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8 Things Pint-Sized Travelers Have to Deal With That Tall Travelers Don't

by Rosalyn Estoque Jan 7, 2016

Unreachable overhead compartments

Let’s start with what may be the solitary positive of being the same size as an Oompa Loompa: airplane rides are usually a comfortable fit. The downfall is that the only way you can reach the overhead compartment is by climbing onto the chairs like you’re in a jungle gym, then graciously accept when the guy behind you feels bad and offers to help. You’ve always envied the luxury of being tall and able to place a carry-on bag into a compartment at eye level, because for you, it’s like reaching for the top of Everest. For all your minute size, you can’t help but block the aisle as you’re quietly contemplating on how you will place your bag above. More often than not, you’ll just have to put it (barely) under the seat in front of you, ruining the point of having that extra legroom in the first place.

A backpack that could be used as a torture device

You arrive at Heathrow airport with your oversized backpack – your life, basically – pulling you backwards like a catapult. This thing is weighing you down, but you don’t let that stop you. Your lovely British friend meets you there and you both jump on the tube towards the city. Throughout your journey into London your friend insists on holding your bag for you, even though he has his own – is he being nice, or does he feel bad for you?

Probably the latter.

On the average sized human, a 40 or 50L backpack is the perfect size, if not maybe almost too small. On you, it’s more than half of your entire height. You both arrive and get off at Piccadilly Circus and your friend is still insisting on taking your bag for you, so you swallow your pride and let him. That bag is like to holding a boulder on your back, but for your friend, it’s next to nothing. He easily holds your bag on one shoulder and his on the other. So much for Girl Power.

Being the same size as your 13 year old cousin

You’re about to buy an entry ticket at Casa Battló in Barcelona, and the lady at box office hesitantly asks if you’re purchasing an adult or junior pass. Even though she doesn’t flat out say it, the confusion in her eyes is clearly due to your smaller than average height. She thinks you’re just a kid. It doesn’t help that the counter top between you two is as high as your shoulders and reaches almost to your chin. In almost every city you visit, your height seems to deceive everyone, and yeah, it’s great being able to pay the cheaper fare for attractions. But on the other hand, I go to the pub more often than the museum. Try buying a beer when the bartender thinks you have a fake ID.

Getting “lost” in crowds

You’ll always hear your name being called out followed by a “Hey! Where are you?” when traveling through densely packed crowds with friends. You especially notice this more when these friends are close to six feet tall. The sad reality of it all is that you’re usually no more than a foot away, and they’ll be turning around in circles wondering where you are, when all they had to do was tilt their head down a few degrees.

Since they cannot see you, they will continue to walk on further to “catch up” with you or they will wait in one spot in hopes that you will appear, while you on the other hand are still moving at your own pace unaware that anyone is looking for you. With everyone wandering in different directions to find you and you still pacing at your normal rhythm, you unintentionally lose everyone and eventually turn into the classic case of a lost child at an amusement park. I guess you could ask security for help, but why infantalize yourself more than you already have?

Oversized Everything

It’s your first week in Morocco and you think it would be a great idea to purchase a djellaba (traditional Moroccan dress) to blend in and respect the country and their values. As you wander around the local market you spot heaps of gorgeous potential dresses, but everything you seem to find is too big or uncomfortably awkward. The sleeves are too long, the hood is gigantic, and the dress itself is dragging behind you like a train. You’re drowning in everything you find! Unfortunately for you, an adult “small” anywhere you go is never really an adult small. Maybe it’s time you revisit the children’s section.

Trying to keep up with tall new found friends, is literally an uphill battle

After travelling alone for a few weeks, you’re pretty excited to gain a new friend – who happens to be over six feet tall – to travel with you from Tangier to Chefchouen, Morocco. First of all, Chefchouen is a town built on the side of a mountain, so to reach anything, you’re either stepping up or down. Secondly, you’re new travel companion’s legs are as long as your entire body. And third, and most importantly, the bus station you both arrive at is at the bottom of the mountain – hopefully you’re ready for a work out.

It’s above 40 (Celsius) outside, you have your oversized backpack on your back, your friend is stepping more than two steps at a time without a sweat while you struggle behind taking only one step at a time, trying desperately not to tilt backwards and go tumbling backwards over the edge. Having just met, you don’t want to come off as incompetent in your initial impressions, so you grin and bear it and start stepping at the same pace, but really, inside, you’re secretly cursing this guy. Tall people just don’t get it. Suddenly the nice trip you two decided to take together turns into an extreme leg day boot camp, and that’s not a great start to a friendship.

Friendly giants, aka vision obstructers

Whether you’re trying to read train departure times in Penn Station, New York or attempting to watch a band on the SummerStage in Central Park, there is always going to be someone much taller than you obstructing your view. Just like your friends who “can’t see you” and think they’ve lost you in the crowd, this rather tall individual is as well unaware of your presence. This giant obliviously stands directly in your perfect line of sight, causing you to jump on your toes and weave in and around the forest of tall humans with hopes of finding a better angle to view whatever it is you need. If neither of these tactics work, you could always resort to asking that big friendly giant to describe what it is you need to see.

Bike Pedals and Tandem Bike Rides

It’s your first time in Central Park and you and your friend think it would be a great idea to ride a tandem bike together. The tandem bikes only come in one size, and before you even get a chance to get on the bike, you’re already thinking, “Damn, I really hope my feet can reach the pedals… if not, hopefully my toes.” You get the guy at the bike rental station to lower the seat as low as it can possibly go. You hop on the front seat and to your surprise your toes reach the pedals! It’s a miracle! So you decide to take the lead.

After a few minutes of riding tandem, you start to realize that you can barely touch the pedals, and the idea of you controlling the brakes was the worst idea anybody in Central Park has ever had outside of taking a jog at midnight. So you and your friend switch places, where you wind up looking like one of those children on a bike train behind their parents. Oh well. At least you can get away without pedaling.

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