Adventurer • Singapore
“Whenever people ask, I always say that I am an “accidental adventurer” – to inspire and motivate ordinary individuals to believe in their potential to dream big and achieve extraordinary feats”
On 29 December 2009, Sophia Pang became the first Singaporean woman to ski to the South Pole. Sophia, together with seven other women of the Kaspersky Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition team, overcame harsh Antarctic conditions and treacherous terrain to reach the geographical South Pole.
Playing the multiple roles of being a wife, mother of three kids and a career woman, I realised the importance of having time for oneself. During an interview, I expressed that many individuals, especially women, often due to marriage or parenthood, tend to overlook their own needs and aspirations. They become entangled in various responsibilities, neglecting the importance of taking personal breaks and prioritizing their own happiness. In 2008, during a period of sabbatical from full-time job, I stumbled upon an advertisement seeking team members for an expedition to the South Pole. I eagerly embraced this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Yet, an even greater motivation arose from my eldest daughter. Upon sharing the South Pole expedition opportunity with her, she playfully remarked that it would be a miracle if I were to be chosen and successfully reach the South Pole. I saw this opportunity as a chance to encourage her to embrace courage and take risks, emphasizing that there is nothing to lose even in the face of potential failure. For 38 days, we skied daily for 10 to 12 hours, taking short breaks of 7 mins every one and a half hours. At the end of each day, we pitched our tents and settled down for dinner and slept for the night (or “day” since it was 24-hour daylight in the Antarctic summer). Many people may have thought that enduring 38 days of such daily routine was arduous. In fact, the physical aspect of the expedition proved to be easily manageable. The true challenge laid in confronting the vast expanse of pure white emptiness. However, on a personal level, I discovered a sense of tranquility in such surroundings. Detached from the hustle and bustle of urban life, there was a peacefulness in returning to the fundamentals and embracing the simplicity of existence. This expedition has taught me the invaluable lesson that mental resilience is crucial in navigating life's challenges. Witnessing the growth of my daughter into a strong and self-assured woman has reaffirmed this belief. My aspiration is for women everywhere to discover and acknowledge their own potential, empowering them to embrace their life journeys with confidence.