Click to read how travel injects positivity into my body and helps me love and appreciate my body again. If you are a solo female traveler struggling with your body image, I encourage you to read my story! #SoloFemaleTraveler #BodyPositivity
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The next is a visitor publish by Kathleen:

I’m curled up in my hostel bunk mattress, clear and funky after showering off the Bangkok warmth and air pollution. The sense of awe I had felt that day on the historical Wat Arun slips away as I look by means of my photographs. All I can see is how bloated my face appears, how unflattering that tent-like linen prime is on my curvy body. The wonder I discovered so readily right this moment slides too simply into self-loathing.

This isn’t an unfamiliar feeling for me, or for most ladies I do know. But it surely wasn’t purported to occur to me now! I had give up my job 4 months earlier than to journey the world and free myself of my inhibitions and hang-ups and develop into a wildly self-actualized Cool Lady who by no means frets concerning the measurement of her abdomen.

However then I’d scroll by means of Instagram whereas sipping a coconut smoothie at a Cambodian cafe or at the back of a tuk-tuk and see photograph after photograph of wafer-thin 22-year-olds in strappy sundresses and heels with flowing hair. On a mountain, on a seaside, in a sacred temple – they had been there trying impossibly glamorous and sharing it with the world. I’d be over in a nook of a white-sand seaside making an attempt to take an image that hid the gray streaks in my hair, the curve of my pad Thai-filled abdomen, the sweat marks on my grungy leggings.

A part of this damaging comparability sport was straightforward to reconcile myself to. These beautiful robes and all of the equipment require far more baggage area than my 35-liter backpack permits, and I worth touring mild over hair instruments and outfit selection. Something that may’t be washed out in a dingy hostel sink in 5 minutes isn’t becoming in my present life.

These physique picture comparisons had been more durable to shake.

Like most ladies, my relationship with my physique has been difficult from a younger age. I bear in mind at age 12 making an attempt to do a exercise on my mother’s Bongo Board so I might “get abs and be scorching” at my new center faculty (ah, the Britney Spears period!).

I’d at all times been fairly skinny rising up, from a mix of genetics and a low-key obsession with remaining tiny (hummus and cucumber will not be a meal, younger me). However within the first few years of my thirties, the burden crept on from the stress consuming and ingesting from normal unhappiness.

So after I took off in September for my solo travels in Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia, I had a picture at the back of my thoughts about how I’d return triumphant in a 12 months. I’d be bolder, extra cultured, wildly stylish in a Euro boho approach, filled with tales of historical beauties and overseas lovers. And, in my thoughts, I’d do all of it trying like these Insta influencer beauties.

However in actuality, that was by no means going to occur. I’m 33 and frizzy-haired and wide-hipped. And I spent some late nights in these creaky hostel bunk beds questioning if I used to be doing one thing improper, that my touring felt world-expanding and heart-opening and life-shifting however didn’t appear to be that in photos (or in actual life, for that matter). Was I doing the whole lot improper? Was there one thing deeply poor within me, simply as I’ve at all times feared? Was I caught feeling like this ceaselessly? And in these lonely and sleepless nights, some elements of my too-porous mind let the disgrace and worry seep in.

It took a week-long yoga retreat in Chiang Mai, Thailand to begin to dig into the roots of these emotions in direction of my one and solely physique. Wasn’t it taking me on this unimaginable journey? I used to be wholesome and younger and in a position to perch my complete physique on simply my arms in crow pose and hike the Santorini caldera and stroll ten miles a day in Paris, and right here I used to be feeling a lot loathing and worry at any time when I tapped into the factor that was permitting me to do all of this. I left that retreat with a vow to do higher. My physique has by no means hated me, regardless of how a lot I’ve hated it. Possibly it was time to return the favor.

So I stored up my mind-clearing sobriety, my new consciousness from my common yoga follow, and I seen a lot. How I like the sensation of sporting garments that free me as an alternative of limiting me. How I flip my occasional unhappiness over my singlehood inwards, into ideas about not being lovable till I’m excellent, and the way excellent for me means skinny. And I unfollowed all these Instagram accounts that known as themselves journey accounts however had been actually simply photograph shoots in unique locales, with nothing else so as to add to the dialog. Not that they had been doing something improper – I like a flowy costume and a phenomenal background and if I had a photographer boyfriend I’d stage me some elaborate shoots too. However they weren’t including to my very own private journey in the way in which ladies like Kristin and @wheregoesrose and @hownottotravellikeabasicbitch and so many others have, and so I let their beautiful selves go. I didn’t depart my outdated snug company life as a result of I needed to go off and be similar to everybody else. I didn’t wish to be a carbon copy of one other extra glamorous lady – targeted on being small and sq. and becoming neatly right into a field, even when that field on is the Instagram grid with a whole bunch of likes.

This perfection I’ve been chasing my complete life is an phantasm. I acquired a parasite in Laos, a magic bullet for weight reduction that a couple of of my mates expressed envy over. And the ensuing ache and weak point and the hanger (there’s no hanger like the sort consuming solely tiny quantities of lentils for a month will trigger, I needed to punch everybody I noticed consuming) softened me additional in direction of this one fragile and resilient and resplendent factor that homes my complete being.

So now I pay attention quietly to it – not simply to what it screams (“I’m hungry! feed me pasta!”) however to what it whispers (“I’m lonely after a day of watching {couples} make out in Venice and I’d wish to boring that ache with carbs and wine”). Certainly one of solo journey’s items is the time and area to get to know your deepest self.

After I look again at my life as a 90-year-old in an vintage rocking chair on a porch overlooking the ocean, I’m fairly positive I gained’t remorse that ten kilos by hook or by crook. However I’ll remorse lacking out on the whole lot I attempted to cover from whereas loathing my poor harmless physique: each long-haired Parisian poet I didn’t flirt with due to my self-consciousness, each image with my fast-growing elfin-handsome Irish nephew the place all I can see is my abdomen rolls. This new consciousness is each a rebel and an acceptance on the similar time – considering critically about why I prize thinness above so many extra vital issues like well being, consciously curating my social media to point out solely what serves me indirectly, and accepting that generally feeling uneasy in my physique is simply a part of being human, and never a cause to punish myself. I can simply really feel it and let it go and get again to watching that Sydney sundown.

As a solo traveler, my solely fixed companions on the street are my physique and my backpack. Even after I battle to zip my backpack, I don’t curse it for being what it’s. I find it irresistible for the great tool it’s that lets me discover this wild and fantastic world. For the final months of my journey, I’m decided to do the identical for my one and solely physique.

I wish to know myself and worth myself and nourish each a part of my being so I can discover each nook of this wild, stunning world with my complete coronary heart.

Concerning the writer: Kathleen has been wandering the world solo since September 2018. She shares all the sweetness and historical historical past and cats she finds on her Instagram and weblog. 

Traveling solo helped me love my body again. I realized the importance of body positivity and learned to appreciate and celebrate my body through travel. Click to read my story and I hope it will help you realize the same! #BodyPositivity #SoloFemaleTravel
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