It may not just be the pandemic.
As an introvert, there are many things that can potentially keep us from booking that trip. I’ll talk about some of them in this post – and how you can overcome them. Because your introversion should never stop you from travelling!
Are travellers all extroverts?
I have a friend I met while travelling in Peru who is the complete opposite of me in many ways. Most importantly, she’s extremely extroverted. Last year, she happened to visit my hometown of Hamburg. Of course, we used the chance to catch up. At some point during the day, she said something that stayed with me.
She told me that she has quite a few introverted friends who don’t believe they could lead the kind of nomadic travel lifestyle she has, simply because they are introverted. She added she’s always using me now as an example of the contrary and sending them to my blog, which is one of the reason I still remember this so fondly. The whole reason I’m doing this is to inspire other introverts to travel and show them that being quiet is no reason they can’t.
The other reason this stayed with me is that I fear this outlook is way too common. Not all introverts are shy or struggle with self-confidence, but many do. Travel takes a lot of courage, especially solo travel, and even more so when you’ve never done it before. It’s easy to believe that as a quiet introvert, you don’t have what it takes to survive out there in the big wide world.
However, I’m here to tell you that’s nonsense. I used to be extremely shy and can still be so at times and I still travelled all around the world. Like me, you have everything you need to be a great traveller, even if you don’t believe it yet. To prove it, we’ll look at some common fears stopping you as an introvert from travelling and the reasons why they are unfounded.
Again, these may not apply to all introverts. As mentioned earlier not all of us are shy or have social anxiety. But if you do, this is for you.
Fear No. 1: „If there’s a problem, I’ll be too shy to take care of things.”
In my experience, when the time comes, you’ll be able to do what it takes. Even if it would have seemed impossible before. Trust that this is the case for you, too.
Yes, there will be things that go wrong. It’s almost inevitable. But there will also always be a way to solve whatever problems arise. And if it requires you to step out of your comfort zone, well, that’s how we grow. Not that I want to be flippant about this. It can feel like an insurmountable problem at the moment. And while you may encounter trouble at home, too, facing it far away from everything and everyone you normally rely on for support will be tough.
But think of how good you’ll feel and what a confidence boost it’ll give you when you managed to rise to this challenge, all alone!
On that note, let me add as well that I would always recommend starting small. If travelling solo to a faraway place is way too far out of your comfort zone, that’s perfectly okay. Do something on a smaller scale first. Maybe a weekend away. Maybe a short trip to somewhere in your own country, where you know people speak your language and you’re not too far from home. It doesn’t always have to be a year-long trip around the world. Though if that’s what you want to do, you’ll totally be able to as well!
Fear No. 2: „I will be alone the whole time because I won’t have the courage to talk to anyone.”
Even introverts do not want to be alone all of the time. So how do you find connections when you don’t know anyone and you’re too shy to just strike up a conversation?
Travel has a way of throwing you into plenty of situations where connection happens naturally. I’m not very forthcoming myself when it comes to initiating conversations, yet I never struggled to make friends. Sometimes, it’s enough to wait for people to come to you. And if they don’t, there are ways of making this more likely without having to make the first move. Like joining group trips, social events or just hanging around in the public areas of your accommodation, rather than hide in your room.
Over time, you will become more confident at meeting strangers. Who knows, eventually you might even find yourself starting conversations yourself!
Fear No. 3: „It will be too overwhelming to deal with all the new sights, experiences and people.”
Yes, travel can be overwhelming. No doubt about that. This is why it’s important to know your limits and schedule enough breaks. This really is the number one rule for introvert-friendly travel: Go at your own pace and don’t feel bad for taking a step back and hitting pause as often as you need to.
When you feel like you need some downtime, return to your room or find some other quiet space to spend a bit of time alone, doing something that relaxes you. For example, I never go anywhere without a book or my kindle, so I can find a quiet corner or a cafe to read for a bit when I’m getting exhausted. It helps to have some go-to activity like this that calms and relaxes you, independent of where you are.
Fear No. 4: „I’m not outgoing, extroverted, or talkative enough to get by away from home.”
Who says you need to be any of those things to be a successful traveller? Whatever successful means, anyway.
Don’t that let the stereotype of the extroverted backpacker who’s partying every night and hanging out with new friends all the time scare you away. After all, that is only one possible way to travel. There are many others that likely suit you much better.
Remember, your trip can be as loud or quiet, as calm or adventurous as you want it to be. You prefer quiet museums and long walks alone in nature? Go for it. Don’t want to see or talk to anyone for weeks? That’s the beauty of solo travel, you decide on the amount of social interaction you want to do.
In the end, if you can survive by yourself at home, you can do so on the road. I promise.
I hope these helped you find some confidence in planning that trip you’ve always been dreaming of. If you have any other concerns or questions about this, please let me know in the comments!