Some introverts love to travel. It’s perfectly OK to rent a room in the best hotel, but if you are one of those seeking to know the unknown and to experience the inexperienced (a.k.a. adventure) you might like this article and the 10 tips I will give here.
I always loved discovering new places and new experiences, feeling the different vibes of different environments and I was craving for such kind of travel. But somehow I always discouraged myself from stepping out of my tiny comfort zone, because of the travel experiences of my friends and travel stories on social media:
Meet random people on the way! Have parties here and there! Explore cities, pubs, and cafes! How we got drunk in Budapest! How we got drunk in St. Petersburg! And finally – how I found 20 different jobs on the way and managed to travel with no savings at all!
Definitely, that’s not for me. If I want to have a real adventure, a real experience and don’t spend a fortune, I must meet random people and find jobs on the way – as a tour guide, a teacher, or in a front office of a hostel … So, I stayed at home.
I hope I don’t need to tell you the benefits of traveling. If you love to travel – you will travel, if you hate it, I will not convince you.
I really really wanted to go and try. Vast empty steppes of Mongolia mesmerized me. The mindfulness culture of Buddhist countries fascinated me. The calm nature of isolated islands attracted me.
And finally, I tried. The first trip was to the closest capital of a foreign country. That’s the charm of Europe – if you want to go abroad, it’s easy, there are lots of tiny countries around. Later I traveled farther and farther away and managed to do a 8 month trip to Asia, finally visiting those steppes and those Buddhist countries.
That was an awesome adventure, rich in experiences, with lots of new people, new inspirations, and insights. And there were just a bit of random people. Only a few parties. Only a few pubs. Only a few days as a teacher.
How did I manage to make such trip and to survive as an introvert? One friend who saw my photos replied: „Introvert my ass!“ But he did not know about these incredible tips that I developed and applied during my whole trip to keep me fresh and protect me from many kinds of dangers like parties or meeting lots of random people.
1) Do your own research
There are places that are “must-see“. Be smart, not every must-see is a must see for real. Some of them are must-see because people are lazy to search for other options.
If you do your own research, you will know what things are must-see for YOU. It depends on what do you like. It might be the best café in the town, the tallest mountain in the country or the biggest museum.
Listen to suggestions, but decide yourself what is a must see. Then you will avoid that awkward moment: “What am I doing here?”.
I remember visiting a beautiful town of Can Tho in Vietnam. Everyone went to the town to see the floating market. EVERY-freakin-ONE. But I visited a huge old tree with thousands of branches. I borrowed a bicycle and navigated through canals and villages until finally, some local children led me to that tree. Even not all the locals knew that place. That was one of my best memories from Vietnam.
2) Travel alone
Traveling with the right folks might be a great experience too. But traveling alone is always great because you are on your own terms and you can not do what you don’t want to do.
No arguments (“I want to go there” – “But I want to go there”), no democracy (“Let’s discuss…”), no dictatorship (“Now we must go there. Period.”).
There are drawbacks of traveling alone because you are responsible for everything. If that does not scare you – try it.
The majority of my travels were solo, and I believe I’d have skipped many interesting things if I were in a group, because of #3, #4 and #10.
3) Avoid most popular places, instead, find less known or even “boring” places
First of all, the most popular places are crowded. If you want to meet lots of random people, sellers trying to convince you to buy some “local” “hand-made” crap, then you are in the right place.
Less popular places are less filled with people, and you can stay there for a longer time without being distracted.
Sultanahmet mosque in Istanbul is amazingly beautiful, but there was a long long line of people waiting to see the interior. I just went to visit another big mosque and sat there as much as I wanted in complete silence!
4) Stay longer in one place
I never enjoyed the idea of hopping from one place to another and visiting 20 cities in 5 days. I believe that it might be too overwhelming for introverts. Stay in one place longer – two, three, seven days, get familiar with it, get the vibe, get the feeling. And then move on.
The ancient town of Luang Prabang was so calm and slow-paced, that I spent there two weeks out of one month in Laos.
5) Use Couchsurfing to meet other introverts
That might seem counter-intuitive to use Couchsurfing for an introvert. But it shouldn’t be. Couchsurfing is the best and maybe the only way to meet other introverts on the way. You can search for people there according to their interests and even character traits. I wrote on my Couchsurfing profile that I am an introvert, quiet and calm, so people knew what to expect.
Believe it or not, but with my Couchsurfing friend, we spend half an hour watching the sunset over the Tamsui river in Taipei without a single word.
6) Bring a book
There is a lot of waiting in travels. Waiting for a bus, for check-in, for food, for some friend. Waiting waiting waiting…
And the best thing to do while waiting is to read a book. Bring an e-book reader, you can have lots of books there – no time will be wasted.
And what is the best way to spend an evening after adventurous day? Of course, with a book! I had a book with me even when traveled with my tent. I’ve read hundreds of pages in my sleeping bag with a flashlight.
7) Have a break
That’s serious. Sometimes you must have a break. Close yourself in a hotel room and do not go anywhere without regret.
The most difficult thing is to do that without regret. There will be many thoughts like “Oh, I must travel, go somewhere, visit places, I’m wasting my time!” But introverts need to recharge from time to time. Sometimes it is nice to stay inside with a book the whole day and to leave the room only to find some food.
8) Choose introvert-friendly countries to visit
There are countries, where people talk loudly, they will easily approach you and start asking questions, telling their stories, or the worst – will try to sell you things. (Turkey, Georgia)
And there are countries where people will rarely approach you. And even if they do, that will not be annoying, because they will be more shy than talkative. (Thailand, Japan) Or just not talkative at all. (Estonia, Mongolia) Or not interested in you at all. (Norway, Iceland)
It might be a good idea to know the character of the country before going there.
9) Do an outdoor traveling
If you are in a good health condition, consider outdoor traveling. Travel with a bicycle, go for a hike, sleep in a tent, cook on a campfire.
This way you will avoid most of the crowds (unless you take the most popular hiking route), will have great sights of nature and good impact on your health!
Even the overly friendly Georgians did not bother our group much while we were camping up the mountains!
10) Lots of quiet places are waiting for you
Cultural heritage – museums, ruins of ancient castles. Natural heritage – national parks and wonders of nature. Religious heritage – temples, churches, and mosques. All of them are quiet, amazing and beautiful.
I hope you found some inspiration for your next trip, be it adventurous one, or recharging one.
Thank you for reading!