#85 - Traveling!

Whenever I travel I am always reminded how much I truly hate being fat! I'm getting ready to take a big trip to Greece, my gift to myself for finishing my PhD. All this travel prep has reminded me of the horrors of traveling as a fat person, and I'm dreading the travel part. I hate so many aspects of traveling when I'm fat. Sure it sucks to travel for everyone, waiting in lines, being on cramped airplanes, dealing with lame customer service, it all sucks. But being fat adds a whole other dimension for despising travel. I already talked about airplane seats in an earlier post, I swear the planes nowadays are built for women 5'2" and 100 pounds. Don't you think? Everyone complains about the airplane seats though. Men are too tall and get their knees smashed, and anyone with a little extra padding (pretty much the entire population) is cramped like sardines. It sucks! So I'm definitely not looking forward to my 11 hours in the airplane. OMG 11 hours? Crap. Every time I check in at the airline counter I worry that this will be the time they make me buy an extra seat cause I'm too fat. Probably silly to think this, but you know, I think it anyway. So you want to hear more irrational paranoia? I searched and searched and finally found a really nice hotel near the water in Athens. I looked at some photos of the place online and it looks great! It should be perfect! But what am I thinking about? One, I wonder if the bed will be strong enough to hold me. Stupid I know. And two, I wonder if I will fit in the bathtub. Again, stupid. It's not like I'm 315 pounds anymore. Now I'm the size of a big guy. Of course the bed and tub will be just fine, but my stupid brain thinks these things. All this physical stuff sucks when you are fat when you travel: seats, beds, tubs, cars, etc. But another thing I hate about being a fat traveler has to do with foreign impressions. I am not looking forward to being seen as the stereotypical fat American. I find that a lot of people from other countries view all Americans as a) rich, b) fat, c) lazy, and d) stupid. I'm not rich, I'm not lazy (well I try at least), I'm definitely not stupid, but I hate that people's first impression of me is the fat American. It bothers me. I hate being pigeonholed into a stereotype.

I think many of the reasons I hate being fat here at home are completely amplified when traveling. I think we're already a bit on edge when traveling. Will I miss my flight? Do I have enough money for that? How do I say X in Y language? OMG do they all drive like this cabbie? But on top of all that stress I'm even more stressed about people's impressions of me. All those questions I ask myself daily like, do I look fat? is that person staring at me cause I'm fat? will I fit in that seat? are even worse when I travel. I think I just get more sensitive when I travel. I will have to try desperately hard to stifle all of that self conscious crap when I go on this trip. We go on trips to have fun! We shouldn't be bothered with all the pains of being fat on top of it.

It's funny, but the last time I traveled to Europe I was exactly the same weight I am now, 250. I spent a month touring many countries in Europe, and I had a blast. Many times I was so excited about everything I was seeing and learning that I often forgot about being fat. I guess I not only took a vacation from home, but also from my self consciousness. It was kind of a mental vacation too. I really tried not to let things get to me as much. And if I did experience something negative (like evil stares from the locals), I would just convince myself it was because I was American and had nothing to do with being fat. I want my trip to Greece to be as wonderful. This is a reward for all my hard work. I just need to remember the great time I had in Europe before. My weight was never an issue on the whole trip as far as I can remember, and I'm sure it won't be issue again. Any problems I run into with weight are going to be problems all in my head I'm sure. I know that if I take good care of myself on the trip (the girly stuff), keep my head held high (confidence, confidence, confidence), and remind myself of how far I've come (65 pounds lost, woo hoo!), I know that I will have the time of my life!


Myer Monster said...

When my brother and I were in Ireland over the summer I was refused entry into one of the bars one night because security said I was too drunk ( i was not, I only had 2 beers ). My brother insisted that it was because we were americans and they didn't want anymore tourists in the bar, but I don't think so.
They didn't have a problem letting my brother in, the problem was with me. Was I too fat? Did I look pregnant? I get asked when I'm due all the time, and I'm not pregnant. I think they just didn't want to get caught having a "pregnant" woman drinking in their bar.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your wonderful writing. You explain things so well. You are so gifted. And WOW! This is your trip to celebrate achieving your Phd, AND you have lost so much weight to get to 250 pounds.

I hope that with all the thinking and feeling you did to write this post, you have moved into a zone where you can relax and experience the fun and joy waiting for you there.

Urban Chick said...

Girlfriend, have a fabulous time on your trip. As far as the 11 hour flight goes - if you can get a side seat where nobody else is...go for it. That's how I deal with long trips when I'm flying economy. In addition to being large, I'm also tall. I need the leg room and the hip room. Having an empty seat next to you makes it much easier to sleep and relazx in general.

And as far as being looked upon as fat and lazy...I think you'll be looked at sexy and curvaceous. That's been my experience traveling abroad.

Greeks celebrate women with padding...and if you do your girly things and keep your head up high, you'll get nothing but positive reactions.

Enjoy your time. Congratulations on finishing your PhD and losing 60 lbs. You are a total rock star!

BTW - PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE post some pictures from your trip so that I can live vicariously through you! Greece is on my places to see list.

Anonymous said...

Having been to Greece many times (married to a Greek), I can say that yes, for the most part Greek women are thin/petite. This due largely in part to the fact that they smoke/drink a LOT of coffee/walk everywhere. It's a cultural/societal difference. We North Americans have a very different lifestyle. I too am tall (5'10, and am a solid size 12) and do stand out. But I've grown accustom to being "the big Canadian girl" and I don't feel insecure anymore. Go and have a great time, enjoy everything Greece has to offer, great food, great nightlife, shopping, a rich history etc. etc. Just have fun, and don't feel insecure...you're working hard toward your goal. Reward yourself with a great travelling experience!!!

