We’re going to try something new this week! We’re sharing tips from one of our Fat Girls Traveling Members. This week Britton shares the Top 10 Things she’s learned as a #FatGirlTraveling, in Europe, solo, and on a budget.
Photo via Unsplash
1. You will literally always be sweaty. Air conditioning is rare AF, and consequentially, you’re “usually” going to enjoy the Beyoncé-esque, sexy glistening phenomenon… except for the other 95% of the time when you’ll just look sticky. You win some, you lose some, and this is one I haven’t figured out how to win yet. Face wipes help prevent sweat activated breakouts, and that’s about it. Oh, and definitely invest in lightweight, breathable sleepwear. That little fan they give you never does enough and complete nudity in a dorm room is frowned upon.
2. Whatever plan you’ve formed to combat chub-rub or thigh chafing will be insufficient. Double your efforts and figure out what actually works for you. I’m loving dresses with Skimmies (a NON-tummy-flattening brand of sweat-wicking bike shorts), or carrying my Gold Bond stick in my purse and reapplying frequently in public places. Leave your embarrassment at home— you’ll never see these people again, but if you neglect your thighs out of a weird sense of propriety, you’ll have to deal with that painful swelling for days after.
3. There will be an infinite amount of stairs. Just… so many. Some metros have glorious, shiny, new escalators, but most do not. Stay to the far right on your way up, and TAKE. YOUR. TIME! Don’t let anyone rush you. You are entitled to as much space and time as you require. You don’t have to apologize for existing.
4. People you meet will constantly rush to tell you how “not fat” you are, out of a well-intentioned desire to not be rude or hurtful. Sometimes they’ll pinch at the skin on top of their abs as they proudly proclaim that you two are “like basically the same size,” and more often than that, they’ll say, “You’re not fat, you’re beautiful,” as if the two are mutually exclusive. My advice here is to let it go. I have had great chats where I’ve been able to explain that “fat” is a descriptor just like “tall” or “short,” and that I don’t need to be delicately lied to about my position on the scale of thinness for anyone’s sake. But more often than not, people are trying to enjoy their holiday, and that conversation is just going to alienate you by challenging the societal norms they’re used to. Tread carefully and own your stuff without trying too hard to make other people get it.
5. Top bunks will always be hell, but especially when there’s a young, tiny little thing on the bed beneath you. If you can, message the hostels ahead of time and request the bottom bunk! When able, they have always accommodated my request. When they can’t, just accept that every time you roll over, the bed WILL creak, and you’ll feel stupid for thinking you could do this. You’re not. You’re strong and resilient— just like the loud ass bed you’re sleeping on. Your hostel-mates won’t hold it against you, or maybe they’ll be too drunk to notice, anyway.
Photo via Unsplash
6. On that note— the showers in most of these hostels are TINY. I can fit my self inside it, but shaving my legs or bending over at all just isn’t happening. Dry shampoo is a lifesaver for minimizing that experience, and sometimes opting for the room WITHOUT the en-suite gives you access to the larger shower stalls.
7. Good shoes are everything. Don’t underestimate the amount of walking you’ll do… whatever you imagine, double it. You’ll see that something is only a ten minute walk away, but then you’ll spend ten minutes going the wrong direction before turning back. Rinse & repeat. Again and again. You and your shoes better fit like two peas in a pod— and do NOT try to break them in on your trip— at that point, it’s already too late.
Photo via Unsplash
8. Strangers are going to have no idea how to catch your best angle in a photograph. Why any human would take a picture from BELOW ME is a complete mystery, but on this journey I have come to really appreciate all three of my chins. They came with me all the way across the ocean, and dammit, they deserve a chance to shine, too. If quality pictures are super important to you, invest in a tripod or selfie-stick— or something that doubles as both.
9. You will absolutely be sick of every clothing item you bring way sooner than you expect— and be totally unable to replace it all at the cute vintage shops. What happened to all the fat girl clothes from decades passed? ‘Cause they’re sure as hell not in any of the second-hand shops I’ve seen so far. But, take heart in the truth that Amazon ships almost everywhere, and if you get in a bind— fat women exist all around the world, so there IS a solution— even if it’s buried in the yet-untold story of another FGT.
10. Braving all this bullshit to go out in the world and “do the damn thing” will always rank as one of the best things you’ve ever done. You’ll find a joy, and a strength, and a confidence that you didn’t even know existed in you before. And you’ll carry that with you as you keep traveling, or as you go on about your normal life. No one will be able up take it from you, and that’s kind of the whole point.
Continue to follow Britton’s adventures on her Instagram!