Travel is not for everyone. Solo travel is definitely not for everyone. However, if you are shy, awkward and have trouble making friends, taking a trip by yourself could be the best thing you ever do!
If you haven’t realized it already, being introverted is not always a bad thing and should not hold you back from travelling solo. Society glorifies being outgoing, confident and talkative, but there are plenty of chatty extroverts that never leave their home town. Many introverts have an adventurous spirtit under the shy exterior. Being introverted just means that you just like more time to be on your own than the extroverted part of the population.
What better way to be alone than to walk around a museum in perfect silence, or to hike a mountain or to sit on a beach with a book. Peace and Quiet, the most under-rated thing of this century.
Skip the hour-long debate deciding where to eat for dinner and what time. Decide yourself. If you need a day to relax, you don’t need to feel guilty about taking it. If you want to do something that a friend would not want to spend money on, you are free to do it.
You can enjoy doing the things you like doing and not what you are expected to like doing. Every decision is yours from the time you wake up until the time you decide to go to bed (even if it’s at 8pm with a book).
There will be challenges. Despite what some people might think, introverts get lonely too. What happens when you want company but are struggling to find it? Conquer the challenge. Pretend to be confident. Walk up to a stranger and introduce yourself. It is so much easier than you think especially in hostels. Almost everyone that stays in hostels have traveled alone before, so they will understand.
Travelers are the most welcoming, friendly and most importantly, the most interesting people. Skip the usual small talk that introverts dread so much and start swapping tales of your adventures. Have some small conversation starters ready and remember that if it doesn’t go to plan or you start to feel awkward you will probably never see them again.
On that point, you can learn to be an extrovert for a short period. If you know that you are only hanging out with a stranger for a short period, they don’t know that you are shy. They don’t know anything about you. As above, you will never see them again if you don’t want to, so there are no expectations. Be yourself, but try to talk more.
Make no mistake travelling solo as an introvert will be daunting, especially if you are on budget and have to share a dorm room with drunk smelly hippy types. The solution to this is simple. Being introverted means you won’t want to go out every night. Save the money you would have spent on socializing and use it to pay for a private room every few days. It is important to take time to recharge those batteries every once in a while.
Don’t forget to use resources such as Couchsurfing.org. Even if you’re not keen to stay on a strangers couch, there are often meet-ups and events if you are staying in quieter places and struggling to meet people at hostels and bars. This is a fantastic way to meet travellers and locals.
Remember that you only regret the things that you didn’t do. If you are considering traveling, ask yourself if you want to be the person that has done it or the person that is still talking about it in 5 years. Surprise the people who always commented on how shy you are. Take the leap.
10 Advantages of Solo Travel as an Introvert
- Peace and Quiet
- Self-discovery and acceptance
- The opportunity to meet interesting, like-minded people (if and when you want)
- Character building
- No compromising
- Realizing that most people are good and want to help
- You don’t tend to feel lonely
- Lots of time to think, read and write
- You can pretend to be an extrovert- for short periods