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.

I am the textbook definition of an extroverted introvert, but it took traveling and planning for trips to make me realize it. Are you one as well?


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

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  1. I found myself relating a lot to what you wrote. I think that I’m an introvert but I was raised in an extroverted family, hence it may have moulded me in some way so that I’m a hybrid of both. I recharge when I’m alone but I get energised around the right people and generally always enjoy the right people’s company.

    It’s a little frustrating because I need the right people to be happy but it has been hard to find people who are like me.

    I’m considering solo travel in the near future (covid depending haha) because none of my friends are in the same life situation as me.

    Do you have any advice for me? Also any tips on living a happy life with a brain like ours?

    1. Hi Jordan!

      Solo travel can definitely be challenging when it comes to being an extroverted introvert. When it comes to solo travel, it really depends on how long you’re going for. I’m happy for up to a week to wander and explore on my own and basically not talk to a single soul, but after that I get antsy and start wishing someone was with me. A big thing is to keep in touch with friends via FB chat, texting, or even Facetiming depending on how often you do any of that.

      If you’re going anywhere for a bit longer, I highly recommend just putting yourself out there! I’ve personally met a lot of great people on Instagram by just pushing myself to be a *tiny* bit more extroverted than I’m comfortable with. Facebook groups are another great way – just look for the expat FB group for whichever city you’re visiting. Sometimes it just takes writing a post to say “Hey, I’m new in town and just looking to see if anyone wants to grab coffee.”

  2. Growing up I was most definitely an extrovert but as I get older, I think I’m becoming more of an introvert if that makes sense. But when I travel solo, I do yearn for socializing and although I’m not a big fan of clubbing, I do enjoy dancing and being in a crowd. It’s always so electric!

  3. Oh my gosh what a unique post, I love it! I’m DEFINITELY an extroverted introvert, I think. I’ve always considered myself an introvert because I’m totally ok and love being alone but all your points were so accurate to how I am! I’m going to start using that term now, haha! Thanks for sharing as always on #FlyAwayFriday – can’t wait to see you again tomorrow! xo

    1. Thank you for reading :) And right? I actually remember taking the introvert, extrovert tests in school and always scoring introvert but towards the middle. When I heard the term extroverted introvert, I thought it was perfect!

  4. OMG I found myself saying, yes, yes, yes to every single point you make!! Haha!! I am definitely one of those who is very “good” at being extroverted but prefer being with a small group, my husband or even being alone to spend some me time. I’m glad that there is the term extroverted-introvert because it just makes so much more sense to how I am in social settings. Thank you for sharing on #FlyAwayFriday and can’t wait to read your next post!

  5. I’m definitely an EI but when solo traveling I tend put forth a bit more of E…I’ve done a few of the opposite on the list … I’ll go bar hopping or sit in the lounge… but I’ll also randomly disappear without saying goodbye because I’m over it lol … now that I travel with my husband, he does more of the E so I can be the comfortable I and just stare at people. lol I enjoyed this post a lot!

  6. Well its the first time I’ve heard of a extroverted introvert.
    Im having a difficult time assessing if that would include me though. Haha. Very interesting read

  7. Hmmm… Reading this makes me think what am I? Not in the travelling scene though coz I only travel with my husband and my sons. But insofar as interacting with people is concerned, I am an extrovert since I like having friends all the time. But I am an introvert as I choose the people I allow to be in my circle. Now, how’s that? Hahaha.

  8. Thanks so much for sharing this post! I really like the line in #9 where you say ‘Being an expat is extremely overwhelming socially, but you can push yourself to make the most out of it. ‘ This really hits home for me! I always have difficulty with social interactions, but it doesn’t hold me back from making an effort to get the most out of my time in each place I visit.

    And yes, alone time is CRUCIAL! I need some time to myself each day and definitely need time to prepare for social interaction. Thanks for sharing your experiences and perspectives!

  9. I totally relate! I’ve been on the road now for 3 months and I definitely need whole days to recharge by myself, but also have realized that the “saying yes” mentality is really the best way to get out of my little shell. thanks so much for sharing! #flyawayfriday

  10. Some of these things I can relate to, others not so much. I have changed over the years and that has to do with self confidence. When I was in my early twenties I needed people around me much more than I do now. Now that I’m in my late 30s I love being alone when I travel. I just feel other people are in my way to get the photos I want to take and experience the things I want. Especially with tour groups. I avoid those like the plague. The only person I love to travel with is my wife. It’s like a friend of mine said: ‘I used to go to a party and worry if people would like me. Now I go to a party and I worry if I would like the people.’

  11. As much as I hate putting labels on myself, I have a lot of these traits too. I think life has forced me out of my introvert bubble & I now can chat away to people quite happily – when I want to make an effort. Other times I love just chilling out on my own, even in a group of people – for me the best part of travelling solo! :)

  12. Great way of putting it and describing extroverted introverts. I am mostly an introvert all-around, but I’ve known many extroverted introverts and I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be an introvert. I think people assume being shy or quiet is a bad thing, but it’s not! You are observant and taking in the world around you and find things others miss.

    1. Yeah! I don’t know why I’m not crazy about it. Before I tried it a little, I would have said I’m 10000% built for solo travel. Then I actually did it and was driving myself nuts by the third day!

  13. Oh gosh I can definitely relate to this! It’s tough sometimes to be an extroverted introvert but traveling has really pushed me to connect. Great post and lovely photos!

  14. Great post and brilliant topic discussed. I had never even thought of this, you’ve really made me look at myself! Number 9 is so me, don’t really want to put myself “out there” but do the always say yes thing. Fab read #FlyAwayFriday

    1. Aw I’m glad you enjoyed the read! And yesss. I need to deliberately hype myself up! Like made it a solid rule that I need to say yes for a certain amount of time!

