MONTEVIDEO, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Lured by the prospect of a life of adventure, Feng Jing gave up a well-paying job and learned to ski, an initiative that led her to become the first Chinese woman on record to ski to the South Pole.
After a bachelor's degree in international relations from China's prestigious Peking University, Feng had a good job and lived a cushy life till an adventurer's book turned her life upside down.
She was inspired by British climate scientist-turned-adventurer Felicity Aston, author of "Call of the White: Taking the World to the South Pole", who gathered seven women skiers from around the commonwealth, some of whom were novices, to launch the most international all-female expedition to the South Pole.
"I decided to travel. So I quit my job and traveled for almost seven years around the globe," Feng told Xinhua in Uruguay's capital Montevideo, where she was spending a few days to rest after her recent accomplishment.
"(Aston's team) trained one or two years and they succeeded, so I wanted to give myself an opportunity to do the same," she said. "I had never skied before. I had to begin with the basics."
She was 33 the first time she strapped a ski to her feet. Today, she is 36.
Feng trained hard for three years. "I ran a half marathon nearly every day... (and) exercised my arms to strengthen the muscles," she said.
She also skied in various parts of the globe, including Norway, New Zealand and China, always keeping a single goal in mind -- Antarctica.
After three years' physical and mental preparations, she finally felt ready for the challenge of skiing to the South Pole.
The difficult expedition was flagged off on Nov. 16, 2017. Antarctica's Hercules Inlet marked the starting point of her 1,130-km icy and windy trek to the South Pole.
When it got unbearably tough, Feng would focus on going just one step forward, covering one meter at a time.
In addition to the hostile climate, she twisted her ankle and for two weeks, it was the most difficult section of the trip.
"I thought that if I stayed there, I would never reach the South Pole. As long as I kept going, I would get closer to my goal."
Then she found that if she put one foot in front with the other behind, it was manageable and she kept up the position all day.
Her greatest fear was that she would fail to make it in the time allocated. "My time was limited. I had only 70 days to reach the South Pole," she said.
However, on Jan. 8, Feng arrived at her destination, after 52 days and five hours of cross-country skiing.
While the trek was "a kind of personal achievement" for Feng, she made light of her achievement, saying the route she had selected was designed for beginners.
"But the efforts I made in those three years have inspired a lot of people, not just my friends and relatives," she said. "It has made them feel that though an undertaking seems impossible, if you work hard enough, you can do it."