8 Truths About Traveling as an Introvert

Traveling as an introvert

This may come as a surprise to anyone who hasn’t met me in real life, because of course it’s easy to scan through my blog posts and imagine me to be a certain way – people have used words like “adventurous,” “outgoing,” and even “brave” to describe the me on the computer screen.

But the reality is that, while I *can* be all of those things, I’m actually an introvert at heart.

I’m not necessarily shy (that’s a common misconception about introverts!), but I’m also not going to be the first one to strike up a conversation or suggest going to a party. Like most introverted people, I prefer small groups to large gatherings; I can be quiet if I don’t have anything to say; and I need alone time every day in order to decompress.

Me at Lake Louise

This might not sound like a person who would also go gallivanting around the globe, but, believe it or not, there are a LOT of introverted travelers (and even travel bloggers!) out there.

And so, in order to connect more with my people and show you that introverts can totally conquer the world, too, I’ve decided to dish on the realities of traveling as an introvert.

You’ll stress out over the most random things

This may not be true of all introverts, but it’s definitely true for me – really random things stress me out and give me anxiety while traveling. Things like asking for directions (especially in another language), getting up the nerve to walk into a restaurant alone and ask for a table for one, being thrust into social situations by new travel friends… They’re all small and silly, but be prepared for the most random things to stress you out when you’re traveling as an introvert.

Too many options gives me anxiety, too. For example, when I was in Seville in early 2015, I decided I would go out for dinner one night. I wanted to go somewhere for tapas. But there were SO. MANY. PLACES. First, I got anxious about finding a good place to eat when there were so many to choose from. Then I got myself all worked up about going inside alone and trying to order off a menu I could only half-read.

Plaza de Espana in Seville, Spain

I ended up walking around for an hour, and then giving up – I had a gourmet burger in my hotel room that night instead.

Overload like this – whether it’s sensory or social or a mix of both – is a real thing that we introverts struggle with while traveling.

But you know what? That burger was one of the best burgers I had this whole year. #noregrets

People will drive you nuts (sometimes)

I began my traveling career as a backpacker. I spent two summers backpacking around Europe, traveling on backpacker buses and budget airlines and staying in hostels. This forced me into socializing a lot more than I probably would have at home – often with people that I would have avoided like the plague anywhere else.

There were the all-night partiers that come bumbling back into the hostel dorm room at 5 a.m. to make more noise than you would think humanly possible. There were the twenty-something travelers more intent on scoring drugs than getting to know a new culture. There were the travelers who were loud and rude and inconsiderate of the fact that I just wanted to check my email and go to bed early sometimes.

And, quite frequently, these same people who drove me nuts would call me a party pooper when I didn’t want to get drunk or hang out with lots of other drunk people until all hours of the morning.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Not everyone will GET that you need to have some “alone time” each night, or if you’re not much of a partier and/or feel really uncomfortable in large, rowdy groups. This really bothered me when I first started traveling, but I eventually realized it wasn’t worth stressing out over what other people thought of me.

Do your thing. And, if that doesn’t always work, sometimes this old saying rings true: “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

Some days you’ll have to force yourself to be social 

As an introvert, you won’t be predisposed to joining ’em. I know this. In fact, you may start brainstorming elaborate reasons why you CAN’T join ’em. I’ve been there; I’ve done it.

But, if I’ve learned anything about pushing myself, it’s that forcing yourself to be social can sometimes be exactly what you need. I’m not saying you have to force yourself to do something you’re entirely uncomfortable with – but convincing yourself to be slightly more social than you would normally be can really enhance your travel experience.

Some days, you’ll have to force yourself to be social. This could be as simple as going on a free walking tour with a group of other travelers instead of wandering around on your own, or could be as intense as agreeing to go on a rafting pub crawl with people you just met on a bus.

Cesky Krumlov

Post-rafting in Cesky Krumlov

There are many days when I wake up on the road convinced that I don’t want to talk to a soul that day. But then I force myself to be a little bit social, and I end up having a much better time than I would have had on my own. (You know, as long as I can curl up alone in bed with my laptop afterwards…)

You’ll meet others like you

When I first started traveling (on that backpacker trail, remember), I would DREAD meeting new people in hostels because I assumed that they all would only be interested in partying. I was under the incorrect assumption that I was always destined to be the odd one out.

This, of course, could not be further from the truth.

I mean, yes, I DID meet plenty of backpackers who only wanted to party. But I also met plenty of other travelers just like me – introverts trying to figure out where they fit in to the travel landscape.

I remember being really apprehensive about doing a guided trip with Busabout a few years ago. I knew I’d be traveling on a large bus with lots of other young travelers, and I was terrified that I wouldn’t fit in with any of them. Thankfully, though, I immediately hit it off with three Australian girls – one traveling solo and the other two traveling together – who shared my preference for beach days and sightseeing over all-night parties. We had so much fun together that they didn’t really even have to try hard to convince me into having one big night out at a treehouse club in Montenegro.

