food for up to 45 days.
Captain Harpreet Chandi, who hails from Derby, joined the Army reserves when she was just 19 years old. She knew nothing about camping. Chandi took on the moniker "Polar Preet" for her blog, and spent over two years gearing up for this expedition. Her blog posts kept her followers updated throughout her journey.
In one of her posts, on Day 32, she wrote, "I genuinely wouldn't know what day it was if I didn't do a daily blog. They kind of merge into one and the days feel like they are getting longer."
Harpreet skied for 11-12 hours every day and put up a tent at night where she cooked her meals and took rest. She also got 24 hours of daylight as the sun does not set in Antarctica for nearly 6 months from September till mid-February.
On some days, she looked forward to seeing other people. Here's Chandi on Day 36: "I might even see other people soon as there are a few last degree expeditions going on."
In her posts, she frequently reflelcted upon her life and talked about dedicating each blog to someone special.
In her first blog, Chandi said, "This one goes out to my Baba Ji (my Grandad), who lived an incredible long life up to the age of 99." She mentioned that her grandfather moved to the UK when she was born, and raised her.
In her last post, Preet 'thanked everybody for their support' and hoped that her journey would 'encourage people to push their boundaries'. She also said, "I dont want to just break the glass ceiling, I want to smash it into a million pieces."
Preet is hopeful that her feat will encourage more women of colour to challenge themselves and go on such extensive expeditions.