Adventure

MEET POLAR PREET, THE BREMONT AMBASSADOR ATTEMPTING TO BECOME THE FIRST FEMALE IN HISTORY TO CROSS ANTARCTICA SOLO AND UNSUPPORTED.

MEET POLAR PREET, THE BREMONT AMBASSADOR ATTEMPTING TO BECOME THE FIRST FEMALE IN HISTORY TO CROSS ANTARCTICA SOLO AND UNSUPPORTED.
MEET POLAR PREET, THE BREMONT AMBASSADOR ATTEMPTING TO BECOME THE FIRST FEMALE IN HISTORY TO CROSS ANTARCTICA SOLO AND UNSUPPORTED.

Preet Chandi, aka ‘Polar Preet’, is an adventurer and physiotherapist currently serving in the British Army. Preet has proven herself as an endurance athlete completing Marathon des Sables in 2019, arguably one of the hardest ultra marathons in the world. Additionally, in January of 2022, Preet completed a 700 mile journey to the South Pole which was Phase 1 of her expedition. Now, Phase 2 sees Preet aim to complete a solo, unsupported crossing of Antarctica, becoming the first female in history to do so.

Ahead of Phase 2 of this expedition, Bremont caught up with Preet to find out more about this incredible challenge…

Who is Preet Chandi?

I’m a physiotherapist in the British Army and a very proud Phuwa (Aunty) to my niece and nephews. I’m a very determined person and want to show how much we as individuals are capable of.

What is your background?

I was born in Derby. 

One of my biggest achievements is still getting my physiotherapy degree. I didn’t come out of school with many GCSE’s and had no A-levels. I remember being told I wasn’t smart enough to get into university and I wouldn’t be able to do it alone. It’s difficult to achieve things when you don’t believe in yourself or you’re told you can’t achieve something. 

I got my degree and started to realise how many people will put barriers in the way because of their own beliefs and expectations. 

I joined the Army when I was 19 after seeing an advert in Derby city centre, I didn’t tell anybody in my family until a week later though! I was doing things very different to what was expected of me and I’ve continued to do that.

Tell us about the expedition you are about to embark on?

I am aiming to complete a solo and unsupported expedition of Antarctica. This involves me pulling all of my food and equipment in a pulk (sled) for 1,100 miles. This will take approximately 70 days. This would make me the first female to complete a solo, unsupported crossing of Antarctica.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far?

Finding funding/sponsors is definitely one of the most challenging things. I would email 10-15 companies daily and rarely get a response. For 18 months, I couldn’t get anybody on board and then I got my first sponsor for phase one. I put in all of my life savings and more which was so hard. Phase one was not paid off until May 2021 which is 4 months after I finished.

It has also been difficult managing my training and a full time job. I use my annual leave at work to train. It has often felt like having two full time jobs. Though being busy has also made me quite strict with my times so I’m definitely productive. I’ve taken a period of unpaid leave for this expedition.{{3}}

What drives you to achieve your goal?

I was often told that I couldn’t achieve a lot of things for different reasons. When I have achieved things, it has opened up so many doors. I’m realising how much I’m capable of. I believe the more we achieve, the more we realise what we’re capable of.  

I have never really listened to those that have told me no but it is difficult and scary to go against people, especially when you don’t believe in yourself yet. I’m realising more and more that you do not need to listen to others. People will often project their beliefs and fears onto you or expect you to fit into a certain box.

I’m a Punjabi woman from Derby who knew nothing of Antarctica. This expedition was always about more than me. If I can go and do this, then anybody can go and achieve anything. I want to inspire people to push those barriers and boundaries in order to achieve anything they want. 

I decided to do a school competition for this expedition and have printed 10 logos as stickers which are now on my sled. I’m so excited to announce the winners while I’m on the ice. I wanted to bring people on this journey with me and this is one of the ways I’m able to do that. 

My sled is named after my niece (Simran) and my skis after my nephews (Karanveer and Arjan) so I’ll also have them with me each step of the way.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by people pushing any boundary or barrier. The first time you push any boundary, it is difficult and those small steps you take are huge and not to be underestimated. 

I’m inspired by the person who runs their first 5k, the person who’s changed their profession, anybody that is stepping outside of their comfort zone. 

I’m inspired every time my niece steps outside of her comfort zone even when it’s scary to do so.

Who do you look up to?

There wasn’t anybody I looked up to when I was growing up. I was often labelled the rebel and called disrespectful because I voiced my opinion and did things different from the expected norm. I wanted to do things different from this norm and I want to encourage others to push those boundaries too.

What does time mean to you?

Time is precious. To me it’s about using that time to do whatever it is you want to do. Do not waste it trying to fit others’ expectations. 

I make my time count by doing everything I want to do, no matter how crazy the idea sounds. If I really want something, I’ll do anything I can to get there. 

Sometimes life is crazy and I feel like I have no spare time at all. I know that is ok for now as I’m training for something big and my time has been limited. When I’ve finished this expedition, I’ll rebalance my time.

How does it feel to be part of the Bremont family?

It feels very special to be part of the Bremont family, I’ll be wearing my watch each step of the way in Antarctica and I know you’re all supporting me when I’m out there.

How can people follow you on your journey?

When I start my expedition, my daily blog will be on my website (www.polarpreet.com), Instagram and Facebook pages: @polarpreet.

I’ll be doing a daily voicemail and my family type it onto social media for me so I can’t see any of your comments until I’m finished.

ABOUT PREET CHANDI

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