Budva

This has been a recurring theme on my travels. No matter how much I stress out over not being able to meet people due to my introverted ways, I always end up connecting with a small group of fellow travelers. And it’s often those beautiful people who turn up in my fondest travel memories.

Slow or solo travel might be a good fit for you

Even though backpacking wasn’t as traumatizing as I originally feared it would be, I realized after a while that it just wasn’t my ideal style of travel. Moving around so frequently and sharing my bedroom with so many strangers caused me a lot of unneeded stress. I got sick frequently, and the anxiety that has plagued me on and off since high school would often creep up the night before I had to navigate another airport or train station or set of bus schedules.

For many introverts, slower travel – i.e. staying in one place longer than just a couple of nights – is easier to adjust to than what I like to call “FOMO-style travel” (i.e. rushing around to see as much as you possibly can). It’s less stressful and lets you get to know destinations at a slower pace, on your own terms. If it takes you a few days to get comfortable talking to strangers or branching out from the area where you’re staying, traveling slower is a natural choice.

I think it’s also safe to say that solo travel might be a better fit for many introverted travelers. While I DO like to travel in small groups or with my boyfriend every now and then, solo travel gives you all the freedom you need to travel in the way that works best for you.

Amanda from A Dangerous Business Travel Blog

When I’m traveling alone and I hit a travel day where I don’t want to force myself to be social, I simply don’t have to. I can enjoy my own company for the entire day, doing what I want when I want to do it.

And, on the other hand, if you’ve had enough alone time and want to be more social, you’re much more approachable as a solo traveler – don’t be surprised when strangers just start talking to you in public!

RELATED: Why I’m Not Afraid to Travel Alone

You’ll find ways to adapt that work for you

There’s no “one size fits all” style of travel for us introverts. What works for me might not work for you. But, ultimately, you’ll find ways to adapt and mold your travel style into whatever suits you best.

You might find that renting apartments instead of staying in hostels or hotels gives you the relaxing space you need to recharge at night. You might find that wearing headphones in public is effective when you’re in a non-social mood. You may find that taking a Kindle with you to dinner helps combat the stress/awkwardness of eating alone when you’re traveling solo.

Whatever your tricks are, you’ll figure them out by simple trial and error and will eventually settle into the perfect travel style for YOU.

Brandywine Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

You may not ever come “out of your shell” – and that’s totally fine

A lot of people talk about the transformative power of travel; about how it changed their lives and brought them “out of their shell.”

Sure, it’s possible that travel may transform your life and help you shed some of your introverted ways. But, then again, it may not. And that’s okay, too! Being an introvert isn’t a BAD thing, and certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t have an awesome and fulfilling travel experience.

Despite how it might come across on this blog, I’m no less introverted today than I was when I first started traveling years ago. I still stress out on travel days. I still have days where I don’t want to be social. I still need time and space to decompress (alone) after a long day.

But that’s just who I am, and who I will always be. And I’ve come to accept and even embrace that.

White Sands National Monument

You can absolutely still travel as an introvert

If you take anything away from this post, I hope it will be that you can still travel – AND have an awesome time – as a more introverted person. You aren’t destined to always be the odd one out; there will be people to connect with should you want to.

And, at the end of the day, traveling in any way, shape, or form is SO much better than not traveling at all. So don’t let your introvertedness hold you back.

Are you an introverted traveler, too? Share your story in the comments below!

 

Truths about traveling as an introvert

105 Comments

  • Starr says:

    Introvert here! Anyone who incessantly bothers me to do things for which I have no interest, then calls me names for it is the real party pooper. Party for 1, but still, please stop pooping on my party.

  • MissLilly says:

    It feels I’m reading about myself! I’m an introvert too, I don’t really like crows and I live being in a smaller group. It still drives me nuts to go to a work related party when I barely know anyone. But at least I’ve managed to overcome going to a restaurant alone or asking directions if I’m lost. But love to travel and meeting people and no longer afraid to say no to parties I’m not keen on attending
    MissLilly recently posted...: Copenhagen Part 2 :.

  • Emily says:

    This post sums me up perfectly! I always thought I was the odd one out for not being a partier. Not even in college (though I had a mini phase while studying in Australia). And I LIKE decompressing at night, curling up with a book or my computer. I need that time to recharge myself and my energy. I definitely find myself stressing over those little things too, like getting up the courage to ask someone a question or ordering something in another language. I’ve totally experienced the ‘ok yeah I’ll go find a restaurant and just walk in and eat by myself it’ll be fine!’ …2 hours later… ‘never mind.’ But I’ve also come to accept that it’s normal, and it’s just me. Solo travel allows me to BE me. And travel how I want. Hostels are still a bit draining for me, as there’s constant interaction with others (BLESS those hostels that have privacy curtains!), but it also occasionally forces me to be social, which I do need. And most of the time it works out! GREAT post!
    Emily recently posted..Travel budget roundup – September/October 2015

    • Amanda says:

      Yup, I’ve come to accept that it’s just me, too! (Though I still get mad ay myself on those occasions where I decide I’m going to do something and then just wander around for hours and never actually do it… haha.)

