25 Things Nobody Tells You About Traveling While Fat

25 things nobody tells you about traveling while fat!

Traveling while fat comes with its own set of challenges.  Like, no skinny person has ever stopped before booking a flight off to some exotic destination to google “am I too fat to fly?” or “will I fit in an airplane seat?” And even if you’re not concerned about the unreasonable tiny-ness of today’s airplane seats, being a fat traveler is a unique experience – and traveling as a fat woman is even more so. If you’ve ever traveled while fat, you’ve probably stumbled across a few of these already (and if not, there’s so much to look forward to!).  Here’s 25 things nobody tells you about travelling as a fat woman!

But OMG, Lia, you’re NOT (that) fat

Fat is a subjective term, so let’s just get this out of the way: I’m fat.  We don’t have to attach qualifiers or numbers to it. I don’t need to prove my fat credentials. I’m fat.

And, because I can feel some of you well-intended folks out there itching to reassure me about my fatness, NO: you don’t need to say something like “oh, you’re just curvy!” or “but you carry it so well” or “but you have such a pretty face,” or “you’re not THAT fat” or “you’re not fat, you HAVE fat.”  It’s nice of you to be concerned, but those are things you say to make someone feel better, and there’s nothing to make me feel better about, because there’s nothing wrong with being fat and I don’t even feel mildly bad about it. So I appreciate your concern, but relax! Fat isn’t a bad thing. It’s just a thing. A totally neutral, whatever thing. It’s not a big deal.  

You can't help but feel the history in certain parts of Louisville, Kentucky. From the beautiful old steamboat still parked in front of downtown on the Ohio River, to the brick facades carefully preserved on old Whiskey Row, to my favorite part of Louisville: Old Louisville. It's not a misnomer, y'all. Old Louisville is as gorgeous as it is historic. The whole neighborhood is made up of charming preserved Victorian houses, dusted with gold flourishes and Fleur-De-Lis, Louisville's (unofficial, I think?) symbol. Coming from San Francisco, our other home, to Old Louisville, all that's missing from the rows of gorgeous Victorian homes are the hills! Stroll through beautiful Old Louisville or take a historic walking tour: you'll fall in love its charm too. Where is your favorite historic district?⠀ • • • • • #WomenWhoExplore #GirlsvsGlobe #GirlsWhoTravel #DameTraveler #wearetravelgirls #girlsjustwannatravel #sheisnotlost #girlslovetravel #ladiesgoneglobal #femaletravelbloggers #wanderingwomen #darlingescapes #historicdistrict #LouisvilleLove #igerslouisville #mylouisville #everythinglouisville #ShareLouisville#yeslouisville #LouisvilleApproved #do502 #derbycity#explorelouisville #thisplacematters #SeeMyCity #radgirlslife #wearetravelladies #adventureladies #girlsLOVEtravel #thetravelwomen

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Some fabulous fat ladies refer to themselves as curvy, or voluptuous, or Amazonian, or thick, or plus-size, or whatever term they like best: I refer to myself as fat (and also all of the above).

At this point in my life – after wasting a bunch of years struggling against my fatness and battling an eating disorder that nearly killed me – I’ve come to embrace it … and, subsequently, totally get over it: I’m fat, and it’s fine. I’m perfectly happy with my fatness. Oh, and for those of you concerned about my health: it’s also perfectly fine, thank you. Fatness and poor health are not necessarily things that are connected, and I’m in the best shape of my life – much better than when I was thin and dying. But let’s not get into that just now.

Here’s the thing: to me, fat is just a neutral descriptor. Not only am I fat, I’m also tall, and loud, and a traveler, and a hiker, and very practical, and kinda a dime, when I bother to brush my hair or whatever, and married to a gorgeous gingerbeardy dude who also thinks I’m kinda a dime. You get the idea.

Fatness isn’t a defining characteristic of who I am. Frankly, it’s not even a mildly interesting part of who I am. But it’s also not a non-existent characteristic. It does impact my experiences, particularly when travelling (or that time I tried to go surfing and things went terribly).

So I wrote this post to reach out to other fat travelers and badass, adventure-chasing fat women about some of the things nobody tells you about traveling as a fat woman. There’s plenty of fat travel tips, anecdotes, and stories – and I’ve gotten some help from a few other fabulous curvy traveler friends, too!

