‘I am Asian, not what people expect’: Derby woman to trek solo to south pole

1 year ago 171

When she returned from a trek crossed Greenland past year, Preet Chandi had a mild lawsuit of frostbite connected her nose. “I retrieve idiosyncratic saying to maine they’ve ne'er seen an wounded similar that connected idiosyncratic of my colour tegument before,” she said. “I americium an Asian woman, I’m not the representation that radical expect to spot retired there.”

Later this period Chandi, a 32-year-old service physiotherapist, hopes to go the archetypal pistillate of colour to implicit a solo unsupported trek crossed Antarctica to the southbound pole.

During the 700-mile journey, which should instrumentality astir 45 days, she volition look upwind chill of -50C and snowstorms portion dragging a sled weighing astir 95kg erstwhile she sets off.

Chandi – oregon Polar Preet – admits it’s a daunting expedition but says she feels good prepared aft grooming for years. She has completed ultra-marathons, including the gruelling Marathon des Sables crossed the Sahara desert, and faced utmost upwind conditions connected a 27-day expedition connected the crystal headdress successful Greenland.

In caller weeks she has been dragging tyres astir the streets adjacent her location conscionable extracurricular Derby, to hole for pulling her sled – a 2 metre-long pulk containing each her nutrient and instrumentality – crossed the slopes of Antarctic, and she has received a fig of funny questions from passersby.

Preet Chandi dragging a tyre to signifier    for pulling her sled.
Preet Chandi dragging a tyre to hole for pulling her sled

“People accidental the outdoors is for everyone and yes, it is. But if you travel from a assemblage that is not progressive successful it astatine all, oregon you don’t cognize anybody that does outdoorsy things, oregon you don’t spot anybody that looks similar you doing it, it tin beryllium truly hard,” she said, adding that a fig of radical thought she said she was going to Southall, successful westbound London, not to the southbound pole. “It’s conscionable truthful retired of the norm for them.”

“A batch of america travel from antithetic communities with antithetic barriers and boundaries. A batch of the clip you’re encouraged to enactment successful lane and go a dentist, doc oregon a lawyer, which are the cardinal things successful the Asian community, I would say,” said Chandi, who hopes her expedition volition animate much women of colour to acceptable disconnected connected their ain adventures.

“But I get that radical person barriers each implicit the spot and I anticipation that I tin animate radical for tons of antithetic reasons. It doesn’t substance that you are not the representation that nine expects to see, you tin bash it regardless.”

As good arsenic the carnal grooming and the accent of getting sponsors onboard, she has besides been preparing for the intelligence situation of doing a solo trek. “During a white-out it’s astir similar travelling successful a marshmallow, you truly can’t spot what’s successful beforehand of you for days, and it tin beryllium rather mentally draining.”

Preet Chandi successful  service  uniform
Preet Chandi connected work arsenic an service physiotherapist. Photograph: Matt Allen

Her spouse has near messages wrong her tent, portion friends person recorded dependable notes for her to perceive to connected the journey. “My pulk is named aft my niece Simran and my skis are named aft my one-month-old nephew, truthful they’ll beryllium waiting for maine each time to get maine through,” she said. She flies to Chile connected 7 November and, upwind permitting, hopes to acceptable disconnected connected her trek connected 21 November.

When she returns she plans to acceptable up an escapade assistance to assistance much women money unsocial expeditions, and she said she was pleased to spot alteration successful what has typically been a male-dominated area. “There are much and much pistillate adventurers retired there. And there’s much divers groups, which is perfectly brilliant. It’s truly inspiring to see.”

Ultimately, she hopes that by seeing idiosyncratic similar herself pushing boundaries, much young radical volition see large-scale expeditions arsenic thing to purpose towards.

“Don’t get maine wrong: Shackleton, Amundsen, Scott, they’re immense polar names and they’re unthinkable people. But they’re not names that I was acquainted with, it wasn’t thing that I could personally subordinate to,” she said.

“I americium excited to adhd immoderate diverseness to that, and Preet is really rather a communal Indian name. I’ve had radical accidental to me, ‘oh my daughter’s sanction is Preet and they’re truthful excited to person the aforesaid sanction arsenic you’, and that is precise powerful.”