  • I’m with you on every one of these! One experience that forced me to become more socially comfortable was working at a hostel in Morocco. I was the only native English speaker on the staff (many of whom spoke no English), and there was a constant flow of guests. Socializing is like a muscle for me–when I do it a lot, I get more comfortable with it, and when I don’t I become less comfortable. This is all good advice, it’s nice to hear about someone with similar experiences!

    • Amanda says:

      Ah yes, that definitely would have forced you to be more social! I’ve had a lot of jobs where I’ve worked with the public (including being a waitress) where I’ve had to force myself to be “on” all the time. I can definitely do it – but MAN, is it tiring!

  • Britt says:

    I think a lot of people are mistaken for extroverts when they are actually quite introverted. I think also people don’t realise that for some it can be a spectrum. For example I don’t have too much trouble meeting new people or eating alone but get so anxious when it comes to asking for help or when actually meeting new people. And down time is an absolutely essential part of my travel routine. Hence why I don’t mind spending hours on a train or a bus getting to a new destination as it is me time. The best thing for me has been couchsurfers; it forced me to meet new people but in a very small dose and controlled environment. But then other people would be terrified at the idea of staying in a strangers house. I think the most important thing is everyone is different and what works for us can also be different.
    Britt recently posted..Fonda Mexican (Melbourne Food Review)

  • I honestly never identified as an introvert – I just thought I was weird, constantly craving alone time – until I was in Guatemala last September. 14 days with the same people, in one car, constantly being together drove me CRAZY. I felt so burnt out at the end of each day. Thankfully, I had a room all to myself, and my traveling buddies understood my need to have alone time. Turns out I’m more of a slow, solo traveller. Thanks for this! I’ll be sure to have my parents and everyone else read it when they feel tempted to think that I’m an anomaly lol

    • Amanda says:

      You definitely aren’t an anomaly! And lucky for you that your travel mates understood your need for alone time and respected that! And hey, at least now you know!

  • Laurie says:

    Awesome post Amanda! You hit the nail on the head. I’ve been traveling for the past forty years and while I’ve come a LONG way from the shy twenty year old I used to be I still feel uncomfortable in large groups of people I don’t know well or at all. I know this was what kept me away from TBEX in Spain this year – all my favourite travel bloggers were to be there but I could not face the thought of approaching anyone in a crowd and introducing myself. Hostels are a nightmare for me (and I tend to be a nightmare for them as I snore…) and I prefer guest houses and airbnb where I can meet the owners and chat and in some cases become good friends. As a solo traveler a lot of the time it’s nice to have someone kind of “watching your back”. I do love meeting new people while traveling and am more often than not the first to strike up a conversation…if it’s one or two people…. I take group tours which I thoroughly enjoy but always have my own room. I too love to socialize but I do need that quiet space to withdraw to at the end of the day. I love traveling with friends but as much as I love them that 24/7 together thing can get old really quickly! The ideal is traveling with someone who is independent enough that they can do their own thing at times. I’ve accepted that I will never be the life of the party – hell, I don’t even like parties. I prefer a quiet meal and/or drinks with half a dozen friends.(MAX) Now that I am old not wanting to go to the bar isn’t an issue anymore – one bonus of old(er) age I guess!!!
    Laurie recently posted..Hopping on and off in Belfast

    • Amanda says:

      Aww well I hope you’ll go to a travel blogging conference in the future! I know that that can be pretty daunting, but they’re really fun! 🙂 Lots of introverted travel bloggers out there, too. 😉

  • Brina says:

    This is perfect. It is exactly what I needed to hear tonight, as I’m laying in my hostel bed, NOT going to the pub crawl. I’m solo traveling and doing it slowly. I can’t go out every night or explore new places every day, it’s not good for my mental health. I have so much anxiety about it.

    I did go to a crowded restaurant that I really wanted to eat at ALONE. that was huge for me. I didn’t even ask for my food to go and bolt like I really, really wanted to.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Amanda says:

      I’m glad this could help, Brina! There’s definitely a fine balance between pushing yourself and allowing yourself to take a break when you need it. There will always be more pub crawls. 🙂

  • Stacey says:

    I can definitely relate to this post and being called a party pooper too. It used to bother me years ago and then I’d think “meh, just go out maybe you’ll have a good time”. Sometimes I did, but more often than not I wished I had spent the evening along, decompressing as you say. That’s a good word for it because constantly being around others, making small talk, etc. is exhausting!