So sit back, relax, laugh, and share your own stories in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

📸 @kellyaugustineb @plusjones @iambeauticurve || 📍Playa del Carmen, Mexico

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Things nobody tells you about travelling as a fat woman

1. Being plus sized and also confident (GASP!) is seen as strange in some places. Some folks just don’t know how to react when you rock a crop top or a bikini and let all of your curves and fabulousness hang out un-apologetically. Repeat after me: that’s their problem. Personally, I enjoy being the first Hot Fat Chick that these people have apparently ever seen in person before. For some reason it makes a lot of folks tell me that I look like Adele, the only other Hot Fat Chick they’ve ever seen, which is completely inaccurate but a nice thought.

2. Depending on the country, you’ll either get hit on more, or way less. Every country has a different body image ideal (almost like they’re completely made-up and constantly changing!). So in some countries, your voluptuous curves will attract cat-calls and pickup lines. In others, they’ll get you angry looks and disapproving glares. Practice your best pissed-off fat lady face (the more chins, the better) and apply it to whichever situation you rubs you the wrong way (in my case, all of them!).

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3. Don’t forget to bring a towel. Otherwise you’ll get to experience that ~sexy~ moment when the towel that your hostel/hotel gives you is too small to go around your waist/bust/thigh (seriously, what is this, a washcloth?!) and you have to walk across the entire hostel trying not to flash every single person. There must be some mathematical reason to explain why the further away your room is from the bathroom, the smaller the towel is that they give you. I definitely learned this lesson the hard way (read about my travel regrets). Girl, you gotta bring your own full-sized travel towel. Or even better, do as I do: bring a robe!

4. Your boobs will attract a lot of attention … from other women. Hannah says, “I never expected women to get more excited about my boobs than men. While travelling through Vietnam, I kept getting comments about my “big, sexy” chest. A couple of them even went in for a feel (um, excuse you!) before sadly looking down at their smaller chests. Trust me, ladies, if I could trade I would.” Psst: Hannah has an awesome post called “Fat, tall, tanned, and …beautiful?”

5. You’re gonna get stared at. Nothing turns heads, apparently, like having a body with fat on it and also doing completely unexciting things like walking down the street or buying groceries. If you look different from what people are used to, the stares will come. Call it human nature: there’s rudeness errwhere.

📸 @everythingcurvyandchic || 📍 Havana, Cuba

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6. People will make really uncomfortable statements about your appetite. Like “YOU EAT SO MUCH” as you’re enjoying your completely normal-sized plate of regular food. Or just a subtle  “you look like you enjoy food”. Why, yes, as a person who is alive, I do enjoy eating. Whether you’re feasting or snacking, eating in a public place is apparently an excuse for rude people to make obnoxious and unwanted comments. Keep on living and keep on feasting.

7. People will volunteer suggestions for places to eat without you having to ask. I actually love this one. What an awesome fat perk. Like, yes, I WOULD like to know the best local spot to eat a giant donut at midnight, thank you for randomly volunteering that fact! (Ahem: Bob’s Donuts in San Francisco). TBH, this is a huge benefit to travelling while fat.

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8. In some places, EVERYTHING is much smaller. Like a carnival funhouse, or Alice in Wonderland. Imagine our surprise when we got off the plane in France and everything looked like it had shrunk. Why are the roads so tiny? Does ANYONE fit into this shower? What is this, a country for ants?! It took us a lot of getting used to (and uh, we may have accidentally definitely busted a headlight on our rental car trying to navigate one of the ridiculously skinny roads). In places like these, there’s no avoiding it: you’re going to feel like a bull in a china shop the entire time. Just buy travel insurance in case you actually break something (oops).

9. If you’re fat and also hella active, you’ll get some skeptical looks. Like people don’t believe you that you’re capable of a physical activity. News flash: being fat doesn’t disqualify you from being a badass rock climber/hiker/skydiver/white water rafter/runner/powerlifter/anything. Own it like the boss that you are and enjoy the look of shock on their faces.

10. Some adventure activities actually have weight restrictions. And you can’t just throw your deuces up and ignore them. I once saw a 225 lb maximum on a zipline tour in South America. I had to pay extra when I went skydiving to accommodate my above-200lbs-ness. Here’s the thing: do NOT try to play coy and act like you don’t weigh what you weigh: this is an actual safety issue. It’s also why I sideye these kinds of activities hard (that, and I’m a huge f***king scaredy cat). Like, OK you say this is safe, but is it fat girl safe? Thankfully, the only time I had an issue arise, my harness and rope worked just fine as I dangled 200 feet in the air on a waterfall crying my ass off for 30 minutes while someone came to my rescue. Like I said, scaredy cat. But don’t play, y’all! Weight is just a number. Be honest and don’t take the risk.

