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Travel advice for introvert travelers!

One of the things we struggle with the most on a daily basis is that Rasmus is a roaring extrovert and I(Karoline) am very introvert. Opposites attract and all that! This gives us challenges as a couple, as roommates, as travel companions, and as business partners. However, our difference in personality type is also what gives us the perfect balance as a duo and challenges us individually to think differently. There are a bunch of things we do during our travels to allow space for each other’s personal needs. Especially when it comes to my needs for personal space as I am an introvert. This blog post is our small collection of tips to make traveling together with others enjoyable for introverts.

First of all, let’s quickly sum up the difference between an extrovert and an introvert.

Extroverts love to be social. They express themselves and everything they experience a lot through communication with others, and they gain energy from social interactions. They can easily feel lonely if they are not together with others and they thrive with the stimulation they get from other people. They enjoy being the center of attention and they are often the life of the party.

Introverts, on the other hand, can be social but enjoy being alone. They do not have the need to share every thought they have with other people and they gain the most energy from spending time alone. They can become frustrated if they are overly stimulated by being together with others constantly. Therefore, they often dislike being the center of attention and would rather enjoy being together with a few friends they know well.

The best example I have about the difference between an extrovert and an introvert is

our communication when we are driving on road trips. Rasmus loves to talk. He likes to debate issues and he tells me everything he has experienced. He even tells me what he sees while we are driving, even though I see exactly the same thing. Rasmus will get frustrated with me if I don’t share my enthusiasm for what I see or experience on the road because I rarely do. For example, he has told me, that I should always share with him if my ears pop when we drive in the mountains 😀 For me, that is not something anyone will benefit from knowing, but Rasmus does… I like it when he talks (most of the time) because that means that I don’t have to. I like to listen to whatever he has on his mind.

However, as soon as he starts asking me many questions or demands that I engage in conversations all of the time, I get frustrated.

Because when I have to engage in the conversations, I will use a lot of energy. I will think about what is the right thing to say and I will choose the right words carefully. That’s just how my brain works! When I get overstimulated by being together with others all the time I feel claustrophobic. I really want to be alone just for a short while every day to recharge my batteries. It has nothing to do with Rasmus or other people I am together with – it is just me!

So here are a few tips for traveling, if you are an introvert like me!

These tips will especially benefit you if you travel together with extroverts.

  1. First of all: Communication is key! Prior to your travel tell your travel companions that you will need some alone time once in a while. Tell them that this has nothing personally to do with them, but it is simply for you to recharge your batteries.
  2. Second of all: Communication!!! It is so important, so I will say it again. While you are traveling with your buddies, let them know again and again that your alone time is not personal. It is just vital to your mood and energy!
  3. Third: Be sneaky, and entertain the extroverts on road trips without letting them know that you don’t want to talk. This can be done in numerous ways, but my favorite trick is to put on an entertaining podcast or music. This will silence the extroverts (or make them sing) and relax your mind… for a while at least.
  4. Use headphones as a decoy on transportation. Ever had a stranger ask you what book you are reading or where you are headed on the airplane, the bus or the train? Or have you ever experienced a taxi driver that just wouldn’t keep talking to you? Of course, you have! I’ve learned the hard way, that even reading a book so intently that I looked like I had an exam in the morning sometimes isn’t enough (yes, I will do just about anything to not talk to strangers from time to time). But headphones will do the trick. If that doesn’t work, do as the French would do: turn your body facing the opposite direction and pretend you don’t understand their language.
  5. Plan time to be alone. Work out, take a walk, volunteer for grocery shopping, take out the trash, find somewhere to read a book. My alone time is doing yoga since Rasmus has no interest in that. Win-win!
  6. This tip might not be for everyone, because you need to be rather close with the person you ask for this, as it is delicate demand. Sometimes, when I really really need alone time, I ask Rasmus to take a walk or to drive a short trip. Once in a while, I just get enough of being together with someone non-stop, and since Rasmus is as extrovert as he is, he needs a lot of attention and stimulation from others (being me 90% of the time). So honestly sometimes we really benefit from Rasmus driving away into the sunset. He can find someone during his sweet escape to talk with: a receptionist, a bird enthusiast, a camera gadget geek – really whoever! This will stimulate him and take the pressure off me. And at the same time, I will get a break to recharge my batteries.

Honestly, while I have been writing this post, Rasmus has come up to me twice to ask me if I also miss him. Such a needy extrovert. Of course, I haven’t given him any thought at all as I was completely focussed on putting my thoughts on paper! Anyway, I hope this post can help some of you introvert freaks (like myself) on your next exciting adventure! If you have some sneaky tips for me, please let me know, as I am always looking for new hacks to trick extroverts.

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