I’m Not Sorry for Traveling while Fat

When I began blogging, it wasn’t intended as a means of group travel. It wasn’t even called BlackGirlFly, it was originally ‘PrettyFatChronicles’. A blog that was meant to be about my weight loss journey with travel infused in it. But in the midst of designing and blogging, it became bigger than that. Something became bigger than my weight. Imagine that.

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A few weeks back, an article came across my Facebook feed. It was written by a plus size woman who loved to travel but her blog post didn’t speak on how amazing her travels had been or the amazing things she has done while traveling. It focused on her worrying about what other people thought of her while she traveled. She mentioned not eating, her airplane fears and some other things that my overweight self can’t identify with. Fortunately.

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My first international trip was because of my drastic weight loss. In a year I had lost 80 lbs and countless inches. I was floating (in my mind) and I wanted to do something that forced me out of my shitty self esteem bubble. That’s how Spain happened. My initial goal was to travel without needing a seatbelt extension, asking for one mortified me and I had nightmares of being the only fat girl on board and everyone watching the stewardess give me the demo belt after she had ran through her “in case of an emergency” script. I boarded my flight to Paris and what do you know, I didn’t need a seatbelt! It felt amazing, I even cried. Yes, I cried on an AirFrance flight as I took a picture and phoned my mom. I met my goal.

As my trip progressed, I dared myself to just exist. Smile. Laugh. Engage in random conversations with strangers on day trips with me. I dared myself to lose that feeling of being inferior because of my weight. Travel did that for me. Although I still fight my obesity (stressful year, that weight came right back and I’m back measuring my food while doing squats in between tv shows), traveling is the one thing that is mine. I pay NO mind to my weight when I travel. When I’m abroad, I feel that is the one place I can just BE.

I feel at peace and my weight didn’t pay the airfare to interfere with that

I enjoyed pasta in Italy, I even ate it outside and with no apology. Traveling abroad cost me way too much to spend my limited time worrying if my fat is offensive in Costa Rica. Before travel, I covered my arms and didn’t dare to wear a skirt or dress. Since I’ve began traveling, my arms stay out and I love summer dresses. I’m unapologetically myself, maybe that’s why travel has become such a staple in my life. I found my comfort because of it.

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When I came across this bloggers article, I felt depressed. She truly had no love for herself and in some ways, her experiences, as amazing as they were, did nothing for her. She couldn’t even enjoy herself out of fear of being fat shamed by the world around her. She didn’t realize that she fat shamed herself. She didn’t realize that her blog became an apology to the world for her obesity. She didn’t realize that she promoted self neglect, self loathing, self hate and zero body positivity. She didn’t realize that it wasn’t the world that judged and reprimanded her, she was her own culprit. I had such high hopes for the blog when I saw the title because I had been searching for a plus size travel blog and I thought “FINALLY!!” but I was sadly disappointed.

For every self-shaming reason she posted, I realized that the only time I could identify with her discomfort was prior to traveling. Do I still loathe asking for a seatbelt extension? yes, but it’s not because of public humiliation or concern of what may or may not be floating in a strangers head about me. It’s because it reminds me of my weight loss journey and my personal goals, not if someone thinks I’m fat. The purpose of travel, at least to me, is to disconnect and reconnect. Lose and gain. I disconnect from parts of me that serve me no good and reconnect or discover parts of me that are pretty damn amazing. I lose fear or else I wouldn’t survive in a country alone and gain confidence with each day I’m away from everything I know and every habit I’ve formed at home. The next time you sit in a restaurant in another country, I challenge you to allow yourself to exist – no – LIVE, unapologetically. Life has no weight limit.

29 thoughts on “I’m Not Sorry for Traveling while Fat

  1. Awesome post! I too read the article you were talking about and I was like “huh?”. I too travel while fat and fortunately for me I have never experienced what she talked about. I decided years ago not to allow my size and my fear of flying hinder me from seeing the world.

  2. Nice post. I stopped worrying about traveling while “curvy”, bought my own seatbelt extension and still go sleeveless, and, yes wear shorts and a bathing suit.
    I’m sure I get looks but until they hand me a plane ticket that they paid for, I don’t care. Keep posting. I love it.

  3. Wow! Great article! I have not traveled as much as you have but the few times I manage to get out of the United States, even when I go to Canada, I feel self-conscious, worrying about being the Fat American in the group. I’m getting ready to travel soon and I hope to take a part of your story with me!

  4. I love this article! I too struggle with my weight and traveling while fat has always been a concern of mine but it won’t stop me and I love how it has not hindered you. This article was dope. Your blog is officially in my bookmarks bar haha.

  5. I love your post. As my heart is filled with wanderlust, I know I have experienced moments of fat shaming myself and that has caused angst about traveling abroad. Yet, I know my life is more than my weight. Thank you for living unapologetically as yourself. I am inspired. I am going to travel and do it without reservations. Thank you.

  6. I used to feel uncomfortable riding in a plane but no more! If I need a seat belt extender I will ask for one, unashamed. I deserve to be safe and comfortable as much as anyone. I’ve met so many people who barely travel out of their hometowns, I feel incredibly blessed with all the travelling I’ve done! And if I need a seat belt extender to do it, so be it! ✈
    Love your blog girl!! Keep on keeping on!