Ok lets go back! This is me at home. Im currently a tad homesick since I miss my beach days. This was an every weekend thing. #PuertoRico is truly #paradise This picture was taken in #Palominito with #Palomino on the background. I had just kayaked from one island to the other one. If you are in USA theres no excuse as to why to miss this. White sandy beaches and clear warm water is ALWAYS a good idea! 😉 #justgo #doit #travel #livethelifeyoulovenow #lolaspassage #thisiswhatIlivefor #instatravel #travelbug #traveller #travelphoto #passport #passportready #yolo #wanderlust #islandgirl #beach #plussizetravel #plussizeblogger #iamtb #travelblogger #blogger #kayak #worldaddict #worldtraveller #travelwithme #travelerslife

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11. Let’s just be honest: looking cute comes second to preventing thigh chafing and blisters. Dany says, “Sure, wearing the cute dress that looked so pretty when you saw it online, with matching strappy sandals (high heels, of course!) would be great… Unless it’s 110° on the Las Vegas Strip and you didn’t realize how long you’d have to walk to get to the Bellagio from the Stratosphere. Ugh. Painful lesson learned: Always look for practical clothes that you feel comfortable in!”

12. There’s a secret to looking attractive while doing physical activity and I don’t know what it is. I don’t know if this is a plus size travel issue, but I need to vent. Some people seem to glow while hiking or running. They bound across the ground like gazelles, shaking their glossy hair out as they go, like real-life commercials for bladder control pills or erectile dysfunction or whatever. Then… there’s me. Red faced and sweaty, heffalumping across the ground like a buffalo on a mission. I love hiking – and running, as long as it’s 65 degrees and cloudy outside – but damn, do I look hideous while doing it. What’s your secret, beautiful active people?! Like is it just me?! Here is my advice: if you’re gonna take a cute selfie, do it BEFORE your hike, run, bike ride, etc. Nobody will ever know!

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13. There’s also a secret to looking attractive in the heat, and I also don’t know what it is. I’m not sure if this is a fat thing, or just a losing the genetic lottery thing. But as soon as it’s over 80 degrees, it’s over. There’s no point in looking cute. It’s not going to happen.  Like, my hair somehow forgets what the physical properties of hair (and gravity) are. All of my clothes start to stick to my skin like when you try to get dressed as soon as you’re out of the shower but you’re still kinda wet (ugh, the worst feeling ever). And my makeup starts sliding down my face on a crash-course for my neck.  I read this awesome post on how to stop sweating while traveling and took notes like it was a college course. Now you know why I live in chilly Northern California, y’all. 

14. Clothing markets in Asian countries are like a fun form of torture. They only ever have one size. One size?! How convenient. You have the ONE SIZE that fits my cat, my skinny friends, and/or my baby cousin. One size is like that dress that you had in 7th grade that you promised yourself that you’d fit into ~one day~ and held onto for the next 25 years. That day isn’t here and it’s not worth becoming the Hulk in the middle of a crowded market.  

  • I’m gonna pause here and share Karen’s full story, because it’s hilarious: “I once wanted to try on a cute dress that looked like it might fit at a Singaporean market. I was convinced it would fit, but the vendor told me it wouldn’t. I had to promise to pay for it if I ripped it. Challenge accepted, random dress seller. I got it on, but it was so tight. I didn’t want to admit that she was right. Instead, I just told her, “It fits perfectly” … before realizing that I couldn’t get the damn thing off. I was so embarrassed, but I have my pride. So I told her that I loved it so much that I’d wear it as a top (my butt disagreed about it being a dress) right out of the market and paid for it with my shame/cash. That said, it actually fit after it stretched out! Too bad it’s actually hideous.”

15. Souvenir shops everywhere don’t have your size. It doesn’t matter if you’re shopping for a bathing suit cover-up in Mexico or a pair of those cute printed elephant pants in Bali: they don’t have your size. I hope you like magnets and postcards, because clothing souvenirs that fit fat girls are not a thing. Important footnote: you can sometimes circumvent this by buying men’s clothing, which is also how my husband and I ended up with matching Peruvian Alpaca sweaters.

