As an introvert I’m notoriously known for staying at home, not showing up for parties and passing the brunch invitation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m neither shy nor a very antisocial person. I just need a fairly high amount of quiet time to process the impressions I’ve had in a day. So after being out and about in the city, going on a tour, visiting a museum and having dinner I need some time alone to recharge, while extroverts tend to spend the night talking about everything they’ve done to other people at a party.
It took me a lot of trial and error to figure out how to travel without being exhausted at the end, and it always changes from trip to trip, but I found many ways to get in my “introvert time”.
Probably easily the most important during train/plane journeys and in hostels. Instantly shuts off all the surrounding noise and gives me my well deserved silence. I also recently got a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and I admit to sometimes wearing them to the supermarket
The noise coming from inside can be just as annoying as the noise coming from outside. I usually meditate twice daily, 5 minutes after getting up and 5 minutes before I go to bed. It helps me to relax and wind down, and if I take those 5 minutes in the morning I’m much less likely to get overwhelmed during the day ahead.
Evenings and nights are usually pretty busy. Hotels, hostels and bars are buzzing with people talking about their day, catching up with friends or making new ones. That’s also the time of the day when I’m out of energy for being around people, so I go to bed early to be fresh in the morning. Mornings are that special time of the day when everyone is very quiet and even the travelers at the breakfast buffet don’t feel like talking before they’ve had their first cup of coffee. So I make sure to be out and about at that time, exploring the city before the rest of the crowd wakes up!
Writing is one way of processing my day, recapturing and marveling at memories; I always carry at least one notebook with me at all times, scribbling down thoughts, timetables or sketching random situations I observe.
Communication with your fellow travelers
If you’re traveling with other people it’s best to communicate your need for some alone time before or as soon as you start your trip. When I spend 8 weeks together with my friend in her van, I made sure to go for a quick morning walk as soon as I got up. Sometimes extroverts don’t understand our need for quietness so explaining it will prevent confusion on their side and on the other hand will hopefully assure some undisturbed quiet time.
A good book (or a thousand)
A safe way if I need to zone out during the day is reading Harry Potter. And because I go through books like tubs of ice cream, I recently did the unthinkable for a book lover and got a kindle. I know, I love real books and turning pages, but when I’m traveling I prefer the lightweight device – especially as it’s capable of giving me a story for every mood.
Your camera (and a tripod)
The amount of times I’ve wandered off alone and found the most incredible places is ridiculous, so I always bring my camera and a small tripod to catch those vibes and later show my friends what they missed.
Taking photos is also a creative way that makes me relax instantly, and I got this view in Northern Spain after walking down a slippery path in drizzling rain. Worth it? Worth it!
A fancy hotel room once in a while
Especially important for introverted long term travelers: Get a hotel room or Airbnb just for yourself every once in a while, order room service and just stay inside with the Do Not Disturb sign dangling on the doorknob. Aaah, just the thought gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling!
Facebook groups for the solo traveler
Now, as much as we enjoy our alone time, even introverts want to connect with people sometimes, and if you’re additionally shy it’s sometimes hard to get to know a lot of people. The solution? Hop onto Facebook and look for travel groups. Ask if other travelers want to meet up, go for a tour together or meet a local in their favorite area or cafe. (We even have our own Travelettes
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How do you find this affects your travel habits?