Where to Feel Thin: Destinations Where Size 14 is the New Size 00
By Gretchen Kelly
As a woman of substance, it was in traveling abroad that I first discovered I had charms that translated into many languages. In our thin-obsessed culture, we’re used to thinking that toothpick arms and protruding bones are sexy. Not so around the world! Italian men have always been famous for admiring what is commonly known as “junk in the trunk” (and taking pinched samples of it, too). Indian woman have always proudly exposed their less than washboard flat tummies, knowing, as the Kama Sutra says, that a deep navel and a rounded stomach are signs of a good lover. While fitness is always to be desired, you might find that your body type is the ideal in places where they’ve never heard of Nicole Ritchie or Keira Knightley.
Here are our top destinations for plus size travel where thin is not in.
Morocco is not just an Arab culture. Its blend of African and Arab influences as well as a Berber tribal influences make it one of the most colorful places in the world to visit. All these cultures have one thing in common – they are desert peoples with a love of fertile places and the look of a well-fed woman. As you walk down the street you’ll hear cries of “Voila, la gazelle!” which means basically, “Look at that hot chick!” Single women of size will be barraged with compliments but all that attention can get a bit exhausting. For your own peace of mind, dress your curves down and don’t wear short skirts or tight pants. Traveling with a guide who knows how to watch out for you is also key. Heritage Private Tours (http://www.htprivatetravel.com/) is a New York-based agency specializing in Morocco with lots of experience guiding single women travelers through the brilliantly colorful culture of the country.
As most travelers who have been to a real Hula dance know, you can’t really dance it authentically without a little balast around the hips. Hawaii’s indigenous culture (as well as its neighboring Tahiti’s) traditionally views a well padded physique as desirable. Polynesian women of size dance Hula without Spanx panties or any other mental or physical inhibitions. This spirtually-based dance is a great way for woman of all sizes and cultures to get in touch with the powerful rhythms of the Hawaiian goddess Pele in whose honor, many traditional hula dances were created. The Big Island capital of Hilo sponsors the Merrie Monarch Festival every year just after Easter. Named after the last King of Hawaii, who founded a cultural renaissance on the islands, it’s a great way to immerse yourself in the body affirming pleasures of Hula and traditional Hawaii, http://www.bigisland.org/.
The Italian language as spoken in its regional dialects all over the country has scores of words that mean “a big, beautiful woman.” The land of Fellini’s well-fed heroines is still in love with curvacious women, though it’s on the southerly island of Sicily where the obsession reigns supreme. The Queen-sized reigning monarch of Italian cuisine, Lidia Bastianich, offers private food-centered trips to Sicily and other parts of Italy, http://www.lidiasitaly.com/. What better way to fall in love with a country and feel ravishingly beautiful than to sit at an outdoor cafe with a glass of great wine and a plate of penne puttanesca and watch handsome men on Vespas smile at you as they go by? Remember this phrase, “Ciao bella.” It means hello beautiful and you’ll hear it a lot!
Cleopatra must have been a size 14. How else to explain the passion Egyptian men have for plus sized women? All down the Nile I was treated like a Queen and ended up feeling like one too. The ancient Egyptian goddess of love, Hathor, was in fact, a well rounded cow-headed woman with a full face and poofy Angelina Jolie lips. Get in touch with her spirit by taking an otherwordly trip to Egypt will a full fledged shaman. Nikki Scully (http://www.shamanicjourneys.com/) has been taking single women travelers on Egyptian magical mystery trips for over 15 years. She offers women only journeys as well as mixed groups and arranges rare encounters in temples, tombs and other hard-to-access places. Don’t miss two of the most single-women-centric temples on the Nile: Hathor’s Dendera (where her hippy priestesses danced and sang) and the Isis temple on Philae (Isis was a single woman traveler herself but let Nikki you the tale).
One final word of advice. If you find yourself falling in love with the image you see in other’s eyes on your latest escape, take that feeling home with you. The next time you find yourself comparing your thighs to Kate Moss’, dust off that internal mirror and see yourself in all your own diverse beauty.
As my favorite Spanish proverb goes, (once attributed to Antonio Banderas, when told Melanie had put on some weight): “Bones are for the dog. Meat is for the man.”
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