📸 @mamafierceblog | 📍Gama Laugin, Secret Lagoon, Iceland

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16. Get used to conversations like this:

Are you [insert exotic nationality]?
Nope, just American.
Are you sure? Because I have never seen an American girl with ~curves like you have.
…Just American.

Like is this a pickup line? Because I can tell you from experience that there are plenty of other fat people in America. I highly doubt you’ve never seen one before.  Why is this a thing?!

17. Think a bike tour sounds like a fun, relaxing way to see a new city? Think again. Were you imagining yourself cheerfully re-enacting a scene from Vicky Christina Barcelona? I wish. Instead, welcome to that awkward moment when you realize that your booty has betrayed you and it will NOT fit on the teeny tiny bike seat. While you play slip-n-slide with the world’s tiniest bike seat, you’ll probably get insulted by some random dude in Bogota who assumes you don’t speak Spanish and can’t understand that he’s making fun of you while you struggle-bus. Repeat after me: callate tu boca, hijueputa! So maybe that got a bit specific, but my point still stands: rental bikes, particularly the kind used in bike tours, were not made with fat chicks in mind. I’ll take a walking tour instead, please!

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18. Chub rub wear & tear is an inevitable fact of traveling as a fat woman. You know how your jeans always rip in that one stupid spot between your thighs? Yes, ladies, I’m talking about the chub rub hole. It’s been the nemesis of all of my favorite pairs of pants for my entire life. I’m the kind of girl who refuses to throw a good pair of pants away just because they have a chub-rub rip. So before my year long backpacking trip I actually sewed patches on where I knew they’d eventually wear through. My leggings and jeans lasted much longer thanks to 2 extra layers of fabric on each leg! If you’ve got a trip coming up and you know you’ll be doing a ton of walking, get handy with the sewing machine and throw on some extra fabric. Your thighs will thank you.

19. Chafing is also an inevitable fact of traveling while fat. You’re gonna chafe at some point on your travels. Whether it’s from a wet bathing suit, a pair of shorts that keeps riding up, or that f**king bike tour, be prepared. Carry a body-glide stick at all times. 

20. Avoid top bunks when staying in a hostel. This isn’t even just a plus size travel thing, top bunks are generally just terrifying.

Day 4 of best travel memories in 2016: my first day riding a motorbike 🏍 . I was with @chantaewashere on Nusa Penida island. The roads were complete 💩 with huge holes, tiny slippery paths, and many beside big drop offs. But I survived and saw some amazing things. And then just as we were coming back we both wiped out, one after the other. Which is why we have matching purple scars on our right knees. Cooler than matching travel tattoos, right? 😎Chantae wrote about the experience and I have it shared on the Eat Sleep Breathe Travel Facebook page today if you want to check it out. It's a funny one! Have you ever crashed a motorbike in Asia? #nusapenida #Bali #motorbike #indonesia #traveler #adventure #igtravel #wanderlust #bucketlist #passionpassport #beautifuldestinations #travelstoke #livetravelchannel #travelling #travelgram #travelawesome #fodorsonthego #expediapic #traveldeeper #CNtraveler #bbctravel #instatravel #traveltheworld #mytinyatlas #dametraveler #globelletravels #radgirlscollective #sheisnotlost #shewantsadventure

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21. The bigger you are, the more uncomfortable public transportation becomes. Whether it’s airplanes, busses, collectivos, or moto-taxis, there is an inverse ratio between your size and how much you’re going to hate getting from point A to point B on a budget. Rule of thumb: if your trip will take longer than an hour or 2, it’s probably worth it to pay extra for a little bit of comfort. Especially if that means you get to have A/C or an extra 3 inches of legroom. Oh, and don’t worry about whoever’s lucky enough to sit next to you. Fat is squishy AF. They’ll be fine.

22. If you’re worried about being too fat to fly, ask for a seat-belt extender and book a double seat. Your comfort and peace of mind is worth the investment, particularly if it’s a long flight. Whenever you can, fly Southwest Airlines, who has a “Customers of Size” policy that lets you book 2 seats and then request a refund after your flight (reason #828682 why Southwest Airlines is my favorite airline EVER). And don’t worry: nobody is going to weigh you, unless you’re flying from Uzbekistan or Samoa, apparently. To see an airline’s policies regarding extra space needs, look for a page on their website addressing “customers with special needs” or similar.

