At TBEX I was a little surprised how many other introverted travel bloggers I talked to. We were ragged after days of networking, physically tired and burnt out from having to sell ourselves to strangers.
It got me thinking about how travel is different for us introverts, and how we can cope with the challenges of our psychological make up. So I asked around, and gathered up some terrific responses from some other great travel bloggers out there:
On Understanding the True Meaning of Introversion
Introversion isn’t a phase I need to get myself through. It’s who I am.
I am an introvert who dances on tables. I’ll talk to anyone, say anything, get crazy — but if I don’t get enough alone time, I go batty. Being alone is how I recharge and gain strength. And that’s what it means to be an introvert — it has nothing to do with shyness or bad social skills.
– Kate McCulley- Adventurous Kate
On Traveling Solo as an Introvert
Basically, one reason I can handle permanent solo travel is that I am completely comfortable with my own company. I think the longest I have gone without having any sort of conversation with anyone is about 8-9 days and it makes it so much easier to travel knowing that you don’t get homesick or need to be social to enjoy yourself.
One thing I find is that being totally alone and antisocial is the best way to recharge my personal batteries. Being around people and being social for days at a time wears me out. I regularly seek out solitude. It is what keeps my sanity when I travel. In the times when I just feel run down by life, I generally just want a couple days totally alone, with a good book to read or some shows to watch on my computer. Then I am ready to deal with people again.
-Michael Hodson- Go See Write
On Traveling with an Extravert
When I first met Dave, it was immediately obvious that he was an extravert and loved being around people – for what felt like every second of every day. In fact, for the first week of our relationship I tried to pretend I was extraverted too and that I was really enjoying meeting every single person in Chiang Mai. I was exhausted and drained by the end of the week and desperately longing to stay inside and do nothing… so I pretended I was sick and let him go out and have his fun while I remained inside and re-charged!
I think once we realised that being in a relationship as an introvert and extravert was actually a positive thing (he can bring new and awesome people into my life and I can bring calm and and peace to his) it was much easier to deal with – embrace the differences! Good communication is key though – I make sure to let Dave know if I’m feeling overwhelmed and need to hide away for a few days, and he happily goes off to have fun socialising with other people.
-Lauren Juliff- Neverending Footsteps
On Challenging Yourself With Travel
As an introvert, I tend to have a hard time blending well into groups. It usually takes someone outgoing to really spark a good conversation and keep it moving because I’m more of a listener than a talker.
However, traveling on my own has really helped me break out of my shell and talk to different people. Because they don’t know my life story or have any mutual friends, it’s easy to start over, and discover common hobbies & interests. As quiet and reserved as I may be at times, I really love going on group tours or out for a casual night with a couple of friends from the hostel(s) I’m staying at because I just jump right into it. That’s how you have to do it. Just jump in, walk up and talk to someone, smile at people on the streets. It makes the day-to-day travels much more enjoyable.
Of course, it’s important for me to get my alone time as well to regroup. It’s just a matter of finding my own balance on the road as I go.
-Kimi Sugiyama – Wandering Souldier
What about you? What’s your take on traveling as an introvert?