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My Journey; Unapologetic Plus Size Traveler!

Being a Black female and plus size has contributed equally to my identity since childhood. Growing up, I was always what many would consider fatter, curvier, thicker {insert your own adjective} than most people in my circles of friends. As a result, I struggled to accept my Black and curvy body, let alone exude confidence in a country such as the United States where people are often shamed for being black and/or thick. I did not let my body size stop me from traveling, riding roller coasters, or wearing two-piece swimsuits (although THAT took me a long time to build up the courage). My friends continuously describe me as a very confident person, a person with “swag.” However, that confidence did not happen overnight.

The first step was #OwningTheStruggle!

Every day, scrolling through instagram and watching travelers’ snapchat stories, I gain so much LIFE seeing the #blackgirlmagic and #blackboyjoy hashtags extend to black traveling around the world. Traveling while black has really become a movement, clearly with the endless hashtags one can use to promote what is (hopefully) becoming the new norm. Whether it is through blacks traveling solo or in groups, black travelers are doing their thang. For example, I traveled very little as a child not because I did not want to but because I did not have the economic means to do so or social awareness to seek it out. I did not witness many Blacks traveling either. I did not see this social media phenomenon of black traveling growing up and so it is something I wanted to be a part of. I pondered long and hard about my angle in this movement.

One thing I continuously noticed was the lack of thicker curvaceous travelers on my phone screen, whether that was on Snap chat, Instagram, Facebook, or online blogs. It is something that continues to bother me. I know there are more people like me out there. I actually Google searched several times before I could come across ONE article featuring plus size travelers. This is something I wanted to change.

I created a travel Instagram with the caption: *Unapologetic* Curvy * BlackGirlMagic*. Along with that, I started to wear fitted #teeswithapurpose because it makes me feel comfortable in my own skin and in my own curves. It started off with purchasing one shirt and now it has turned into another one of my addictions just like traveling. My way of owning the struggle is not only wearing but also confidently rocking positive messages about my body across my voluptuous chest.

On every trip domestically and internationally, those shirts bring attention. People read the messages, smile, comment, or turn away. The point—it brings attention. That one comment can lead to a conversation about my experiences and shed light on body positivity while being #blackandthick.

As much as I have not let my thickness hinder my travels, it has brought its own unique set of experiences. Imagine sitting in a 14-hour flight to India with your hips feeling completely smooshed against the seat dividers sitting at an exit row. Imagine also trying to request a seat with extra hip room on your way back home and getting not only pushback but also outright disrespect before being able to convince a flight attendant to switch your seat while already on-board the plane. Clearly someone did not create airplane seats with thicker people in mind.

It is those situations that motivate me to want to share my own experiences. No one should feel ashamed to travel because of race or size. No one should feel like prey either…Traveling abroad to some countries, being black and curvy has caused some men to lust over me like a sexual object. As I walked the Taj Mahal, Indian men turned their heads a full 90 degrees to catch a glimpse of me. I even got a marriage proposal at a hotel lobby. I am not making these things up.

I own my struggle and let it be a source of inspiration—one picture, one post at a time. I would like to think my thicker body gives more of me to love. With these experiences, I am living my life as a traveler who is * UNAPOLOGETIC * CURVY * BLACKGIRLMAGIC *


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