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23. Do not skimp on your shoes for traveling! Those cheap flats from H&M may look cute, but you know they’re going to fall apart after about 10 minutes of walking on cobblestones. As fat women, our feet have the task of carrying ALL of our gorgeousness, and they need to be treated like the valuable chariots of glory they are. So don’t give them blisters  from too-tight shoes made of poor materials, or POS cheap soles that will wear through long before you’re worn out. My favorite super cute, well-made, up-for-anything travel shoes are the Capri Sandals from Teva, and anything from VivoBarefoot (although I don’t recommend bringing barefoot shoes on a trip if you’re not used to them – they require quite a bit of foot and calf strength and it may take some time to work up to wearing them full time. But once you do, nothing else will EVER compare).

24. You are the only one who knows your own mobility limitations and abilities, so speak up! Whether it’s hiking the Inca Trail or just hiking up the stairs, if you’re worried about your ability to do something, ask beforehand. “Is there any way our room can be on the first floor?” or “does this tour require me to walk the entire time?” or “does this hike have places to rest?” are all totally reasonable questions to ask. Don’t feel like you have to keep quiet and suffer. Advocate for yourself and don’t hesitate to ask lots of questions before you book something.

25. Just so you know: you’re fabulous, beautiful, powerful, and amazing. I guess this isn’t technically a tip, but I just wanted to make sure you knew. Go out and chase your wanderlust across the globe, you incredible adventuress. You’re a mountain of strength and you radiate confidence and bad-assery with every step you take on this earth. You’re f**king rad and don’t you forget it.


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Traveling while fat comes with its own set of challenges. And I’m not just talking about the physical strain of carrying both a 30-pound backpack AND an extra 50 lbs of body around at the same time (do it for the calf gains, y’all). Here's 30 things nobody tells you about traveling as a plus size woman!

Do you have a tip for your fellow plus size travel divas? Leave a comment below!

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56 Comment

  1. Elise says: Reply

    Oh my god I have had to take a break half way through because I am laughing so hard there are TEARS streaming down my face with laughter. What a refreshing, HILARIOUS article!

  2. I am on the other end of the spectrum and am seriously contemplating writing a collab post on writing about my body type as a traveler. Like for example, how I am treated as a kid and not a grown woman when I travel, which can be quite annoying 🙂 I did find your post funny, I hope it is OK to say that:-) BTW, Indians love curvy women, so you will get a lot of unwanted attention over and above the fact that you are a caucasian woman in India:-)

    1. I’m on my first solo trip right now in Costa Rica. I needed to read this! Thank you.

      1. Lia says: Reply

        Omg! I was just there last month 😀 please hug a sloth for me!

  3. A very honest and refreshing post. Very well written and something I think many women (and gents) will find helpful and practical. Love your tips about shoes and towels – something I’ve never personally had to worry about but makes total sense. You can’t win as women though – you’re either too big or too small or not busty enough or not enough ass etc etc so let’s just embrace and love ourselves – happy and healthy is my motto!

  4. I really enjoyed reading this post since I myself can relate a lot to this topic especially when traveling. I was very insecure about my weight growing up and only until recently that I finally accepted the way I am. However, I totally know the struggle of shopping in other countries and not finding your size. Anyway thank you for being so authentic, raw and real with this topic. It is so important for women to know that size don’t define them, we are capable of doing anything in this world.

  5. lola ann mendez says: Reply

    I really loved this post. traveling has at times made me much more accepting of my curvy body. I was celebrated for it in Spain and Italy. In India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, I have become self-conscious again. Here, curvy bodies are seen as a luxury, but they tell you so by saying, wow you are fat! I can’t separate the word fat from negativity.

    1. Lia says: Reply

      I definitely know this struggle. I’ve re-taken the word fat and removed its negativity for myself, and you can too! It takes some conscious thought work, but once you wrap your head around the idea that FAT/FATNESS is NOT BAD, it’s just a totally neutral thing and does not come attached with negative connotations, then removing your gut-instinct to attach it to that negativity will eventually become second nature. It’s not easy though – our society has ingrained fatness as this awful death sentence associated with all kinds of sins like being lazy and having low self control rather than associating it with awesome things like being really soft and fluffy and extremely comfortable to snuggle with. But you can absolutely choose to redefine it for yourself, and remove the stigma associated with it 🙂

  6. love this, I’m like you tall as well as fat, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve tried to buy clothes when travelling… Even my skinny little friends can’t fit into them half time, I’m sure the Chinese make everything to fit children! My solution has been to buy material instead and then make something when I get home 🙂

