THREE weeks ago, I filled out the online application for the Commonwealth Women’s Antarctic Expedition.
If selected for the trip, I would ski more than 800 km to the South Pole, in well-below-zero temperatures, dragging a sledge that weighed the same as I do. Sort of like mushing sled dogs, only without the dogs.
"You don’t have any natural insulation! You’ll freeze," my friends squealed.
"It’s so dangerous," my father said.
Even I thought I was insane. The sum total of my athletic experience consisted of trudging up a couple of Malaysian mountains and falling over my cross-country skis while at university in New Hampshire. Forget marathons, I was content to run a few kilometres on Sunday mornings if I could get out of bed.
Then came the e-mail telling me I’d been shortlisted for an interview. Insanity turned into a spark of hope. The actual possibility of going to the South Pole sank in.
Yesterday, I didn’t make the final cut, and the spark of hope faded again. Sure, I was disappointed, but the experience drove the point home: I could and should dream big, test my physical and mental limits.
For two of my fellow applicants, Sophia and Lina, that dream is still alive. They’re ordinary women like the rest of us - attempting extraordinary things. I’ll be watching their journey and cheering them on every step of the way.
And as for me? I think I’ll sign up for that half-marathon now.
Read more about the Commonwealth Women’s Antarctic Expedition in today's edition of The Straits Times.