Contemplations Travel

Travelling as an introvert

One of the gifts of getting -cough- older is that I get to know myself better. Things I didn’t understand as a newbie traveller make a whole lot more sense now. This not only has to do with becoming a more experienced traveller, it encompasses all aspects of life, really. Whatever curve ball is and will be thrown my way in life, it doesn’t change anything about my dedication to be my most authentic self and to be proud of the things I’ve accomplished. My life is imperfect, but despite those imperfections, I can honestly say that right now…I’m happy! Certain things have aligned in my life, by working hard, by making the effort and with perhaps a twinkle of luck. I’m also more accepting of myself, though -knowing me- I’ll probably always remain self-critical too.

And an important part of who I am is being an introvert.

Introversion has nothing to do with shyness, as some may believe. It has, however, everything to do with how your brain works, how you spend your energy and how you recharge your battery. The short version: extraverts thrive in social situations with heaps of people around and they get their energy from that; basically, the more the merrier. Introverts recharge their battery alone, and while they love social interactions too, dealing with (many) people depletes their energy. An article that has been very helpful for me is Caring For Your Introvert, but there are many more articles, YouTube videos, illustrations etc. about introversion. Of course there’s more to it than ‘introversion vs. extraversion’ and ‘either/or’. I see the terms more on a spectrum, with ‘ends’ and ‘in betweens’.

Since being an introvert is part of who I am, it also goes travelling with me! So how do I care for my introvert when I travel?

Flights
Long distance planes are huge, you’re cooped up in a big box with many people and the engines are roaring continuously. I’m not afraid of flying and to me it’s part of the adventure, but the constant noise of the engines tires me and flying always gives me a headache. Long lines at the border can also be annoying, especially when you’re over-sensitised, have a headache, and lack sleep. I’ve come to the realisation that I prefer a long stopover for the opportunity at quiet time. It makes the trip over so much better to deal with.

First and last few days
On past travels, I booked mostly dorm rooms, because it’s generally cheaper than a private room. I think there are definitely upsides to sharing a room with other people when you’re exploring someplace new. It’s exciting, it’s how you get to chat with people from all over the world very easily. But not only is there this wonderful thing called jetlag, I’ve also learnt over the years that I need a little time to adjust. So I’ve come to the conclusion that I prefer a private room, at least for the first and last few days of my travels. But I’ve been treating myself to private rooms more often, and truth be told, it’s actually quite nice!

Alone time
Introvert people can’t be ‘switched on’ all the time. As I mentioned, I’m not a shy person. In fact, I consider myself a social person, and I love chatting with people to learn about them and their corner of the world. It’s awesome! But I also really love strolling on a beach by myself, staring at the horizon and listening to the sound of waves crashing to shore. I love aimlessly wandering about, camera at the ready and taking pictures of whatever catches my eye. I can be daydreaming in a park or enjoy roaming the streets of a city or town, observing daily life going by. I don’t want people around me all the time and I use alone time to recharge my battery. I’ve always been able to entertain myself anyway, and I can have a wonderful time exploring by myself.

Travel your own travel
‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ is a famous quote by Theodore Roosevelt that holds meaning to me. As an introvert, I tend to think about pretty much everything. On earlier travels I could get discouraged if I didn’t make a friend in every hostel or if I didn’t have an amazing experience somewhere, filled to the brim with activities and parties. As if I wasn’t taking everything I could out of those travels. I now realise how far removed that is from who I am and how I like to travel. Because I don’t need to travel fast-paced all the time and daily life is full on enough. I don’t need to make a friend in every hostel or like every place that I go to. I’m not a party person, so long nights in pubs or clubs with alcohol flowing freely simply doesn’t appeal to me. Sometimes things don’t align, sometimes my bucket’s full, sometimes there are no people that you click with. It happens, it’s life and it’s not that big of a deal. So when my bucket’s full with impressions, I take time to process, reflect, introspect. I take time to enjoy every moment, action packed or not. I take time to relax and ‘waste’ a day away if I want to, which is not wasting anything at all, really.