  7. I really enjoyed this article. I lived in Italy for three years and during those years in Europe I was so comfortable with myself. Since returning to the States I have become sefl-conscious again. But every time I go on vacation I learn to love my body again.

  8. This is fantastic! Thanks for such a refreshing joyous read.
    As a size 14-16, I’m at the lower end of the plus size spectrum, but I lived in East Asia for 7 years, where I was basically considered massive. While this did in many ways take a toll on my self esteem (never being able to buy pants will do that to a girl!), I found in many ways my size worked to my advantage. I never once got robbed or mugged or groped, like a lot of other female travelers I met. While a lot of this probably had to do with dumb luck (because trust me I did a lot of dumb things), at the same time I think being bigger than the majority of the male population made me less of a target for those kinds of things. And, yes, I didn’t let a little thing like my pant-size and other people’s opinions about it (and, trust me, people in Asia don’t tend to keep those opinions to themselves), stop me from enjoying my food.

  9. Great article, I used to feel ashamed as well so I decided to purchase my own seat belt extender off of Amazon. I never looked back. #Monaco2016 #Paris2015…

  10. love love love this article!!!! I haven’t traveled much yet but I have a lot of trips lined up this year and next year and my only concern is my fear of flying! I’ve never even considered my weight as a traveling issue

  11. I love this post! I’m a size 16-18, and last year I had my first experience with international travel when I went to Costa Rica for a week. I climbed up and down 396 stairs to see a waterfall, I kayaked, I hiked in a rain forest, I pranced around a beach in a sexy bathing suit, and never once did I care about what others thought of my size. Traveling really does help you understand that you’re just as deserving as anybody else to enjoy yourself and unapologetically live your life and have amazing experiences. I think Black Girl Fly and I are both living a life of “I did” instead of a life “I wish” or “I should have”.

  12. Such a great article with such a great message! Do you know if that other blogger read this? I am glad you have a different outlook and have not stopped traveling!

  13. I’m going to bookmark this page, it’s given me such a boost in my love of travel… Have troubled a fair bit but once I hit Cambodia omg!!! Unfortunately I lost that basic and founding self esteem which leaves mender able when I get the travel bug.. But the passion of LIVING and worldly experiences far outweigh being miserable. Thank you for the reminder, was much needed sadly

  14. I found your blog/website through grown and curvy woman’s blog post today. I’m not a facebook person but I would love to be a part of your travel group. 2016 looks like a winner. I LOVE traveling and haven’t been doing it too often lately. Definitely NOT because of my size. That’s the least of my concerns. :O)

    I subscribed to your newletter. What is the “buy-in” process and how can one become a part of the group without facebook?

    Thank you so much in advance and warmest regards,

  15. I love this post so much. A few years ago I feel like I had your confidence but ever since I gained weight I’ve just been the worst about my body image. (It doesn’t help that I live in a country that’s obsessed with beauty and has one of the highest plastic surgery rates in the world.) You look so beautiful. You really do. And I wish I saw myself that way. Working on it though.

  16. I applaude you for such an outstanding article..God created us all in his own image and likeness. Continue to stay on the positive side of reality…

  17. That’s a wonderful life affirming article. I was very pleased with the part that pointed out that thoughts of other people’s judgements are actually our own judgements projected on to them. I’d be delighted to sit next to this lady on a plane any day.

  18. Well said woman! Im traveling soon and have so much anxiety about it i can hardly sleep. (It is currently 4am 🙁 ) i have actually been trying to find ways out of my trip due to an extremely stress filled year and the lack of weight loss i had been hoping for. With the cross country trip creeping ever closer ( 9 days now) your words are edifying. Thank you !

  19. I am going in a few short weeks to Peru with my family. I had grand visions of pounds shed, but alas, yoga and walking, although, yes making me feel better, did little to change my shape or the number I saw on the scale. Still the trip is booked and I very much plan on seeing one of the seven wonders of the world. I was always so worried in the past about traveling while fat, and even thought I am an “experienced” traveler of sorts, I still check the glances and read the body language of my fellow travelers. I began trolling the internet for ways to avoid feeling fat while traveling, if that makes any sense, and hoping to utilize tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years managing basic life. Then I stumbled on your post, read it to the music backdrop of Sam Smith, and suddenly felt at peace. I too want to just BE. I too will dare myself to just EXIST. Thank you so much for this post, for sharing your story, and for inspiring people like myself to just be.

  20. Wow!! Your article just saved me. I recently gained 20 pounds and I was considering cancelling an amazing opportunity to work abroad because I was just a little too chubby to be comfortable. I cried in front of the mirror in the bathroom and began fat shaming, face shaming….everything shaming. I think I was on the verge of spiraling. After a couple of hours of being a bitch to myself, I put on some make up, forced myself to take a smiling selfie of myself and proceeded to look for this post on BlackGirlFly (I remember seeing it when I was researching TWBW…Travelling while Black Woman.).

    THANK YOU for sharing your experience. I am moving to a country (Turkey) that will prove to be both amazing and challenging to survive in as a Black Woman and I almost let my weight gain cheat me of the opportunity to do great things, enjoy the world as I see it and finally get some melanin into the community in Konya. I BOW down to you and your courage….you are BEAUTIFUL.

    Travel Safe and Do great things

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