    I’ve since learned that no, I’m not a party pooper, but in fact an introvert and that’s cool. Now I am who I am and if people don’t like it, oh well. I keep on traveling and having fun. 🙂
    Stacey recently posted..Where to Stay in Saranda: Hotel Brilant

  • Dee says:

    Wow, you really hit the nail on the head there! That could be me – no wait, that is me! Currently on a bus tour of New Zealand, I have experienced all of your issues and just prepared a post about it when I wanted a break to browse the net 😉
    It took me a few rather stressful (that’s stress I totally made up for myself!) weeks to finally accept that I need hostel and people breaks regularly to really enjoy my travels. Thank you!!!
    Dee recently posted..Queenstown if you’re not a party person 😉

    • Amanda says:

      At least you figured it out pretty early on, Dee! And there’s nothing wrong with that – we all need a break sometimes (and especially us introverts).

  • As I sit here reading this, I’m trying to talk myself into joining a group tour of a museum later today. I know I’m going to go and have a good time, but the act of getting ready and walking out the door still takes some mental work. I loathe making small talk with people I don’t know!
    Heather @ Ferreting Out the Fun recently posted..An Autumn Visit to Plitvice Lakes National Park

  • Daniel says:

    That personality that we are able to put forth online is a two-sided coin. While having the ability to inspire others we also risk loosing anyone/everyone that knows who we really are. Someone who knows our happiness, our pain and our struggles.
    Thank you for writing on this subject, I feel the more information on the whole extro/introversion subject out there in front of the general public is a good thing. I have been an introvert all my life (like most of us). However knowing that and about the personality differences is something I have just recently became aware of. So the last few years have been spent educating myself and doing soul-searching of sorts, and really just trying to figure out WTF? I wish there was more information I could relate to available today. So far for the most part it’s still a ‘Women Only Club’.

    I do a lot of travel within the states, I road trip extensively. That freaking out about where to eat? I do that here. Often.
    On my last trip to Costa Rica I stayed at several different hostels, but always booked a private room. I’m 50 years old along with being an introvert, I’m a bit over sleeping in a dorm type room. However living in the hostel environment where everyone shared the kitchen and big (usually outdoor) dining/sitting area was really cool. I met people from all over the globe and took part in conversations that would have never happened in any other circumstance. I met people on the beach, in coffee shops, on buses, everywhere, and still never really felt like I was under too much social pressure. It was an experience I cant wait to have again. In the end though I was quite often still the ‘odd man out’. To be expected I guess, traveling solo and being a non-drinker, but at least now I know why.

    Back state side here my travels are well, for one; simply because I can. But more than that it’s because of the crippling loneliness I feel by living in one place surrounded by people who I don’t have much in common with, who don’t know me and don’t seem to care too. I keep moving quite simply because I don’t have a reason to stay anywhere.

    • Amanda says:

      I’m a non-drinker, too, so I can relate to that part, too, Daniel! I’m glad to hear that you had such a great time in Costa Rica, though, and that you were able to find the best travel style for you on that trip. Just know that you definitely aren’t alone or the odd one out.

  • Stef says:

    I completely see myself in every point you mention in your post. 100%. And I travel as well, so I only agree to you when you say that it is no problem to travel as an introvert. Actually I really have gotten to the point lately that I think a lot of travel bloggers and digital nomads are introverts. Don’t you think?
    And yes I think solo travel instead of with a group of friends is the better option as well as slow travel as you can always make some time for yourself. E.g. I traveled quite fast several times in Australia, Cuba and Guatemala and it makes me really really tired. Sometimes that I don’t want to do anything except staying in and losing my curiosity. So travel slowly and healthy for your personality instead.
    Stef recently posted..Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos for beginners

  • Angélica says:

    What a great post! I’m traveling right now and just thinking about making ablog post like this the other day. Will just link to yours instead 😉 Can totally relate to this and I actually encounter a lot of introvert solo travelers on my way 🙂

  • Aaron K says:

    totally identify with this post, thank you for sharing!! its hard finding that middle ground between being outgoing and social, and finding time to yourself to recharge you batteries. I know I’m constantly tipping the scales too far in one direction or the other. But yes travel is definitely good for forcing social situations that help you grow that otherwise may not have happened. Teach it like you preach it!! great post, love your website!

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks, Aaron! I definitely struggle with that balance, too – and when I tip too far in the social direction, it often leads to burnout! But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 🙂

  • Robin says:

    I totally relate to all of this! I love my alone time, and can find it tough to force myself to socialize. In some ways, solo travel is perfect for introverts, but in other ways it’s super challenging. Forcing yourself to be social at times is good advice – it’s usually those situations that lead you to the coolest, most random experiences.
    Robin recently posted..Borrowed Dog Adventures: Pacific Spirit Regional Park, Vancouver

    • Amanda says:

      You’re so right, Robin – solo travel can be both the best and the worst for us introverts! I think the more you travel, though, the easier it is to find the right balance.

