Introverts are always pegged as the cerebral, quiet types who would rather stay at home than go to a party. As an introvert, it’s true. Most of the time I would rather stay home and do literally anything else than go to a place where there are a bunch of people who all know each other and I am standing in the corner shoving popcorn in my mouth so it looks like I am clearly busy and can’t talk right now. So why do introverts crave travel so much? You think it would be terrifying–having to talk to people you don’t know and trying new experiences, but in reality, introverts love to travel more than most extroverts.
1. Anonymity. We love it when no one knows us, so that we can be the life of the party at a German Beer Festival, or a wedding in India, without the initial shock of “wow, she talks? and dances?!” from other party-goers. This also gives us an out–we are never going to see these people again, why not enjoy ourselves to the fullest?
2. We get to re-create the image of ourselves. As introverts, it is difficult for others to see us as anything else. Often, it can make introverts feel stuck in a social situation or that they are holding back what they really want to say. Personally, a lot of the time, I do feel stuck in my day to day routine without a definite goal toward my hard work in sight. This makes it easy for me to slip out of any conversation, feeling like I have nothing to add.
But when I travel, I am going somewhere. I get to talk about where I am going and what I am going to do there, and why. Suddenly I go from quiet girl in the corner with a mouth full of popcorn to a charismatic young lady with international experience. I get to be whoever I want to the random person that I am talking to, without them knowing how uncontrollably awkward I am back at home.
3. We don’t have any obligations. We don’t have to send an “I’m sick” text last minute to avoid that social gathering. We don’t have to say “yes” to a friend’s house party because we are expected to be there. We don’t even have to say “yes” to the hotel concierge’s offer to “see the real Guadalajara” because we aren’t tied to any of these people. There are no expectations for us, which means that we can say “no” to things we don’t want to do without the anxiety of social consequence.
4. It’s a personal experience that we can reflect on. Travel is unique to every person, which is why introvert’s love it so much. We get to tune in to ourselves without the daily distractions of home life. It is just us–no phone, no day job–just us and our experience. It is the only time a person can really take a step back from her life and evaluate herself on her direction in life.
In today’s plugged in society, it is easy for introverts to be overwhelmed with the constant contact we have with other people. No amount of yoga or meditation can separate a person that is so plugged in to their life at home, making it hard for introverts to re-charge their body and soul batteries. Travel, although exhausting and exhilarating within itself, is that re-charge time away from day-to-day life. We get to try new things and really reflect on the way we handled it, or what we noticed, and what that says about ourselves.
5. Travel is intellectual. Really good travel is incredibly intellectually demanding. Laying on the beach in Florida is not intellectually stimulating, but hiking the Inca trail to an ancient Peruvian town is everything that introverts crave. We test the limits of our minds and bodies by soaking in the language, culture, and personalities of the people around us. We analyze the connections between the land and culture, and we pull from our own past experiences to further understand the travel experience.
Introverts–what are you travel stories? Why do you get itchy feet? I want to hear your reasons!