    1. Lia says: Reply

      That’s super smart! I definitely studied fashion design in college in part to learn how to make clothes that would actually fit me (and tailor my own clothes to fit as well). I was the only one in our class who consistently created patterns and designs for fat women and cast plus-sized fit models! It was pretty amazing to see a an auditorium full of people cheering as my size 16 models walked the runway in corsets and gowns made by me 😛 … but of course now I’m lazy AF and the only sewing I do is to add chub rub patches to my pants, soooo. Hehe

    2. Jessica says: Reply

      What an amazing idea to buy material! I have never thought about doing that.

  7. Omg I love this! I, myself, am what people refer to as skinny-fat. I have skinny arms and a small upper part of the body , but I have a belly and love handles (my dear donut), big butt and thighs. Even I struggle with clothes. And my poor boyfriend who IS fat struggles with most of the things you mentioned. And he’s French. He once broke a chair in a restaurant, he feels uncomfortable when seated on a flight with a European or Asian airline and we once couldn’t take the elevator together because there wasn’t enough room for the two of us in that tiny space.

    1. Lia says: Reply

      Omg, I broke a bench in a hostel in Costa Rica last week. It’s such an unpleasant feeling! But also like … damn y’all, can you not construct benches & chairs that can safely seat people? Come on, now.

  8. I love this post, your honesty, and your confidence – go girl!!

  9. So many of these things hit home. I live in Paris and am American thin, but French fat. I laughed so hard about your #8…Alice in Wonderland, indeed. Try shopping at French stores. It’s so disheartening! Ummm…I have arms and legs, not sticks posing as arms and legs. I do find solace in the fact that I’m seeing a lot more fat people in France. Not American fat, but certainly bigger. Thank you, McDonald’s and KFC! Keep on eating, Frenchies. A few years from now I’ll feel like a normal size again. 🙂

    I enjoyed reading this so much. Thank you!

  10. I loved reading this post! As a fat girl who loves to travel I totally feel your pain! that chafing is the worst and yeah I always get a lot of attention around the world. I have wanted to scuba dive for so long but dread trying to squeeze into that wetsuit!

    I have a new one too! Theme park rides!!! The mortifying moment I visited Germany’s Europa Park, got into a rollercoaster and the stupid seat wouldn’t fit my abnormally large thighs in it! I wanted to die!

    I alway opt for mens clothes too! My hubby and I have matching t-shirts and hippy pants from all over Asia 🙂 Oh and bracelets!! My wrists are a tad stumpy and Asian bracelets fit…JUST!

    #firstworldproblems #fatgirlproblems

    Thank you for sharing! This genuinely helps feel a bit more comfortable travelling as a “larger than life” woman!

    1. Lia says: Reply

      Oh man that’s a great one I never thought of! Thanks for sharing!

  11. I’ve experienced a LOT of these same issues, not quite all but yeah, most of them! Made me smile!

  12. Cath says: Reply

    Great post. So many things rang true for me. Excellent writing – loved it!

  13. Sarah says: Reply

    hahahah! i love this post! you are definitely one of m new favourite bloggers. Number 14 definitely applies to the majority of the human race I think!! hahaha…After re-stocking my travel wardrobe in a Bangkok market, I had serious crotch-ripping drama every time I squat or bent down to do anything for the rest of my trip. If I didn’t have a friend who was handy with sewing kit, I don’t know what I would have done!!

  14. I love this! And I’ve experienced quite a bit of what you describe. I loved going back to Malawi and hearing “You’ve gotten so FAT!” and it was a compliment!

    1. Lia says: Reply

      Isn’t it funny how fat is a dirty word in some places and a beautiful compliment in others? That’s why I treat it as neutral. It only really means whatever you decide to attach to it.

  15. I can relate to this so much! Having just come back from traveling SEA. I had local women come up to me on the beach and have a good look at my chest and in Vietnam the ladies were obsessed with my ‘strong’ arms, I call them flabby. This is sooooo relateable and provided a good laugh!

  16. I couldn’t agree more. Own the curves, get stuck into every activity and bodyglide is a saviour!!!! I have just returned from a trip where I forgot mine and I couldn’t wear half the clothes I took with me!!