I care for my introvert, by enjoying as much as possible in the way that I enjoy myself.

Do you lean more on the introvert or extravert side of things? Does it affect your travelling and how do you take care of your nature? Any tips for other introverts, extraverts and variations on the theme?

23 comments

  1. I love this post. You have completely accepted who you are & it is evident in your writing. It is so great to read that you travel in your own way & enjoy it the way you want to, not following what others might believe. Awesome stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As an introvert I have already been to quite strange places in the world like the oasis of Kufra in Southern-Lybia, a place where you actually can not go anymore due to civil war. It is more easy for me to discover such places alone, to look and see what is going on without judging immediately, and nobody asking do you like this or not. Getting an impression sometimes needs more time as an introvert, and valueing it also. I personally find this more profound. Thanks for the inspiring post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like what you said ‘to look and see what is going on without judging immediately’! I agree! I find that as an introvert I can touch a little deeper and indeed experience it more profoundly. Thank you for leaving such a great comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My goodness you said a lot. This speaks for so many people who are like minded I believe. Wisdom definitely can develop over time with experience and it seems you are becoming a very wise and introspective traveler. Travel can easily become exhausting work if allowed and take the wind out of initially exciting and lovely sails. Taking time to absorb the experience with or without others can make all the difference. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment! I had the idea for this post in my head for a while but wasn’t sure if people would be interested. So I just decided to bite the bullet and see what happens! The response has been amazing so far! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well written. I’m somewhat the same as you. Most of the travels I do alone. It does have advandages and some disadvantes. You are correct on the plane issue. I stand 6’5″ tall and being in a cramped aircraft is not fun. You are hearded along like cattle. Not much of a man that will go to a stranger and start a conversation. Especially a Female. They always think that you’re trying to pick them up. I stay to myself. I’ve been that way for many years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And with being as tall as you are, I can understand planes can be uncormfortable! Luckily, I’m only about 5’4”, but I understand what you mean. I never back up my chair completely because I don’t want to inconvenience the person behind me, especially not when they’re tall.
      And there’s nothing wrong with being your own person. I sometimes start conversations with people and sometimes I don’t. There aren’t really rules, so just stick with your gut! Thank you for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And, Thank You, for your reply. I always appreciate that. I will continue to comment.
        There is also some other things that I do when traveling on my own. My Loving Wife, does not enjoy doing some of the things I enjoy, so I go it alone. If and when I do start a conversation with someone, I can tell within seconds wheather I like them or not. Their manner will tell me. I look around and am aware of what is around me, as well as you do also. There have been times that people come to me when I have my US Navy Vietnam Veteren hat on and Thank me for my Service and then the conversation goes on from there. I have even had strangers offer to pay for my drink just because I was over in Nam!! This astounds me! I’m not used to that. I, of course, refuse. Not necessary. I keep to myself most of the time. Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I know what you mean…When I get a weird vibe off someone, I know enough and keep my distance. I trust my gut feeling.

          That’s kind of them to offer you a drink because you served, even if you decide to refuse. Perhaps the gesture is nice because it’s not necessary? I can’t determine that, of course. I think what matters is that people are kind to eachother. That includes letting people keep to themselves if they so prefer.

          Cheers!

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I am also an introvert. I tend to get very cranky when I have to talk all day. I hate that I can not always be available to my family for conversations, but I have to have at least an hour a day to think to myself even if I am just staring at the wall. I like being an introvery though because when my husband was deployed I didn’t need that constant stimulation from our relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s good that you know what you need to recharge your battery. Alone time is so important for us introverts. So I get how you get cranky if you have to talk all day. I like what you said about how you like being an introvert! Thank you for stopping by!

      Like

  6. When I travel alone I Always try to meet as many new people as possible. But after a few weeks traveling with other people I tend to do more stuff on my own.. I think the balance can quite well be the key to travelling. Thanks for your post:)

    Liked by 1 person

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