  • Polly says:

    Oh man, I feel this. When I moved abroad it was a constant effort to get out there and meet people – a necessary evil when you don’t know a single person in the country!
    Polly recently posted..Bored and stuck close to home? Try these 8 weekend adventure ideas

    • Amanda says:

      Yeah that’s rough! It was the same for me when I studied abroad. Luckily, though, you’re almost always to meet at least a few people that you’ll get close with – which is usually perfect for us introverts!

  • Rianne says:

    I’m also an introvert and I can so relate to what you say about stressing over the small things. I’m going to travel for a solid year next year and being an introvert it stresses me out a little bit, but hopefully it’ll be fine! 🙂
    Rianne recently posted..Things to skip in Thailand

    • Amanda says:

      I’m sure you’ll be fine, Rianne! And if you run into a lot of situations that stress you out, just remember that you can always slow down and take a break. 🙂

  • I’m totally with you on all of these points. It takes me a while to get used to certain situations and often I can be the quietest one in the group often because it’s too easy to let the more extrovert people be the centre of attention. However, there are always similar people around when travelling and you do have to force yourself to be social sometimes, that’s often when the best memories and experiences happen 🙂
    Emma Hart | Paper Planes and Caramel Waffles recently posted..My 5 Favourite Travel Experiences

  • Renuka says:

    I’m also an introvert to a certain extent. I also prefer small groups over large groups, and I also don’t feel like talking to people all the time. But, travel has changed me to a great extent. I’m more comfortable with people, more tolerant of them! I agree, solo and slow travel is great for people like us.
    Renuka recently posted..Why I’m Not Blogging?

    • Amanda says:

      I can totally relate to travel making you more tolerant of people! Travel has definitely mellowed me out a lot. I still stress over random things sometimes, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it used to be!

  • Dawn says:

    Wow, like others, I feel I was reading my own bio here. Not only does this describe me, yes I can chat with others, yes I can have lots of fun in a small group, but it also describes ESP folks, which I also relate to. Extra Sensitive People! And oh, how many burgers have I had in my room alone.
    Thanks for this post!

    • Amanda says:

      I’m glad so many people have been able to relate to this! (And I’m extra glad to learn that I’m not alone in stressing out over things like where to eat!)

  • Erin says:

    I’m an odd sort of introvert. I adore spending my days with others and meeting new people when I travel. It’s such a high to make new friends. But at the end of the day (or the wee hours of the morning, or at least for a couple hours in the afternoon) I need time to myself. I need my own bedroom or at least someplace I can go alone to be completely anonymous. After a couple of nights of sharing small quarters with anyone (even my husband) I go completely batty. Luckily, my husband is also an introvert so we build alone time into all of our trips together.

    I also love traveling solo. I learned to dine alone in NYC, which is a great place to do it because there’s so many people, nobody cares, and there are often other people alone. However, it’s been a long time since my last solo trip and I know that it’s going to take some getting used to when I need to eat dinner out alone again.
    Erin recently posted..October 2015 Recap

    • Amanda says:

      Someone else mentioned that there’s a spectrum when it comes to all this – there are definitely some people who are more or less introverted than others! It’s great that you and your husband are able to give each other alone time when you travel. I’m sure that makes all the difference!

  • Monica says:

    Oh, yest, having too many options to choose from is a very, very big problem form me.
    I’m kind of relieved I’m not the only one.
    Travelling as an introvert might be hard sometimes, but then it’s easy the other times because because I enjoy my own company.
    Monica recently posted..A weird walk – following the footsteps od David ÄŒerny in Prague, the Czech Republic

  • Alouise says:

    I can relate to all of these. That first point was definitely me on my last trip to Madrid. I was so indecisive and anxious trying to find a good place to eat (and there are lots of places to eat in Madrid). The one night I went to a ramen restaurant because I couldn’t figure where else to go. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who does this.

  • Alice says:

    Great post. It seems from the comments that there’s a lot of us introverts out there! I like to mix up my accommodation throughout a trip – a couple of nights in a dorm room and then a night or two in a BnB or private room. It’s a bit more expensive but it’s worth it to get some alone time.

  • I’m not an introvert as I can be a right show off sometimes, but when I was a little girl, I used to be extremely shy and would always hide behind the door when people came to visit LOL! Happily, I grew out of that and it was my English teacher who helped me. He introduced me to debating and taught me how to “hold the room.” It seems that I was a natural LOL!
    p.s. I’ve been asked many a time to do stand-up-comedy (in Berlin where I live) but I’ve always declined LOL!
    Victoria@ The British Berliner recently posted..Osnabrück – a medieval town in a German valley – the hometown of my German husband!

    • Amanda says:

      That’s great that you were able to grow out of your shyness! I think for a lot of people it’s just ingrained, though. But travel HAS definitely helped me be more confident and come out of my shell a bit.

  • JJR says:

    Nice one.

    Yeah, it is interesting how every time you force yourself to be social it works out better than great – & every time the next time is just as hard, & one is just as happy to never see anyone again.

