Before I begin, I suppose we should clear up what being an extroverted introvert actually means. For starters, I am a born introvert. When all’s said and done, I need to be alone to recharge. I just don’t get energy from being around people ever, even if I like being around said people.
However, I was raised with an extremely extroverted family. My parents have always been social, and they were definitely the popular kids back in their day. My brother was school president, and my sister has a group of friends around her all the time. Our whole family has excellent communication skills, and they excel at small talk. Seriously, the amount of free HBO and Starz we had in high school is all due to my dad’s schmoozin’ skills with Comcast.
Growing up as the quiet one of an Irish-Jewish mix of a family, I learned quickly how to appear extroverted. I sometimes would observe how my brother greeted a new person and then repeat what he did in my next introduction until it felt natural. I’m not kidding, most of my extroverted tendencies have come straight from observation and repetition. I also made a point of throwing myself in situations that called for extroverted personalities.
As a result, I am an extroverted introvert. And this makes traveling a pretty unique experience. In fact, I didn’t really start considering myself an E-I until I started planning trips and thinking about how I interacted with new people. Here are some of the things I noticed.
WAYS TO TELL YOU TRAVEL LIKE AN EXTROVERTED INTROVERT
1. For starters, you don’t like sharing dorm rooms if you can avoid it, and you’re not going to be hanging out in the common areas of hostels. However, you do enjoy having the option of common areas, and sometimes you venture out and make conversation. In fact, you even find some hotel settings quite lonely.
2. You like doing things alone, but you overall aren’t that crazy about traveling solo. Maybe a few days tops if you keep busy, but longer than that and you get the blues. After all, who’s going to witness your fabulous rapping skills as you try to rhyme random words in Korean and English?
3. You feel incredibly anxious when shopkeepers follow you in stores or try to talk to you. Probably more anxious than an actual thief. You just want to be left alone in peace, but you also want to know they’re there if you have questions.
4. You hate small talk, but you’re probably good at it. Years of practice have made small talk fairly easy. However, you still probably loathe doing it.
5. You’d rather explore on your own or in a one-on-one guided tour. Big tour groups bring out the introverted anxieties, especially when you need to split up within the tour or figure out where to sit for lunch. You’ll suck it up if a big tour is the only way to go, like visiting the Mekong Delta, but you’d much rather figure out public transportation and go there on your own time.
6. You are not going to be the person who enjoys a spontaneous bar trip with your new hostel friends. The thought of beer, bar snacks, and small talk with strangers gives you a headache, especially if you’ve been out all day and don’t even drink. The worst is if you’re watching people flirt, and all you want to do is curl up in bed and relive the day through photos or jotting down some thoughts in your journal.
7. You do like clubbing oddly enough, and you can even keep going totally sober. You love dancing. If you’re in a giant crowd in the dark, watch out for all the moves. You do need a few days advance notice for this night out though.
8. If you lose your headphones…God help your sanity. You will figure out how to find a new pair ASAP.
9. Being an expat is extremely overwhelming socially, but you can push yourself to make the most out of it. You employ an “Always Say Yes” mentality to going to dinners, watching movies, hanging out, and going on day trips. This will work amazingly well for you, even if you abandon the mentality after the first few months. If you’re lucky, it will result in some tight friendships around the globe that continue on after you don’t live a few stops away.
10. You probably look forward to checking out the scenery or important buildings when planning for a trip. You’re less concerned with the people or creating wild memories. However, if you do get a chance to make local friends or create memories with them, those are easily the times you hold closest to your heart.
What kind of traveler are you? If you’re an extroverted introvert, do these apply to you as well? Let us know!
Words and Photography by Samantha