  17. Totally in love with this. You rock!

  18. meghnam212 says: Reply

    Hahaa… I enjoyed quite a chuckle reading this and could related to a few of your points! Having said that, I admit that being curvy myself, sometimes I have felt so uncomfortable wearing my swimsuit in public that Ii gave up the idea altogether. Silly thing to do, I know. I learnt from my experiences and realised that no one really deserves the license to judge you!! =)

    1. Lia says: Reply

      Here’s a tip on how to get a swimsuit body, from me to you. Step 1: put a swimsuit on your body. That’s it 😉 Rock what you got girl!

      I’ve learned that being a fat woman wearing a swimsuit in public will inspire a small handful of insecure, judgmental people to get all up in arms, but it will ALSO inspire a LOT of insecure, shy people who are also on the fence about wearing their own swimsuit in public to feel better about themselves! Every time I go out in a bikini I feel good about the message I’m sending to the world: look at me, I’m confident and brave and happy with myself and IDGAF about dumb body expectations and ideals. It’s worth it to me to shock a few pearl-clutching fat haters so that I can inspire some other folks to stand a little straighter and think, “if she can do it, I can too!”

  19. Claire says: Reply

    Haha love this! Have experienced all of these in my time, but never thought of them as a collective experience :+) never thought they skinny people may not get food recommendations as much as I do, new thing to be grateful for.

    1. Lia says: Reply

      I know right? Sorry to my un-fat travelistas, this one’s all ours 😛

  20. LC says: Reply

    Aw, I packed on a tonne of weight when I was living as an expat and chub rub is my mortal enemy. I can only wear my favourite skirt now if I apply copious amounts of Chamois Butt’r before throwing it on o_0 This is a great post, Lia.

    1. Lia says: Reply

      Oh girl I know this life. I have little spandex shorts I wear under all of my skirts and dresses. So that way not only am I protected from the chub rub, but I’m also ready in the event that someone wants to film an impromptu 80’s music video on the street and needs extras.

  21. Anna says: Reply

    This was really eye opening and hilarious. I love your voice when you write! Chub rub is my least favorite thing and I’m pretty sure I’ve ruined about 5 good pairs of black jeans. SIGH.

    1. Lia says: Reply

      My husband is constantly after me to throw out perfectly good pants ruined by chub rub but I refuse! I just keep patching them up and sewing them together again >.< Finding a good pair of pants that fits right in all the right places is NOT easy and I'm not giving them up without a fight 😛 YOU WON'T DEFEAT ME, CHUB RUB!

  22. lostinthiswholeworld17 says: Reply

    Love this post especially all the awesome instagram photos peppering through it. Chub rub is the bane of my life, followed closely by the one size fits all malarkey!
    Keep being fabulous 🙂

    1. Lia says: Reply

      Thank you! I got most of the Instagram photos from the amazing Fat Girls Traveling Instagram. They’ve also got an awesome facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1835561730031628/

  23. These are all very interesting points I have never considered. I’m a bit overweight but have always been larger than all my tiny friends who have no problem with washcloths as a towel, sitting comfortably in an airplane seat or being judged by what/how much they eat. Interesting post!

  24. haha loved this very honest post! To be fair, I am fairly small and I live in Thailand and constantly get the ‘you’re not gonna fit in it’ look when I’m at the markets!! If they say don’t try it on I listen though haha!

  25. #18 wear & tear was a harsh reality when I was home in Aus a few weeks ago. I stupidly packed one pair of jeans and one pair of tights. What was I thinking?! Spent a few hours ironing a patch on them to get me through another 2 weeks. #Awkward!

  26. Jenn says: Reply

    I will always remember that time when I was with some people and they all suggested to go the next day to a pond. I had already made plans so I couldn’t go, and then this girl ( one gym obsessed girl I must add) that told me, you know, you don’t need to be in your bikini if you don’t want to. I just stared at her and told her, I am sorry but, why should I have any type of problem about being in a bikini? I think that that day I realized that people that make this type of comments are just people that lack in self confidence. They think they are great because of how they look and if they ever lose their figure they would crumble and never leave home. To all of you, yes, I know I have some extra kg on me, but I am healthy ans I have a fuller life than many of you. I love food and I love life. Can you say the same?

    1. Lia says: Reply

      I definitely think that a lot of fat hate is just insecurity and low self esteem. If you couldn’t love yourself while fat, then I’m not surprised that you assume I can’t either, and project all of your negativity about fatness onto me. But it just bounces right back off. I try to let me self love radiate outwards so that it builds up both other fabulous fat ladies and anyone who isn’t fat but has negative connotations about fatness as well!

