Preeti Chandi becomes the first woman of color to trek across Antarctica | The Optimist Daily
Today’s Solutions: June 21, 2024

Preeti Chandi, a 32-year-old army officer and physiotherapist hailing from Derby in the UK, has become the first woman of color to successfully complete a solo expedition across Antarctica.

Chandi admits that she was not always encouraged to take on the 700-mile trek on her own. She says that members of her local gurdwara, a place of worship for Sikhs, were shocked that she would aspire to do such a thing and were told that she “didn’t look like a polar explorer.” That said, she did tell the BBC that she did have support from some friends and family.

“The reason I talk about not being encouraged to push boundaries is because I’ve met a lot of people in similar positions.

“I think it’s quite common for those that are closest to us sometimes to hold us back. People want to do things that are normal in their community or their society and when you want to do things that aren’t necessarily the norm people are like ‘why are you doing that?’.

“A lot of the time in certain communities I think people think that success is what they think is normal, so for example, ‘why haven’t you settled down and had kids yet?’ because that’s the normal thing to do.”

Her successful 700-mile journey has taught her that it’s, “OK to dream,” and hopes that her achievement inspires others to do “whatever they want.”

When recalling her journey and her role in breaking boundaries, she says, “I remembered getting to the South Pole and thinking ‘you’re not in the wrong Preet.'”

“It meant so much for people to believe in me and think ‘yes, I believe you can do this,’” she adds.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was among those who congratulated Chandi on her astounding accomplishment.

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