Before her first trip outside of Canada in 2011, Hannah Logan had never been on a plane.
But travelling became a ‘love at first sight’ moment for the Ottawa native and over the years her main occupation alongside writing.
“I’d worked a few jobs, save money, quit, travel and that was pre-Instagram, so I started my travel blog as a journal for friends and family. I started getting readers from around the world, social media became more popular and in 2017 I was able to make this my job, as a travel blogger, influencer, and writer,” she tells Neos Kosmos.
When not running her eatsleepbreathetravel blog, Logan works as a freelance travel writer for clients including Forbes, Skyscanner and Lonely Planet.
Recently she also started running group trips, with the last one being to Greece in May.
It was her fourth trip to Greece since the first one in 2019 having collectively spent roughly four months touring some of the islands.
“Surprisingly, I’d been to 50 some countries before I got to Greece, which is funny, because it’s such a popular destination.
“It’s such a safe, easy place to travel. I don’t know why it took me so long to get there.”
Since day one, Logan branded her travel writing as solo female travel. But it was shortly before making her way to Greece that her content also began targeting curvy or plus sized globetrotters.
“Because, you know, that’s a niche in its own rights that people are concerned about, and it stops a lot of women especially from travelling,” she explains.
“But I don’t want to pigeonhole myself into just plus size strictly, because I know that body image is something that every woman struggles with.
“In a lot of my content I talk about curvy travel, but I’m focused more on body positivity and loving yourself. Because as women, especially the way media and social media is, we’re often criticized for not having this typical Hollywood body.”
Logan says her experience while travelling in Greece has been overwhelmingly positive. Part of the credit goes to the locals she meets every time.
“People were incredibly welcoming. I would leave my accommodation and the owners would give me hugs, or I would feel like I have an aunt or a grandma looking out for me while I was there when they were asking me how my day was.”
But her last trip was overshadowed by a body shaming saga that went viral in Greece, after she posted on socials a photo of her in a bathing suit in Naxos.
“A few days later it started to blow up with Greek comments. It was a post advertising my group trip for next year, but I didn’t pay anything to promote it. I guess it was just the Facebook algorithm doing its thing due to the geo-tag.”
The photo from the post showed Logan standing on a beach in Naxos, with a sailboat in the distance and a caption advertising her next group trip to Greece.
“At first, I was like, what’s going on? Because I started to get direct messages as well. And the comments for the most part were very negative about my body, some of them in English, a lot of them in Greek so I translated a few.”
In their ‘subtler’ insulting version, comments were like “you shouldn’t be on a beach” and “what’s your body doing in a swimsuit?” escalating to swear words, nasty discrimination, and even extreme commentary.
“Somebody told me that if they looked like me, they would commit suicide. And I’m thinking ‘Seriously, in this day and age with all the links apparent between online bullying and mental health, this is your comment?’.
“And then in my private direct messages, I had a bunch of men hyper-sexualizing me, so my body was you know, either sexualized or criticised as disgusting.”
Reflecting on the unwelcoming experience, Logan admits it was lot to take in.
“Thankfully, I am at a point in my life where I’m very comfortable with myself and I realised those people’s opinions don’t matter to me. If you’re the kind of person that has a good time sitting behind your computer, and bullying a stranger online, there’s something wrong with you, that’s a reflection of you, not me.
“But still, it obviously hurts and makes you angry and sad. Nobody wants to be thought of like that, either sexualized in a creepy way or criticized like that.”
As hurtful as it may have been, the online saga did nothing to ruin Logan’s appreciation of Greece and the hospitality of its people. After all, she says, “online trolls exist everywhere”.
“I did a follow up post where I actually stated specifically that I don’t believe this was a reflection on the Greek people. I love Greece, I still love Greece, and still plan on going back. My experience there in person is not at all what I experienced online. I think it was just the unfortunate circumstance of trolls in Greece being targeted with my photo.”
We asked Logan about her top Greek island insights and tips for solo female solo travellers (curvy or not).
- Solo travel in Greece “not as social as other destinations”
“Hostels are a big part of solo travel, and a lot of the Greek islands might have just one or two, but it’s more like the budget friendly hotel rather than a real hostel scene, if you are looking to meet a lot of people at a time.”
“Also, a lot of things you’d look for as a solo traveller in cities, like free walking tours or other opportunities to meet fellow travellers just aren’t available, except in Athens.
- Safety not an issue
“I’ve always felt safe on the Greek islands. In all my time spent there, I’ve only had one incident where I felt unsafe as a solo female traveller. It was a man who was trying to touch me and wouldn’t leave me alone. But that can happen literally anywhere; it’s just kind of the sad reality of being a woman.”
- Stay away from the mainstream, if on a budget
“Santorini and Mykonos are obviously expensive. But a bunch of the smaller islands I found can be more budget friendly, which is something you’d look for as a solo traveller especially when you have to stay in a hotel and not sharing a room to split costs.”
- Things to consider depending on your fitness
“Plus-size bodies can be fit and in shape. But bear in mind that there’s a lot of walking involved on the islands. And that could be something that might bother people of whatever body size, maybe you don’t walk a lot, maybe you have a knee or ankle injury. But uneven grounds in old towns, hills and stairs are something to be aware of.”
“And heat can be an issue in the peak of the summer. Consider travelling during shoulder season.”
- You stand out as a solo traveller, but nothing bad there
“At restaurants it can be funny because some islands are more honeymoon-centric or suited for a romantic getaway. I’ve been asked a few times ‘Are you alone? Travelling by yourself?’ But then this would just translate to a glass of wine on the house kind of thing.”
“There are just some places in the world where you typically find groups or couples and the solo traveller stands out. Venice for example was the same for me.”