Journal Stories Travel Planning

Introverts Abroad

Our world is becoming increasingly extroverted. We are always chatting, texting, calling, Snapchatting, Tweeting, or emailing people about our lives. And for introverts, it can be tiring.

Introverts are people who need time away from others in order to recharge, whereas extroverts gain their energy from social events. Classic introverts tend be more reticent, work independently, and have a smaller, but closer, group of friends.

It seems daunting to be an introvert who has the dream to travel intrepidly. There are the fears that you won’t make friends or be to overwhelmed to take real adventures. But this is your time, and you can choose to enjoy it however you want.

You Won’t Make Friends

If you are an introvert, you might fear that traveling is exhausting enough on its own, let alone having to meet new people. First timers seem to believe that no one will want to talk to them when they are traveling. However, it is almost impossible not to make friends while traveling abroad. If you are staying in hostels, couch surfing, or volunteering, you will be surrounded by new people who are just as curious to meet you as you are to them. You can probably find the other travelers who also don’t need to go out dancing until 4am every night if that is what your body and energy needs. And you don’t have to make friends with every person you meet. You will find your tribe of like minded travelers, and they are looking for you as well. However, this is also a time to experiment with who you are! Maybe staying up until 4am is exactly what you need every once in a while.

You also might feel an ease of social pressure because if you mistake a social cue, you might never see that person again. Since most of your interactions with other travelers are short lived, you might be able to be more of yourself.

As women especially, people tend to be curious of the female traveler who roams alone. If you travel alone, you seem more approachable instead of being surrounded by a pack. So open yourself up to the moment when you are feeling social.

You Will Be Overwhelmed

There is the fear that you will feel more worn out or be too overwhelmed by all you are ingesting. Introverts tend to experience novelty fatigue faster because they feel more intensely and tend to be empaths- people who absorb others’ energies more. This can make one exploration day feel like 12.

Remember to take your time and travel at your own pace. If you find that exploring or doing activities one day is enough, then go snuggle up at a cute bookstore or coffee shop the next. You can control your own schedule because this is your time.

Introverts tend to know when they need to take time for themselves. Podcasts, books, music, or journaling are great ways to take time to yourself and recharge without feeling completely alone. Know when you need that time to yourself.

But What Will Everyone Think?

Don’t be concerned about other people’s Instagram stories or all their Facebook likes. Just because you stayed in a museum while your friends trekked across the savanna doesn’t mean that they had a better experience than you. There is no right way to travel as long as you come out feeling energized and satisfied by your own adventures. Everyone has their own limits and needs and it is important to be mindful of your needs. No one else will know how to take care of you better than yourself!

Personally, I find that my most joyful experiences are when I am meandering through a city at my own pace. This allows the place to open itself up to me organically. I like to take in the unique milieu of a city or landscape without the influence or perception of someone else. It keeps me present and being present leads to happiness.

If you are an introvert, be proud, and take care of yourself! I used to feel embarrassed that I needed time alone and felt obligated to travel with people when I would have rather been alone. However, I’m much more comfortable with myself and expressing my needs for solitude with a city and know how to respectfully decline invitations to explore with others. Once you accept yourself and learn how to articulate your needs, politely, you can go anywhere.

You can, peacefully, enjoy your travels on your own terms.

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  • Erika December 26, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Loved this piece so much. I used to have all of these same fears and concerns, but with a few solo trips under my belt I’m now completely comfortable on my own. I find that locals and other travelers are always very curious when they realize that I’m on my own. They often go out of their way to help me or ensure that I enjoy my time in their city.

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