‘Being a plus size traveller isn’t always easy – people touch my stomach, call me fat and I worry about fitting in seats’

An influencer, who has backpacked around the world for the last year, has shared the struggles she encounters as a plus-size woman – from people commenting about her size to worrying about feeling awkward on group trips.
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An influencer, who has backpacked around the world for the last year, has shared the struggles she encounters as a plus-size woman – from people commenting about her size to worrying about feeling awkward on group trips.

Lexi Malan set out to see the world in September 2022, starting in Bali before heading to Cambodia, and then on to the rest of Southeast Asia.

All, while sharing her experience on TikTok, (@lexilovestolive), where she has over 27,200 followers.

The 27-year-old soon discovered just how tricky it can be for plus-size travellers to explore the globe – but refused to let this get in the way.

Lexi in Ubud, Bali (Picture: Jam Press)

She’s now been hailed as an inspiration online, sharing the pros and cons in a viral video.

“Traveling as a plus size person can definitely have hardships than travelling as a straight-sized person does not,” Lexi, a content creator and freelance virtual assistant from Idaho, US, told NeedToKnow.co.uk.

“At the beginning of my travels, I realised I was not only very plus-size, but I was also very out of shape as far as physical fitness.

“It also feels like you have to think two times as much as everybody else.

Lexi travelling around Southeast Asia (Picture: Jam Press)

“Will I be able to fit in the chairs at this restaurant? I need to remember to ask for a seat belt extender on my flight.

“Is there a weight limit on this activity? Will I be able to keep up with everyone if I go somewhere in a group?

“There are tons of things to consider.

“I also spend a good amount of my travel time in more local areas, so I have had children and old ladies come and touch my stomach and tell me I am fat, but nobody ever means it in a bad way.”

Lexi at a cooking class (Picture: Jam Press)

Lexi has also come across challenges when travelling with other people.

She said: “When you are with a group it can sometimes be hard to voice the things you need because it can feel embarrassing or like a burden to everyone.

“I have met some incredible people while travelling, but it’s always hard to not get in your own head.

“The plus side of travelling solo while being bigger is that you can decide a lot more things for yourself without having to explain or have people accommodate you.

Lexi drinking from a fresh coconut (Picture: Jam Press)

“If you don’t feel like you can manage a hike then you just don’t have to go.

“If you don’t think you can be at a certain restaurant then you pick a new one.”

In her video, Lexi can be seen speaking to the camera as she reads out some negatives.

She says: “If you go to Asia, people will talk about you being fat. “Not especially backpackers but locals definitely will.

“I’ve had so many people touch my stomach, people telling me to walk more and little kids asking me if I’m pregnant. “Also a lot of people stare.

“Also aeroplanes, busses, trains, small boats, they can be difficult.

“I’ve managed to luckily do everything but it can be super uncomfortable.

“I’ve been on trains where you have to share tiny seats with people and it can just be hard.

“There are also weight restrictions for some things like if you do skydiving or zip-lining it can be difficult.

“More extreme activities can be harder to do but the vast majority are possible.”

The post has since gathered 3,900 views, as well as hundreds of likes and comments from users showering Lexi with love.

Michael said: “You are such an inspiration for plus size people.”

Misty wrote: “From a plus size girl who loves to travel, you’re inspiring!”

Dandy added: “We lived in Asia for a year and people talked about our size constantly. My boyfriend had a lady rub his belly.”

“You go girl. I would love to be as brave as you. Please inspire this much older woman to take the plunge!” said Teri.

“Girl, I’m here for this,” commented Gill.

Lexi’s advice to anyone else who is plus size is simple: just do it.

She said: “As far as people I’ve met, I have had some people be mean to me or just treat me differently but the vast majority of people I have met have been absolutely incredible!

Lexi Malan (Picture: Jam Press)

“I know that sounds like such silly advice you always hear but people often get frozen in the planning or wanting to do something stage and then never end up doing it.

“No time will ever be perfect and you will never be 100% prepared.

“When I first left to backpack I had never been out of the country on my own, and I could barely walk for 10 minutes without being absolutely exhausted and now here I am!

“I never would have done so many of the incredible things I have been able to experience if I waited until I was ‘ready’ or ‘prepared’.

“You can do this, you are just as capable and worthy of living the life you want as anybody else.”

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