Representing the Underrepresented
The more I explore the world the more I begin to see that traveling while fat isn’t easy. Weight limits for activities have to be considered and plane seat sizes can make a huge difference in one’s comfort while in transit. But I found that there’s no real space to discuss this. Sure there’s a dozen Facebook groups out there for plus size travelers but the narrow newsfeed space on Facebook isn’t the best setup for discussion among thousands of members.
So last year I posted a suggestion in a very popular, widely known travel forum asking for a dedicated plus size forum. The responses were astounding. None of the users could understand why a plus size forum was needed. After all, the only thing different that fat people face while traveling is what to pack.
I fumed over this whole thing for months before realizing that if you want something done you’ve got to do it yourself.
This summer I’m going to be working on creating an accessible and inclusive travel forum called Diverse Travelers. It will be a space for all underrepresented travelers: plus size, persons of color, LGBTI and persons with disabilities. I’m also thinking about adding a space for religious travelers.
Average travelers don’t really understand what it’s like to wonder whether a scuba diving company will have your size wetsuit, or how to best travel with medical equipment or how to stay safe in countries where homosexuality is illegal. And while there are a few small pockets of communities scattered in travel forums across the internet there’s no collective space for people to come together and discuss unique needs for traveling.
But Diverse Travelers won’t just be a community forum, it will be a place for resources as well. Blogs like Deafinitely Wanderlust and apps for plus size people like AllGo will be listed under a massive resource page to make travel planning easier.
At the age of 36 I feel like I have finally found my calling: to help make travel more inclusive and be a voice for the plus size travel community. Diverse Travelers will be the product of that calling and I’m really looking forward to getting it up and running this summer.
There is currently a GoFundMe page set up for Diverse Travelers. The money raised will support the setup and maintenance of the website so that it will continue to be free and accessible for all. Please consider supporting or spreading the word about us!