    Kind of flies in the face of most social neuroscience & exposure therapy learning theories. But it appears to be the case, I find anyway.

    Thanks for writing. ^^

    J.
    JJR recently posted..Why We Don’t Let Pharmacists Prescribe

  • Kelly says:

    Like many others, I can realllyyyy relate to this post! I’ve always felt like a “weird” introvert. I’m not shy at all–I’m actually quite confident and outgoing, and I AM the type of person to strike up conversations with total strangers and feel completely okay eating alone in public. The thing is, I just really like being alone! Spending a lot of time with people tends to make me feel worn out and exhausted, and I NEED a good amount of quiet time for myself every single day. As I type this comment, I’m hiding out in a cafe a few doors down from the dive shop I’m staying at now 🙂

    For me it can be hard to find a balance of being social (which I DO enjoy a little bit of) and finding time to “indulge” in my alone time during travel. Luckily, solo travel seems to be the perfect fit for me, since I can meet up with people when I feel like it and go off and do my own thing when I don’t.
    Kelly recently posted..So…I Live in Utila Now?

    • Amanda says:

      Solo travel is great for introverts for the very reasons you mentioned! And I definitely believe that there’s a spectrum when it comes to introverted – some people are definitely outgoing while still largely identifying as introverts!

  • Its wonderful to learn that I’m not the only introvert that likes to travel. I started reading the blog and I thought to myself, why is she describing me. The pushing yourself to be social is an understatement, but at time it is more than exactly what you need. Oh so true.

    Wow…another introvert who travels…who know..!

  • Leigh says:

    Yes, totally! I’m such an introvert, but I love to travel but definitely need my down time. I love solo road trips, especially! Me, my dog and my iPod! I laughed about eating a burger in the room because I’ve done this so many times, and it wasn’t really about not wanting to eat alone in a restaurant, but more about being overwhelmed by choices and waiting until I am starving. Probably more anxiety than introversion! I just did a whitewater trip with a large group and while everyone else enjoyed cocktail hour, I often retreated to my tent with my Kindle, just for a little break 🙂
    Leigh recently posted..11 Days of Grand Canyon Whitewater

  • Ryan says:

    I can relate to a lot of this Amanda! And funny thing is, I’d consider myself pretty outgoing — but one of my biggest struggles is actually meeting new people while traveling. Some people can walk into a hostel kitchen and be like “WHAT’S UP PEOPLE!” but actually making the first move to talk to someone I don’t know or ask for directions terrifies me. On occasion I’ve beaten this, but most of the time it gives me a lot of stress. And then after the stress of whether or not to, you stress about the fact that you didn’t. So strange. But like you, I’ve been trying to force myself to go out and meet people. Great read and perspective as always!
    Ryan recently posted..12 Incredible Places in New Zealand Not To Miss

  • I feel like full-time travel has made me MORE on an introvert than I used to be! I think because meeting new people and having new experiences has become the norm for me I now crave and appreciate my “quiet and alone” time more than I did before.
    Jenny @ Till The Money Runs Out recently posted..Soaring Over San Diego – Flight Lessons in My Hometown

  • Suzanne says:

    I can totally relate to your post! Even in my home country I have for example difficulties to go alone to restaurants etc. Often if restaurant is too full I hesitate before I enter (If enter) to the restaurant or any place which are full of people. While traveling sometimes it is even more difficult but then I try to think that I won’t meet those people again so it doesn’t matter altough I would make some mistakes. But then traveling as an introvert is great too. You are able to enjoy of your time alone, do things you really love to doing, make changes for your plans without you have to think of other people. You can spend as much time as you want in shops or looking delicious sweets or things like that. 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, it’s always good to remind yourself that you can be whoever you want when you travel because you likely won’t ever see the people you meet again! It can be quite liberating in a way.

  • Very interesting read. I never felt anxiety in my life, but after reading this I wonder if I am an introvert after all. I prefer small groups to large ones and enjoy doing what i want to do as opposed to following. Yet i have no issues/stress with daily things.
    wonderful article Amanda, thank you for voicing this.
    I emailed you just now as well with some questions, would be lovely to hear from you!

    andreas

  • Aycan says:

    Hi Amanda,
    That was a really great blog and it was inspirational and so relatable to me.
    I never really thought that my behaviour was because i was an introvert but now it makes sense and its so reassuring to know that I’m not the only one!
    Being an introvert doesnt mean that youre boring and always unsociable..its just more about having the right company and I definitely agree about the smaller groups and parties!

    Thank you for writing this blog!

  • Krystyna Kowalska says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I’ve started identifying myself as an introvert not too long ago when I went on an exchange to Alaska last year. I definitely prefered exploring my town alone as opposed to with a group of people (especially if they were locals who didn’t feel quite as adventurous as me ), and I always thought I was really weird because of that, but that’s the way I liked it, so I finally came to terms with it. The only thing I disliked about it is the fact I didn’t have anyone to take photos of me in front of the town’s landmarks, and I always felt too anxious and awkward to ask any of the other tourists. Do you feel the same way sometimes? If so, do you have any tips to help me feel less awkward about it?
    Thank you again for this amazing post!

