Jen at STONEHENGE!! SO COOL
What made you want to start your blog, Travel with Curves? What do you enjoy most about blogging?
Travel with Curves was sort of the culmination of a couple of blogging projects I was attempting at the time. I’d started a body positive blog called Curvy Holistic that was meant to inspire women at every size to live life to its fullest, but it lacked focus. I’d also tried my hand at a personal blog, but it was too broad and I quickly lost interest in maintaining it because I felt like nothing in my life was that interesting. I wanted something body positive and personal that would not only encourage other women to live life to its fullest, but also motivate myself to practice as I was preaching, so to speak.
Since I work as a freelance writer, I’m always writing articles and blog posts about travel, but I write them for other people. It finally occurred to me that I could start my own travel blog, but use the intention behind Curvy Holistic to create something body positive.
The best thing about blogging, for me, is connecting with people. I hope Travel with Curves takes off to become about so much more than my own travel experiences, but also a place where plus size travelers can share their own adventures and network with each other so body positive travelers start to gain recognition in this blogging niche.
Jen and her lovely husband, Ty, in front of the London Eye.
How has your own body positivity evolved over time?
My own body positivity has progressed a lot from where I was a year ago, and I think it always will. I’m not at that point where I can say, “this is it, I’m finally there!” where I’m completely comfortable in my body and proud of it, like so many body positive role models are. I suffer from PCOS, which means I’ve dealt with weight gain, acne, and hirsutism for years, which can take a toll on a woman’s self-esteem. I’m working on it, but it’s a process. Some days I’m more confident than others, and that’s okay, but I maintain a body positive mindset and reassure myself that I’m beautiful just the way I am. You’d be surprised how easily that mindset can keep your insecurities in check.
And when you’re finally getting out there and experiencing all those things you said you would once you lost weight, only you’re doing it now instead of waiting for the scale to hit that elusive number, you don’t have time to think about how insecure you’re feeling.
In the travel blogging community there is a stereotypical expectation of women (i.e. skinny, bikini-wearing, always somewhere exotic, smiling perfectly). What are your thoughts on this? Do you think there is a lack of plus size female travelers in the spotlight?
This is exactly why I wanted to start Travel with Curves! I love reading travel blogs and living vicariously through these amazing bloggers, but none of them look like me. That’s not a bad thing, of course, but it’s hard for a plus size woman to relate to a youthful, athletic, or “modelesque” girl in short shorts and a tank top ascending Machu Picchu without seeming to break a sweat. I love what those bloggers are doing, but I also want to see more plus size women doing the same, because so many are putting it off until they lose weight or get in shape, and the years pass by and they wish they’d done it already. I didn’t plan my first trip overseas until I was 32, and that’s a shame, but at least I didn’t wait any longer.
Jen at the Roman Wall in London.
This question actually makes me think of a photo of me taken next to the old Roman city wall in London. It was humid that day and my face was flushed and still puffy from the flight. My ankles were so swollen from walking who knows how many miles every day, so my feet were killing me, and I swear you can see the pain in my face because that smile is not genuine. LOL! But hey, I’m in London! I’m standing next to an ancient wall the Romans built. I’m feeling fat, bloated, and exhausted, but I’m there! I did that! It’s an amazing feeling.
What is the number one place you'd like to visit that you haven't had a chance to?
Oh wow, there are so many! I’ve only been overseas once so far, and that was to London with a day spent in the English countryside, so I have so much more I’d love to see. Scotland is probably at the top of the list just because my husband and I really want to go back to London next year, and it would be easy making a trip up to Edinburgh while we’re there. I also want to visit Dubai, Egypt, Petra, and Budapest. But, if I had to pick one place I’ve been dreaming about, it would be the Maldives. I’m not much a beach person, but I love the water and that place looks like my kind of paradise!