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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.

Advice

6 Important Travel Tips for Introverts

Traveling abroad can be a thrilling, life-changing experience, providing you the opportunity to immerse yourself in new cultures and unforgettable locations. But for those of us who consider ourselves introverts, traveling abroad can also present challenges when it comes to social interactions and jumpstarting relationships that will make your adventure that much richer.

That’s why we’re here to help! We’re here to give you some travel ideas and inspiration for introverts like you. Read on for more information on these different travel tips and get ready to plan your next trip today!

Pack Only Enough That You Can Carry Comfortably

Let’s begin with a little common sense. If you’re an introvert and you want to travel, you’re likely to be traveling alone, right? If that’s the case, consider only packing enough stuff that you can carry comfortably. You don’t want to be that person who steps out of the airport in Dublin or Tokyo or Johannesburg with three pieces of luggage in tow needing help getting it all in your next mode of transportation. Not only does it draw unwanted attention, it’s just inconvenient.

Invest in a high quality backpack and travel as minimally as possible. If you have everything in one place, that’ll make it easier to access and harder to lose. Furthermore, it will keep you light, mobile, and comfortable — giving you one less thing to worry about.

Don’t Stress Over Where To Eat

Crowded restaurants can be an introverted traveler’s worst nightmare. The good news is that it’s easy enough to avoid super-busy pubs and restaurants, especially in bigger cities — and often, cafes and restaurants that are off the beaten-tourist-path are much more representative of local cuisine and culture.

In most countries, you don’t need to worry about the stigma of ‘eating alone’, since there will be little doubt that you’re a tourist; except the fact that the people with whom you’re interacting, from the server to the cashier, know you’re not a local and embrace it. Be polite, smile, and do your best to make eye contact — these are actions that transcend any language barrier.

Choose Structured Activities for Social Interaction

While you may be an introvert, it’s safe to say that you are not completely antisocial. Human beings do need to have contact with other human beings occasionally. This isn’t as much of a paradox as you may think. There are structured activities that you can take part in as a tourist that don’t require you to have conversations you might not want to have, but still provide you with social presence.

Guided tours are a great way to experience this, whether it’s at a modern art museum or a tour bus going around a city that shows you all the sights. Other options include brewery and wine tours, as well as tours that go from city to city around a particular country.

Learn Key Phrases

A great tip for any traveler, especially introverts, is to learn a few key phrases in the native language of wherever you’re traveling: ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘please’, ‘thank you’, and ‘pardon me’. No matter where you go in the world, if you’re able to nail down these five key phrases during your flight, you’ll have the basic tools to communicate in any potential interaction.

As an introvert, you’re probably hoping to avoid interactions, but traveling abroad requires a lot of basic negotiations, from booking a train ticket to ordering lunch. If you find yourself sitting alone at a bar having a drink, keep in mind: you’re not obligated to talk to anyone who tries to strike up a conversation with you. Simply smile and say, ‘no, thank you.’

Find Ways To Let People Know You’re Busy

There are ways to let people know (without being rude, of course) that you’re not available for chit-chat. In the 21st century, there’s always the tried and true method of looking busy by checking your phone, scrolling through emails or text messages, or popping in your earbuds and putting on your sunglasses.

While it’s always good practice to make an effort to converse, when you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or experiencing particularly intense anxiety, your electronic devices can be helpful tools to get you through the episode.

Keep a Travel Journal

This last one is simple: keeping a journal can help you recall all of your trip’s experiences, both good and bad. This isn’t just good self-therapy, but it also can act as a sort of guide for your future trips that you take on your own, allowing you to do the kinds of things you enjoy and avoid the kinds of things that lead to unwanted interaction or discomfort.

Those are a few tips for traveling when you’re an introvert. Keep them in mind when you’re buying your next ticket!

 

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