An Introvert Reaches Out

I was so excited to stumble across this article and being an introvert myself, I HAD to include it here. Sophia Dembling writes about the struggles and rewards that come from being a shy traveler in her article, “Confessions of an Introverted Traveler.” She gives a refreshing point of view of travelers who tend to shy away from forced social interactions; a common theme amongst traveling to new places. You may find yourself feeling exactly the same way. Enjoy the excerpts!

Oh, I’m always happy enough when interesting people stumble into my path. It’s a lagniappe, and I’m capable of connecting with people when the opportunity arises. And when the chemistry is right, I enjoy it.

But I don’t seek people out, I am terrible at striking up conversations with strangers and I am happy exploring a strange city alone. I don’t seek out political discourse with opinionated cab drivers or boozy bonding with locals over beers into the wee hours. By the time the hours get wee, I’m usually in bed in my hotel room, appreciating local color TV. (So sue me, but I contend that television is a valid reflection of a society.)”

“Introversion and extroversion are inborn traits, and the difference between them is not that one is gregarious and at ease in the world and the other shy and awkward. Rather, extroverts are outwardly motivated and gain energy from interaction with the outside world while introverts are more inwardly directed and drained by interaction with others. Introverts’ thinking tends to be deep and slow, we require copious time alone, we prefer probing conversation to shallow chitchat, and our social lives are geared more towards intimate one-on-one interactions than “more the merrier” free-for-alls.

“Though I don’t need to talk to a lot of people, I love watching them. Many of my favorite travel memories involve sitting and watching. I spent hours under the midnight sun in the Vigeland Sculpture Garden in Oslo, watching people wander among the statues. In Venice, Tom and I returned several times to a café with tables under a huge tree where we passed some time over snacks and cold drinks, watching Venetians go about their business. In Rome my niece and I ended every day with gelato at a favorite spot outside the Pantheon. Sitting, eating, watching. Conversation optional.”