Millennials are traveling with passion. We are also relearning how to accept our own bodies.
This means the life of a plus-size girl is easier, right?
We might be trying to change how society thinks about body size and shape, but when we go out there and start living, we are going to stumble upon the same old stereotypes. I know because I am now gaining weight and I traveled with my best friend, let's call her A., and we were the target of a lot of ...experiences.
Here are all the things no one will tell you about traveling as a plus-size millennial girl.
1. The world has not yet decided what to think about us.
Each time you cross a border, you will feel a mix of fear and excitement. But not because you are thinking of all the things you can do in that country.
It's because you never know how your body will be perceived by the nation you are traveling to.
For example, while shopping in Sri Lanka's Pettah, no one is going to body shame you, but then you'll go shopping in Japan, where you will often hear that you are "too big”.
This is because the rate of obesity in most Asian countries is less than 4%, as compared to 30-50% in Europe or America.
For example, what people call XXXL in Japan may not fit a size 10 woman, so there is no chance of finding anything for a plus-size girl who wears size 22.
That being said, in Japan, I wasn't treated with hate because of my size, even though I was actually shooed out of stores. People just told me I wouldn't find what I was looking for in their stores.
2. You need to be prepared for your flight.
Flying is the most challenging for plus-size people, as the size of the plane seats are reducing.
This means you should be preparing for your flight and one of the most important items you want to have is a seatbelt extender.
If you don't have one, prepared to be humiliated by the flight attendants and your fellow passengers. They will talk about you and make you feel uncomfortable.
Probably there are better prepared flight attendants out there, but the ones my friend and I met were completely tactless when it came to dealing with the challenges of plus-size.
This somehow made me understand why some people turn to crowdfunding their trips, in an attempt to skip all these problems by just booking a first class seat.
3. You also need to be prepared to manage wedding proposals.
While in Asia you will be standing out in an unwanted way, in Africa and the Arab World, your plus-size body may bring you a lot of dates and wedding proposals.
One of the most memorable trips I had with my friend was to Dubai, where her curves were definitely appreciated.
As we explored the fun things to do in Dubai, she received 5 wedding proposals! 5! Five!
Many people in Africa believe fat women are more fertile and healthy, and able to produce healthy children. The fatter a woman, the sexier she is.
4. We are still confused.
Depending on the country you are visiting, you will face different reactions as a plus-size woman.
But the most annoying problem was the different standards in different countries. In one place, I had curves; in others I was plus-size. In other places still, I was "obese".
All in one, beauty standards around the world are varied and this often means plus-sized women have to deal with lots of extreme reactions.
From being shooed from stores to being asked to marry a man they saw for the first time, you are definitely going to have a lot of stories to tell when you are back home.