    • Amanda says:

      You certainly are not weird! And as you can see from the comments on this post, you aren’t alone, either!

      As for the photo thing, I definitely understand. Sometimes you just have to pluck up the courage to ask someone! Another alternative would be to travel with a tripod so you could use the self-timer on your camera, but that can get annoying. Maybe a selfie stick? 😉

  • Jennifer says:

    I am an introvert who traveled solo for the first time this year. The idea of moving around a lot did not appeal to me, so I spent 9 days in Budapest getting to know the city. It took me three days of stressing about things I typically don’t even think about on a daily basis – eating, speaking, transportation, using currency – before I started to feel comfortable. I think if I had been changing cities every two days or so, I would have been miserable the entire time. One of the best things I did on my vacation was take a cooking class. It was taught by a local person and our group just had 4 people (including myself) so it wasn’t overwhelming. It was a good way to meet people and have good conversation while doing a common activity. I actually plan on returning to Budapest this year for another 10 days. People have asked me why I would return after spending so much time there already, but I move at a slower pace when I travel so there are things I didn’t get to see the first time around.

  • Timmie says:

    Thanks for the post. As an introverted traveler I am glad to know there are others out here too. I love traveling solo because it allows me to explore my love of balconies. I can be in a foreign city and still have my own space. It is perfection.

  • Will says:

    As an American soldier stationed in Germany, I would sometimes tire of being around my fellow fluent English speakers, and wander off to strike up conversations in my broken German (or what I knew of Spanish or Italian when I met guest workers from southern Europe. There seemed to be something non-stressful about having a simple conversation a language in which I COULDN’T go into a great deal of detail.

  • kalesco says:

    Wow, so many comments from fellow introverts here!
    I need a lot of alone time too, to recharge, however you’d never know I was an introvert 🙂
    I travel quite often and almost always alone, and I love it. The few group tours and activities that I joined I liked a lot, but most of the time I wander around on my own. Being the solo traveller in groups has its merits too: you get to ride shotgun and often the guide will bond/talk more with you than the other couples or groups of friends.
    2 things that add to the impression that I’d be really outgoing:
    A) I talk a lot when I want/need to – I live alone, so when I meet my friends and family I have a lot of things to tell. I need this, the cat just isn’t as good a listener 😀 As soon as I’m out of stories I go very quiet again.
    B) I’m a Zumba Fitness instructor… Go figure. Introverted girl in front of a bunch of people making weird movements. It’s a bit like playing a role, but I love it. I do need my down time though, I would not be able to stand a lifestyle where I need to be outgoing and fun and smiling all the time (as you should be as an instructor imo).

  • Paul F. says:

    Always nice to be reminded I’m not the only person who is introverted (and on the shy end of the introvert spectrum) that can get stressed at “the little things” that some people just don’t get. Been working myself up to do some solo traveling since my fellow introvert traveling buddy now has a work schedule that doesn’t allow traveling together any more…
    You’ve just let me put another check in the “You Can Do This” column. 🙂

  • Keya Sukma says:

    I feel myself when I read your blog. I always travel alone, and people around me start asking why, why, and why? And other people start judged me like I’m anti social or something, but I really don’t care. I need me time, and I really don’t want to force myself to be social. I don’t care, this is me, this my life and this is what I want to be.

    • Amanda says:

      Good for you – don’t ever let other people try to force you to be different. Because you are who you are, and there’s nothing wrong with that. 🙂

  • Sophie says:

    Thanks for such a refreshing post Amanda!! (by the number of comments I can see others agree too.)
    I’ve battled with anxiety for years, especially in the last 12months. I;ve finally gotten up the courage to book the RTW tour I’ve always dreamed about.
    For me doing things and eating alone are fine, but I HATE planes and navigating airports/train stations. Unfortunately coming from New Zealand means a LOT of air time I will have to deal with.
    Hearing that others feel the way I do about going it solo is so reassuring, and gives me the confidence to know I really can do it!.

    • Amanda says:

      You definitely can do it, Sophie! Plus, I think navigating transport is something that gets easier over time – the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll get!

