Travelling Solo As An Introvert

If you’ve ever felt put off travelling as an introvert then you shouldn’t be.
Approximately one third of the World’s population is introverted, and one of those individuals is right here writing this to you now. If you are uncertain of the term, introverts are people who would define themselves as the quieter, more reflective type. We see the World through a different lens to you social butterflies.
Whilst the social butterfly is out burning the midnight oil, we are in bed snuggled up with a good book relaxing before visiting a museum the following day.

There are many negative connotations associated with introversion. Those that are not this way inclined do not understand us, or why it is important for us to spend time alone every now and again. They may conclude that we are loners or antisocial, or they may even presume that we are snobbish which is typically not the case at all.

For me, being an introvert is not a matter of being shy or timid in social situations, it is purely not always feeling comfortable within them. I very much enjoy meeting new people and hearing their stories, but going to a noisy bar where I have to shout across the music to communicate with people does not sound like a fun night to me and I would much prefer to have a deeper conversation in a more intimate setting with somebody that I click with.

I can understand why the concept of travel can seem daunting to you fellow introverts – after all, the stereotypical image of someone that travels is the young, carefree, party type. That stereotype may account for a relative percentile of those you encounter on the road but it is by no means a prerequisite personality type.

If anything, travelling solo is something that suits us introverts down to a tee..

We are comfortable with our own company

Whereas the extrovert feels the need to constantly surround themselves with others, we are the polar opposite and thrive on time spent alone. A four hour solo bus ride through the countryside is a chance to reflect on travels thus far and take in everything that is going on around us, or purely just an opportunity to take out a book, put our headphones in and unwind.

We are used to being independent

Travelling means that there are many times where we will have to rely on our own judgement when it comes to planning routes and itineraries, booking journeys and accommodation, and ensuring our own safety. On the road there will not be familiar faces around to help us out, however we are not the co-dependent types and we are used to taking care of ourselves.

It’s easy to find the social balance

Sure we like our alone time, but that does not mean that we are reclusive cave men types that shun all human interaction. The wonderful thing about travelling is that there are always so many opportunities available for us to go out and socialize, that when the time arises that we do crave company, it is easy enough to go along to an event and meet our peers. (On this note, I will often check couchsurfing or meetup.com for events taking place in the cities I am travelling to then if I feel like it, I’ll pop along to one).

Making deeper friendships

When you are travelling you are constantly meeting a range of new people. Of course, a lot of those interactions are relatively shallow. Not every stranger that you meet on a long bus journey or share a cup of coffee with is going to be a life long friend. As introverts, although we are altogether more selective about who we spend our time with, every so often we do meet someone special and it is these connections that we tend to invest our time in. Though I am more a wallflower than a social butterfly, us introverts build deeper connections and I have made some of my closest friends on the road.

For the longest time, I felt that I had to apologize for my introversion, try to hide it, or try to force myself to go out when I really wasn’t feeling it. As with so many things, I’ve realised that the most important thing is to accept being an introvert as who we are and live life and socialise on our own terms.

What do you think? Have you been travelling as an introvert?

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Travelling solo as an introvert

 

12 Comments
  1. Ah I think that’s very fair. I’m an introverted backpacker who always travels solo, so most of the time I only have me to look after – this means if I feel the need to escape from the bustle of a city and head into the mountains or forests for a few hours or whatever, I feel very comfortable doing that.

    I’m also quite comfortable with staying in backpacker hostels, though I do read reviews carefully so I can weed out the ‘party’ places, where I know I’ll feel ‘out of my depth’. I have noticed though that certain parts of the world tend to attract different kinds of travellers, and while not necessarily ‘introverted’ by the normal definitions, older backpackers tend to be quieter and more accepting of my need for my own space, and therefore ‘easier’ to travel as a solo backpacker. In the hostels in Central Asia, for instance, the average age of backpackers I met must have been early-to-mid 30s, whereas in Australia it was more like mid-20s.

  2. I love how I can really relate to this. I am an introvert, and I sure as hell have a passion for travelling! and being an introvert doesn’t stop me from doing what I love.

    1. Hello Rabiah, thanks for your comment.
      I am glad to hear it! As I have gotten older, I have become more comfortable with it being a part of who I am, and noticed that there are many other people who are the same way as us. I agree 100% that it should never stop us from doing anything 🙂

  3. Ok, so we totally have this in common! spot on with all your insights. Sometimes I even seek out places that are known to have fewer tourists and smaller populations just so I don’t feel overwhelmed. Much much rather be in a quieter lounge deep in conversation than shouting in a noisy bar! 🙂

  4. So interesting , bceause I have never considered myself as an introvert but I can relate to many things. I am not fan of loud bards (though very rarely I enjoy going to clubs) and prefer a nice dinner with 1,2 people over other things. Great to reflext myself again.

  5. I think i definitely am an introvert and in my 20’s it was harder as the pressure to be the social butterfly was stronger. In my late 40’s I am totally comfortable with myself and my need to choose when and who to socialise with – I am not a fan of noisy pubs/bars and I only tolerated night clubs in my 20’s – now the thought of one fills me with horror! Really interesting post!

  6. I love this! I recently had a travel experience where I was shoved together with 11 other people for 3 weeks. I struggled with the nightly drinking sessions that young people tend to get up to and it made me feel like I was missing out? But then I clicked with a couple really good people who I am still close with!
    Great post!!

  7. hey. yes , i am an introvert and been travelling on my own. I dont think introverts dont travel. they just fly quietly and solo. i agree with most of this article. only thing i miss is pointing at something interesting to show to somebody. Rest is all good . travelling with A friend or two can help cutting the cost down as well

    1. Thanks for your comment 🙂 I agree with you about missing having somebody to share things with when you travel solo – I often see something like a beautiful sunset or a hike and think about friends and family that I wish I could show it to.

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