Homeless, Hungry, and Hosteling International

I was homeless as a child. We never slept on the street, but I remember sleeping in a car. I lived with my grandmother at the time and she was deep in her drug addiction. Most of the time we would stay with a family member or with one of her friends. But I vividly recall wishing I had a room of my own, and a bed of own.

I remember panhandling. I'd stand outside and sing or dance hoping that people would give me money.

I remember sitting outside of a family friend’s apartment complex on Fulton Street in San Francisco, Ca. surrounded by my dolls and stuffed animals. Wanting to sell them so that I could have money to buy candy and snacks. Standing in line at Glide Memorial United Methodist Church to get a free hot meal was a weekly occurrence. I remember using WIC and Food Stamps to get food from the grocery store and going to a food bank to get canned goods. All  this happened before I was six years old.


I share all of this to give a bit of context. Being homeless and hungry are things that I’ve experienced personally. So I want to do what I can to raise awareness, to decrease the stigma and to help my community. I recently read that Nearly half of the U.S.’s homeless people live in California and I’m sad to say, I’m not surprised. This is one of the many reasons I’m partnering with Hosteling International Santa Monica for their Great Hostel Give Back. I’m inviting nine women to join me in Los Angeles, Ca on Valentine’s Day weekend to learn more about love and community.

The Self Love Galentine’s Day Weekend will focus on connecting with yourself and the community. Nine ladies will join me in a private shared dorm for a cute and cozy slumber party experience. After we unpack, decompress and get to know each other better we will work together to make a delicious meal and dessert to share with the other hostel guests. After dinner, we’ll watch a movie, because it’s not a Date Yourself Night without dinner and a movie!

We'll put our money where our mouths are and support people that support people!

Saturday morning we’ll volunteer in the warehouse at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Then everyone will have some time to see the sights and explore a bit of the City of Angels. The Sunday Self Love Session will be action-packed. The day will begin with a beautiful brunch catered by a company that cares about the community. We’ll put our money where our mouths are and support people that support people!

Afterward, there will be an inspirational and educational panel focusing on self-love and self-care. Hear from some  incredible fat activists on the self-care tricks and tools they wish someone had taught them. Later in the day, we’ll have a photoshoot on the infamous Santa Monica Pier with a Celebrity Photographer. Because if the Paps didn’t take your photo, did you really go to L.A.?

If this sounds like the trip of your dreams, sign up now as spaces are limited.

If you can’t attend but want to contribute, donate to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank today!

I want to thank Hosteling International Santa Monica for collaborating with me on this project. I’ve looked for ways to connect the Fat Girls Traveling community with a charity, but it had to be something that resonated with me. This event will allow me to shed some light on the stigma that surrounds the homeless epidemic. And give my community of fat females an opportunity to combat the shame that society puts on food especially as it relates to fat bodies.

Hosteling International Santa Monica Entrance

Someone recently asked me why I wasn’t as interested in speaking at conferences next year. The biggest reason is that I’d rather put more effort into creating my own events and opportunities in 2020. So please stay tuned, there will be lots of announcements happening to close out the year!

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