Call of the White: Taking the World to the South Pole; Eight Women, One Unique Expedition
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Could YOU ski to the South Pole?
That was the challenge that British adventurer Felicity Aston put to women from around the Commonwealth, as she set out to create the most international all-female expedition ever to the Pole. The team would not be experienced explorers but 'ordinary' women who wanted to inspire others to follow their dreams or make a change for the better in their lives. She received more than 800 applications.
'What is skiing?' asked someone in Ghana.
At the close of 2009, Felicity led a team from places as diverse as Jamaica, India, Singapore and Cyprus – some of whom had never even seen snow or spent the night in a tent before joining the expedition – on one of the toughest journeys on the planet.
he said. ‘Cypriots like their home comforts. I shouldn’t think they’ll like roughing it in the cold.’ ‘I hope I’ve found the exceptions,’ I answered. Just as I got to the airport my phone beeped with a text message. It was from Nicky to send me a contact she’d promised me during her interview. I felt desperately sorry for a moment. She would have been a great teammate. And then I thought about the taxi driver’s comment. He’d been so surprised that the two selected women were Cypriots; to admit
to it to me,’ said one barman about one applicant. ‘Really? Why not?’ ‘The way she came in,’ he continued. ‘She seemed a bit hesitant and hung around the door. All the others have come right in straight away.’ I wasn’t sure on the reliability of his selection technique but in this case he was probably right. The candidate had seemed a bit lukewarm about the whole expedition. My last interview was with Helen, one of the women that I’d included at the last minute. She had an infectious good humour
was no other sign of civilisation as far as the eye could see. Clouds of snow blotted out the horizon so that it was impossible in places to tell where the heavy sky ended and the snow-covered hills began. Like a bowl of cream-covered fruit, the snow flowed seamlessly over every undulation and as the 100 Call of the White_INSIDES.indd 100 19/01/2011 13:05:50 HANDBAGS AND SNOW BOOTS day went on, the light shifted over the smooth, flawless surface so that the brain had to work hard to get a
ski park which would make an ideal base to use as a start and end point for our mini-expedition. It was a relief as we zigzagged up the steep mountain road toward the park to finally see some snow – the first we’d found since arriving. It was the end of the winter season and the snow had retreated to the very tops of the ranges but even up here it was patchy, revealing large areas of rock and soil. I looked over the maps with Charmaine. Considering the snow conditions we would have to make our
Occupation: Writer Explain why you want to be involved in the expedition: It’s 11.30 on a Sunday morning. I’ve picked up the local paper and I’m having a slow start to the day. I come across an article about an all-women trek across Antarctica and I feel my chest expand. Yes. This is it. I know with absolute certainty that this is what I want. I jump on the computer and flick through the 25 Call of the White_INSIDES.indd 25 19/01/2011 13:05:42 CALL OF THE WHITE website, knowing I would