  15. Loved this! I’m not so much an extroverted introvert, but an introvert who can magically go crazy and act as an extrovert if i really must. When I tell people my stories back home, they’re like, “Really? YOU did that?”

    1. Haha I get that all the time! Sometimes my friends are like, “Wait… what?” I think I also don’t like the idea of people thinking they can read me easily!

  16. Dancing sober? Are you insane? Haha, I love dancing, but even a little bit of beer or wine helps to loosen up. Best part, you don’t have to socialize when dancing. This extroverted dancer is an introvert when trying to make conversations in loud bars/pubs.

  17. The funny thing is, I started reading this and was pretty sure you were going to describe me — I also consider myself an introvert (in that I need to be alone to recharge) who is still quite social — but I don’t match up with very many of these at all! I loved solo travel, because I could withdraw and keep to myself when I needed to, without accounting for my time or whereabouts to anyone. I also loved spontaneous bar outings, hanging out in the hostel common rooms, etc. Maybe I’m just a boring old mix of the two.

    I do value my headphones and hate small talk — so I get where you’re coming from on those!

    1. Haha you can always be a mix of the two or even an introverted extrovert! You sound a bit more adventurous than me :p

      Oh man yes on the headphones! A part of me dies a little when I get on a long bus ride and I’ve forgotten them!

  18. Yes! So many people don’t understand how you can travel the world and meet people as an introvert. This is it. Introverts aren’t hermits who shun the outside world. We’re just a bit more introspective and need that “recharge” time. We can be sociable and make friends. Sometimes. Haha.

    1. Haha right? We still want to meet people, just not the way everyone thinks we ought to (i.e. sharing dorms or drinks!). Definitely need that recharge time. :)

  19. Awesome article, Sam!
    I can’t decide whether I’m more of an extrovert or introvert. I said yes to the statements above equally as many as my no :)

  20. Nice article! I can definitely relate to some of these. I think many of these are just about being human and a lot can depend on your mood or how you feel that particular day or moment. I commend you for pushing yourself to become more extroverted, because that’s where the opportunities will arise. Keep it up!

    1. Very true! My mood definitely affects how extroverted I’m willing to be :) And thank you! I think it’s definitely pushed me into the right decisions and on the right path!

  21. I can’t decide if I’m an Introverted-Extrovert after this read. I agree wholeheartedly with many of these thoughts, but at the same time vehemently disagree with a few. Great read! It was a good length as well :)

    1. Thank you :) Haha who knows?! I don’t know as much about what it’s like being a total Extrovert or Introverted-Extrovert. It’d be fun to look into!

  22. And number 11, if you can relate to all 10 points here, then you are an extroverted introverted traveler. Surprisingly, I could really relate. I know that I am an introvert, but the constant joining of group travels to save myself from creating an itinerary, it helps me somehow to reach out to people. When I got the hang of it, I find it actually interesting to be with people, whether you know them or not, in the travel.

    1. I know! I think being pushed into extroverted situations has made me move from total introvert to more in the middle. I’m almost certain if my family hadn’t been so extroverted, I’d be terrible at making conversation or leaving my apartment!

  23. Ahh this was an interesting list! I think I am mostly an extroverted introvert. I do enjoy my alone time — but I do also enjoy time with others. I’m interested to see how next year is for me with travel lol

    1. Haha right? I know I’ll have to do a lot more solo, so I’m hoping it brings out the more extroverted side of my personality and I’m not sitting alone too often!

  24. I think I’m still an extroverted introvert even though I don’t ‘match up’ with a lot of your suggestions but there’s a lot I do! :) I’m really loud and social but I MUST be alone too! However, I looooove to travel alone more than with people so I’m different on #2. But totally with you on the small talk shit, I haaaaate that

    1. Small talk is the worsttttt! After five minutes, I’m like, “Okay now let’s talk about real things, ready, set go!” Haha and more power to you on traveling alone :) I thought I did until I actually did it, and I was so lonely after the third day! I guess if I was pretty busy though and changing up location, I’d enjoy it more!

  25. Haha, I would describe myself as an extroverted introvert as well! I can’t relate to your whole list, but I definitely love being the company of fascinating people, yet enjoy recharging and discovering sights solo. It’s definitely awkward when travelling in a large group (such as my husband’s big family), yet you want to sneak away and just read a book feeling the sun rise on your skin, catching glimpses of the expansive turquoise waters. For me, I love breaking off and doing my own thing and then at night, coming back together, sharing experiences over the dinner table with great food and wine.

    1. Very true! Big groups can be incredibly fun but incredibly exhausting especially if you don’t get space. At least with your husband’s family you kind of know them :)

      I love that too! Doing my own thing and getting to swap stories over good food!

  26. I had never really thought about the whole introvert v extrovert thing until I came to Korea. I dunno why, maybe it’s something that a lot of expats think about while they’re here. I’m a really outgoing person and love talking to people and love being in other people’s company but I definitely need my alone time and get anxious in big crowds. I think my introvert side has come out even more here- at home I didn’t even know it existed lol. Maybe I’m an extroverted introvert, thanks so much for solving my existential crisis that I didn’t even know I had lol! :D

    1. I think making a big move like this to Korea gets us all thinking about how we interact– plus we have to make new friends that aren’t just in school or in the same office as us! Being an expat definitely magnifies different parts of my personality that were pretty nonexistent before.

    1. Right? I know how to be “on” and even enjoy meeting new people or getting to know about their lives, but I also loveee plugging in my headphones and just wandering on my own!

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