  • donnae says:

    Oh lordy, yes. I am an odd combo of introvert and not shy. I can easily talk to strangers but to take it to the next level, say go for coffee or such, I bomb.
    The worst introvert solo travel moment for me was in Chiang Mai. Usually I eat dinner early and go home to read or putter on the computer but I stayed out longer than I meant to and got really hungry. But we were clearly into the couples segment of the day plus there were so many choices. It was awful, I just couldn’t land anywhere. In desperation I just picked one and made myself go in and order food. Just to make the evening complete I got to sit and listen to a table full of middle aged white boys talking about the best way to get young Thai hookers. There was no happy hamburger waiting at the end of this story LOL. Always nice to hear from a fellow introvert.
    donnae recently posted..Today’s Project: See My Town As A Tourist

  • Hani says:

    I love this! It is just crazy how I could relate to everything that is written. I thought I was the only one. I sometimes feel a little bit of the pressure when people feel like everyone has to be outgoing, and they think that you are boring. I like being alone once in a while, thanks for saying it is okay to be this way 🙂

  • Liz says:

    Love this! I have struggled with the feeling of being a party pooper not only when I travel – but also at home. It’s the worst. I knew that hostels would never be good for me so 30 countries later… I still haev never stayed at a hostel!!
    I like how you mentioned that introverts are not necessarily shy…. huge misconception.

    My closest friends and family see my loud, crazy side – and it’s hard because they expect me to be that way out in public or big groups.Not the case at all.

    • Amanda says:

      Yup! I know a lot of people who identify as introverts who aren’t shy at all! I wouldn’t call myself shy, either – but I do sometimes take a little while to feel comfortable in a large group of people, which leads people to *think* I’m shy. My close friends would be able to tell you otherwise, though! 😉

  • Barb says:

    Yeah, as an introvert too, I exactly knowwhat you mean….I had to laugh, when I read about the hamburger because I had the same problems finding a restaurant to eat alone in some cities I visited 🙂
    Thanks for this article. It comes at the right time because I will go on a solo trip to Bali soon and I am a bit frightned about exactly the things you write about here 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      While it’s true that traveling as an introvert comes with its challenges, I still think it’s so worth doing. I’m sure you’ll have a great time in Bali!

  • Elena says:

    Hello! Thanks for writing this post! I started out as a backpacker too and experienced many of the same things with hostels. Some people had trouble understanding why I would want to decompress and sleep (instead of party) after a day of exploring. I eventually discovered that I need my own space (yay Airbnb) and need to travel more slowly. And nearly every time I’ve had to take a deep breath and force myself to be social…the world didn’t implode. Phew!
    I also find it much easier to chat with people both through practice and because I now travel with my dog. Instant conversation starter on an easy topic! 😀
    Elena recently posted..10 Reasons You Should Travel With Your Dog

    • Amanda says:

      Oh, yes, traveling with a dog would be an instant conversation starter for sure!

      It’s great that you’ve figured out your travel style, and now know how to work around it!

  • Shonz says:

    I loved this post! I’m a definite introvert. I can’t stand dorm rooms, and am actually quite happy having dinner on my own with a good book. I generally spend a lot of time just wandering on my own, but I’ve been known to do day tours of places for ease of seeing things. I LOVE slow, solo travel and I doubt I’ll ever travel with someone again. Thanks again for your post.

  • Whatever your character is, it’s a poor excuse not to see the world. You just need to look at it at another angle 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      Very true! I never use my introversion as an excuse not to travel. I may sometimes use it as an excuse not to go out, but it’ll never stop me from seeing the world! 😉

  • Liesl says:

    Thank you for writing this, it is so spot on! I always struggle with wanting to go out and have fun with people, but getting really anxious about it at the same time.

    I went on a 6 week trip to Europe a couple of years ago with some friends and part of it was a 4 week Contiki tour. As you can imagine, most of the group just wanted to be out all night drinking and partying (a social situation I don’t think I’ll ever be that comfortable with). There were a couple of occasions where I got so stressed out because I wanted to go out and have fun but also felt so uncomfortable that I just burst into tears.
    Luckily my friends (and the majority of the tour group for that matter) never tried to pressure anyone into staying out, and were of the mindset of ‘if you don’t want to do something, no big deal’. I also found a couple of other girls on the tour that never wanted to be out a whole lot either. So most of the time we would go out for dinner with everyone, stay out for about an hour and then make our way back to the hostel together.

    • Amanda says:

      It’s very good that you had an understanding group, and that you found some other travelers with a similar mindset to hang out with. I find that there are ALWAYS other introverts on group tours – you just have to find them!

  • Christina says:

    Thank you for this very insightful post! I can totally relate to that… through blogging, evoking a completely different picture, compared to the feeling when being on the road. Managing a lot of things and being proud of oneself, but then getting upset about this tiny little detail… well, it’s great to know people like you are out there 🙂 We’ll do this! Happy travels!

  • Lydia says:

    I’m an extreme introvert and the littlest things make me anxious! One time I chickened out on my mother-in-law’s Christmas cookie party (all-out-emotional-breakdown chickened out) because the thought of being in a room full of women I didn’t know freaked me out. On the other hand, I have started to enjoy my company and feel comfortable in my own skin. I eat at restaurants and go shopping by myself. I would like to travel to London, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle alone soon. Great post! 🙂

    • Amanda says:

      I know it sucks to feel so anxious that you skip out on things like that, but it’s great that you’re becoming comfortable enough on your own to consider traveling solo – that’s awesome!

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