  27. Louise says: Reply

    What a great post! It made me laugh out loud many times, particularly about the clothes shopping in asian markets, I don’t think any of us manage to fit in anything there! Also, that people voluntary recommend places to eat without you asking! Thanks for such an honest post and giving me a real giggle.

  28. Kassie says: Reply

    I LOVE THIS SO MUCH! Seriously, this post is everything. I love that you own and love your body. It’s something I’m just starting to get better at and it is so goddamn freeing. Traveling and seeing how strange and diverse body image issues were around the world really helped me realize that everyone else and they opinions can go jump.

    One time I was desperately searching for shorts in Bangkok and had a shop attendant tell me that maybe I should try the shop down the road called “Fat Girl”. I was a bit offended at her rudeness until I realized there was ACTUALLY a store called Fat Girl and they had everything in my size—aka a fat girl in Asia’s dream. These struggles are all so real but there is nothing sadder than letting your own insecurities get in the way. Once you stop caring, you realize that 99% of people weren’t caring in the first place.

    Thanks for sharing this amazing post

    1. Lia says: Reply

      Omg, now I want to open up a store in San Francisco called Fat Girl. That’s totally awesome 😛

  29. Hi Lia! Long time, no see! Loved the article, and watching all your travel adventures (and mishaps, we’ve all been there) from afar!

    My fat-girl tip is for when those feelings of body hate or self-loathing come creeping back in, you use your adventures to combat that. For example, when you start to think “UGH my thighs are so fat”, you just respond with “Yes, they are fat. But those thick thighs have carried you through X number of countries on different continents, and they were able to support you. Yes, you have a gut now. But that gut comes from eating some of the best bread and cheese in the world, and from drinking wine and beer in ancient cities and enjoying yourself.” <3

    1. Lia says: Reply

      I LOVE this!! What a fantastic tip. Thanks so much, Bridget!

  30. I love this and can totally relate to all of the above! When I was in Vietnam visiting my husband’s family they were nice enough to bring out a “real” chair for me because they knew my behind wasn’t fitting in those kiddie chairs they like to sit in Stay fabulous and travel well ladies!

  31. Julianne says: Reply

    Wow. Just wow. I LOVE your posts in general, but this one rocked. Some of your points were funny (shopping in markets in Asia), and others were super practical (body glide sticks and chafing). Could not have said any of this better if I tried!

  32. Loved this post! It’s interesting that you pointed out that beauty standards varies around the world! Regardless the most important things is that you appreciate what figure you have and rock it!

  33. I just want to say thanks for this post! I’m 5’5″ and weigh 210. But I can hike well and I snorkel like a champ. I identified with what you said about people being shocked that you can be fat and still be active. I barely squeezed my big butt into my wetsuit on my first scuba dive only to surface after a 45 minute dive to see the buff young macho man had surfaced after just a few minutes.

  34. I loved this post!!! My gf and I just went to Cancun last week with our 8-month-old babies and post baby bodies and rocked it. As she said, I don’t care if I look fat in the pictures because we are in Cancun and everyone else is stuck at home, lol.

  35. Taylor says: Reply

    This. is. amazing. Thank you so much for sharing this I was dying of laughter. I’ll be sharing this immedatiely to make sure every girl reads this fat or not!

  36. Madi says: Reply

    I absolutely adored this and I have no idea why I haven’t fallen across your blog until just now. Count me in as a new reader!

  37. Best. Post. Ever. Thank you!
    I’m especially laughing at the reaction to your chest. Going in for a feel is not cool people! And I’m saying that as a small-chested person who’s never had to deal with that.

  38. Dany says: Reply

    I cannot thank you enough for writing this. I still haven’t reached your zen-level when it comes to my body and I feel out of place more often than not. Because of Instagram too many girls think that you can’t travel (or you can’t take pictures of yourself) if you’re curvy. I’ve been bullied, harassed and I had to deal with haters too. But you know what? You’re right: there’s nothing wrong in being exactly how I am!

    1. Lia says: Reply

      Totally! Keep rockin’ your gorgeous self all around the world, girl!

  39. Olivia says: Reply

    What a wonderful and loving article! Seriously. The one that stuck out the most for me is clothes: practical but stylish and appropriate for the weather. I have yet to find this!
    Amazing stuff and keep on rockin’!

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