Trish said...

Congrats on getting your PHd and 65lbs, you should be very proud of yourself. Don't let your weight and how you feel about it affect your trip! Go and have fun!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: shut the f... up! The Greek like their women FEMININE, which means not anorexic!
Congrats on everything you achieved, and you do deserve this! Love your posts, and post some pics soon...

Anonymous said...

I agree that anorexia is in in Europe. Seems Europeans are getting thinner while Americans fatter.

Anonymous said...

I am an American who LIVES in Athens. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news...but Greeks hate fat. I'm not talking about the person who has 25 lbs to lose, but people who are really fat face discrimination. You rarely see these people on the street because they don't go outside. You will be stared at, and you will definitely be mocked. By the way, how will you make it up to the Acropolis? A friend of mine who was about 75 lbs overweight came to visit me about a year ago. She had such a difficult time with the "logistics" of navigating the city, that this, combined with the rude stares of onlookers, made her commit to a life change. So, maybe it will reinforce what you say you are trying to do.

karaokekitty said...

Wow Anonymous, that's just about the harshest comment I've received on this blog. Way to give me a "pep" talk before my trip, now my stress level is through the roof. Thanks so much for that! (please read this with extreme sarcasm!)

Anonymous said...

WOW - Anonymous: Thanks for reinforcing my stereotype that stupid people are taking over the earth!

If people notice you, give them a huge, shit-eating grin and toss your hair with wild abandon. Laugh like you're walking around with no underwear on, and they're not in on the joke! Let go, and have fun.

Anonymous said...

Oh please... ive been the Greece as a fat Australian (i have a complex that people will think i'm a fat racist Australian :( ). I honestly did not notice being treated any differently to that i experience in Australia. (Australians are very nice and i am treated very well)

I'm afraid the American who lives in Athens is demonstrating a more incideous american stereotype... that Americans think people who live in other countries are somehow less human, and "different" to Americans. Newsflash, people who live in other countries are people just like you and me, its just they live in other countries.

Head high or head low, you'll have a great time! And if anyone does say something, as i found, you wont understand anyway! Not that i noticed anyone staring or making comments!

I think when you're a good person, you attract the same, and vice versa. Clearly anonmyous doesnt attract good people.


karaokekitty said...

Well said Cleo! That has always been my experience traveling abroad, that the people we meet in other countries are just like you and I. Sure we meet ignorant people that say nasty things (like the Anonymous living in Greece), but for the most part people are kind and welcoming no matter what you look like. And I totally agree, what you put out there is what you get back! If you are friendly, you will be treated friendly! If you are an ass... well... there you go!

Anonymous said...

I hope you have a great time in Greece.
I haven't been there. I have been to Spain as a fat person. And no, I did not see virtually any fat people besides myself. I also know in Hungary, these days if your bones are not sticking out, you are fat, so anorexia is definitely the trend there.
of course, each country is different.
even though I was fat in Spain I still had a good time. You're going as a tourist, to see sights, and mingle with tourists so just have a great time.
I always lose weight on vacation, I dont know about you,so that's
a plus.
You have to remember too, that the reason Europeans, or most of the world, don't like americans, is becuase of what the US gov't does around the world, that's why Americans are considered stupid, because of what we let our corrupt government do. But most Europeans can distinguish between American citiznes and teh American government and once they talk to you (assuming you are nto a fan of war and destruction), they will like you. Not that you have to mingle with them when you're there for a few days...

Anonymous said...

Dear, beautiful, Karaoke Kitty,
Do not mind stupid comments from stupid people. Those who are shallow enough to judge you based on some stupid prejudice and media-fed ideal of "beauty" (emaciated, unhealthy, zombies with fake boobs the size of their heads, which in turn (the heads, I mean) are completely empty) are not worthy of your attention in the first place. And as I said up there, the Greek do like their women curvy and feminine, and if you think you have big butt, boy, wait to get to Greece and see the gals there (and I think they carry it very well, and are absolutely beautiful the way they are). I am Serbian, which is quite close to Greece, have been there gabazillion times, and pretty much know what I'm talking about. And on top of things, you are just going there to relax and enjoy the new experience, and that you will. Greece is a wonderful country, has lot to offer, people are kind and warm and I am sure you will have a great time. Keep up the good work, and cheers!:)

Anonymous said...

Dude, don't let that anonymous jerk get you down. I went to Greece at my heaviest (302 pounds) and not ONCE was I mocked. Sure I was stared at, but I think that was because I was a dumb tourist too. And I made it up to the Acropolis just fine, although very winded at the end.

Enjoy yourself and don't let the idiots get to you.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, what they all said. I went to Greece this summer and had a fabulous time. Everyone in my tour (fat and thin, young and old) made it up the Acropolis just fine even though it was 95 degrees. It's not a race up the hill or anything! And we did not experience any ngeative attitudes toward Americans or heavy people. Also, the airline we flew was very discreet about getting seatbelt extenders and other size issues (no extra seat purchase required). Greece is wondergul - have a great time!!!

Tully said...

I just got back from a trip overseas and I can relate to everything you have said. I already have another holiday planned for this time next year and mostly I want to get fitter, I really noticed my lack of fitness more then anything.

Great post, I always feel like you have read my mind when I read your posts!

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Anonymous said...

Wow! I am so happy I found your site! I feel for you - I was about the same weight when I got to go to Rome. I remember how amazing it was there but I had a hard time with all the walking and I was sweating like a pig. Luckily my spill over fat was into my Husband's seat on the plane and he had plenty of room to spare. 70 something pounds later- I silently cry in joy when I get into the seat and actually fit! I don't have to worry about people walking down the aisle praying that their seat isn't the one next to me.