Monday 22 February 2016

Confessions of an extroverted introvert traveller

Introvert... Extrovert... I always thought you were either one or the other. 

I always swore I feel into the introverted side of things but recently I became aware of a new term the extroverted introvert and I think it suits me, almost, to a tea...

When travelling solo, being an introvert can be extremely difficult, but being an extroverted introvert can be even more so. As an extroverted introvert I hate having to make all the small talk and so meeting new people can be extremely difficult because that's often what happens first. If someone strikes up a conversation with me, I'm usually fine, but I find it extremely difficult to be the one who instigates things and feel like I come across as all nervous and awkward.

I can be the life of the party, but I never want to actually walk into the party and when I am done with said party... I AM DONE.. I cannot get out of there fast enough. What I mean by this is, I actually really love being around people and getting to know people, I just hate having to walk into a place and actually striking up a conversation with someone and when I am ready to go home, I need to go home immediately. The distance between having fun being around lots of people and wanting to be alone is very short. 

I watch in awe as the fully blown extroverts, in those first few minutes of meeting a new tour group take over and make everyone laugh and seem so wonderful and my mind is blown. The extrovert in me is screaming to come out and show them that I am just as funny/wonderful/fun as they are but the introvert is so much more dominant and just can't do it! 

I desperately need my alone time but I love being around other people. This is why I chose to do a blend of solo travel and organised tours by myself. When on a tour I am alone but I am never lonely and because I am travelling by myself I don't have people relying on me. I can choose to be by myself or I can join in activities with other people on the tour... It's almost perfect for me.

WANT MORE: Read about my love/hate relationship with organised tours here.

But... (There always seems to be a but when it comes to extroverted introverts) when the whole group is together I almost always clam up and cannot find my voice. When there's group conversations happening things run through my head that I could say to contribute but it's literally like the cat got my tongue and I cannot say anything, or I say it quietly to the person next to me. I am much more comfortable one on one or in small groups. The extroverts of the group just about do my head in. They are often the ones who monopolise and dictate so much of the conversation and the decision making and always have to say something because they know something about everything.  As an extroverted introvert I flick between wishing I could be them, to wishing they would just shut up!

I feel that I have gotten slightly better at drawing out the extrovert in me during my travels as I've gotten older. Once during my organised tour in Vietnam I had arranged to meet some of my fellow travellers at the hotel bar after we had all been to our rooms to drop stuff off. Not knowing which rooms they were staying in I waited about 15 minutes before heading up to the roof top bar thinking that they would surely be there by then..... they were not. It took all my extroverted strength not to turn around and run back down to my room, but I didn't, I propped myself up at the bar, alone, and ordered a drink and drank it as quickly as I could, waited an appropriate amount of time and then headed off looking as cool, calm and collected as possible but cursing them on the inside for leaving me stranded! Now I am not so worried by going to restaurants and such alone, after all I have to eat, but I still can't strike up a conversation with a stranger first!

Monument Valley
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Are you an introvert? extrovert?
Or like me and fall somewhere in the middle?

***This post is part of the following linkups*** 

I Must Confess

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