Interview with Linsay from Weigh Out Wander!
I was so excited to conduct this interview with Linsay from Weigh Out Wander! Linsay is a world traveler, blogger, freelance cellist, and self-described master of plus-size living. Hers is one of my favorite travel accounts on Instagram, so when she approached me to do this collaboration, I couldn’t wait!
Be sure to check out her blog for insights on all the struggles and joys of being a big, beautiful plus-size traveler. And now, for her amazing interview:
1. What was the inspiration/motivation behind your blog “Weigh Out Wander?”
I started Weigh Out Wander initially as an experiment and test to myself. I knew that I wanted to travel full time, or at least as much as possible. The easy part was looking at photos of the places I wanted to go, but when I found myself staring down the amount of planning, research, and just straight-up mental determination it would take to even ATTEMPT a life of travel, I was terrified and utterly intimidated. Especially because I have always struggled with pulling through on big ideas. I can come up with a million great ideas, but executing them is where I fall short.
Enter Weigh Out Wander.
After months of research about how I could make my dream a reality, I finally settled on blogging. I knew that it was going to be a challenge, but I relied on that fact to keep me honest, keep me responsible, and keep me on track.
I still have a lot to learn, but I can already measure how much this blog has changed me for the better and how it’s become a part of my story. Now I can see the potential Weigh Out Wander has in bringing light to the capabilities of those previously deemed “unfit” for travel (plus sized pun intended.) In the future, I hope that Weigh Out Wander becomes a sustainable resource for all types of travelers who don’t fit the norm.
2. Have you always been body positive? If not, how have you overcome any self-confidence issues to become the world adventurer you are today?
I struggled for years with body positivity. I didn’t even see the “body positivity” movement until I was in college. By then, I had developed massive, metaphorical tumors that grew from the anxiety, self-doubt, and paranoia that came with a life of being overweight. I would be terrified to eat in public because I thought everyone was looking at me in disgust. I would hide behind pillows or blankets to try to conceal myself. Once, I even hid from my friends to go cry in a fitting room because I couldn’t find anything that fit me (a pure moment, but not my proudest). Those feelings were detrimental, and they ate away at me.
Eventually, I turned to humor to help me cope. It came naturally to me and became my biggest defense against anything that made me feel vulnerable. Now, humor is probably the biggest and most notable part of my personality; and as soon as I started using it, I began to develop stronger personality traits like indifference, assertion, optimism, and adaptability. A combination of these, and many more, allowed me to dismantle the weights of negativity I had racked for myself, as well as rebuild the space around me to incorporate more confidence and positive self-recognition.
Travel only intensified this.
Traveling, for me, is equal parts curiosity, pure happiness, and creating an adventure that pushes me out of my comfort zone. Using a map instead of a GPS, navigating public transportation, driving on the wrong (right?) side of the road, jumping off a 30-foot rock ledge in Mexico, riding ATVs up a mountain in Iceland. These are all things I would never typically do, and travel give me the confidence to continue to do them.
3. Many plus-size women put off traveling for one reason or another (they want to lose weight, they want to fit into a bikini, they want to get in shape for the amount of walking required, etc.).
What is your response to this? How would you respond to plus-size women who put off traveling because they expect it will lead to challenges of embarrassing situations?
This is such a difficult question because, while we all may share similar challenges and fears, the intensity and strain of each varies from person to person. In my experience, there’s one thing that has always helped in dealing with them, and that’s brutal honesty.
A conversation with myself would go a little something like this:
Yes, it’s easier said than done, but stressing is going to get you nowhere. Literally.
You can’t let yourself make excuses. Your life is happening right now, and the world is not going to wait for you to be ready to live it. Instead of overthinking every possible embarrassing or stressful scenario, use that energy to turn your excuses into reasons and motivation. Here’s how:
Step 1: Buy a plane ticket
Step 2: Wait for 24 hours (until it’s nonrefundable)
Step 3: Make a goal out of your trip and start working towards it
When you use excuses, you aren’t only putting off travel, you’re admitting that you aren’t good enough and you don’t deserve to experience the world until you are, which is BS.
Convincing yourself is the hardest part. The fears and anxieties we foster in everyday life can easily be magnified during travel because we’re out of our comfort zones. While the possibility of new or unfavorable challenges may be amplified by traveling, the rewards measure up, and that is what we need to focus on.
4. What has been your biggest challenge as a plus-size traveler?
The biggest challenge I face as a plus size traveler is finding clothing and then packing it. I’ve watched countless videos about “packing light” where a girl fits 4 dresses, 4 tops, and 4 shorts in a space that would fit MAYBE 1-2 outfits for me. I’m constantly trying to mix and match packing styles to make it work, but it’s difficult when your clothes are bigger.
It’s also stressful for me to commit to only a certain amount or type of clothing when I travel because there’s no going home to change a shirt when it rides up too much. Will this material make me sweat? Are my jeans going to stretch out? Will these shoes make my feet hurt? Will I look like a slob? Comfort and style are a rare balance as a plus size traveler because often what is comfortable, isn’t fashionable. While I’ve found some great items that work for me, I’m still on the prowl for pants that won’t stretch out like jeans, but look nicer than leggings.
5. What are some of your top recommendations for plus-size women who are planning their first major trip? How can they better prepare for the demands of travel?
My advice is to be smart, and think small, when picking the location. If you’re nervous about traveling for your first major trip, I don’t think road tripping the Australian Outback is a good choice (unless you’re a badass, then by all means!). It would be kinder to your nerves and overall mental state to pick a place that is relatively small, close (ish) to home, and contemporary.
For me, this was England and Ireland. London has incredible transportation, most of the major sites within one centralized area, and it offers a million options for restaurants, museums, sites, and day trips. Ireland, on the other hand, is perfect for a road trip. The biggest challenge you’ll face is driving on the other side of the road. Getting acclimated only took me about 20 minutes and the Irish countryside is relatively easy to navigate and fall in love with.
You also want to make sure you do your research. You don’t have write out every single detail for every day (not that I used to do that, or anything. . .) but arming yourself with basic information like weather, currency, transportation, sites, and general costs will keep the unwanted surprises to a minimum and allow you to make the most of your trip.
Lastly, if you want to increase the chances of having an awesome trip, bring a friend! Split the planning and costs, and share the memories!