Traveling As An Introvert

I discovered something about myself this year – I am an introvert.

I like spending time alone.  If I spend too much time with other people, I feel exhausted and have to be alone for a while.  I enjoy spending a night in – writing, reading, and watching too much British TV.  I like to see movies/theatre/symphony alone, because I don’t spend most of my time worrying if the person with me is enjoying themselves.

I’m comfortable around my friends (well, the majority of the time), but I feel awkward meeting new people.  I’m not good at approaching people or keeping up conversations.  Conversational lulls make me feel like I’m doing something wrong.  I feel inadequate – as if I should be a more interesting person or that I should know more things.

I suppose you could say that I also have social anxiety.

I have friends who travel and meet new people wherever they go.  To be fair, my friends are awesome.  They can travel to a land they’ve never been before and within 24 hours find an amazing new friend.

I can’t do that.

In 2011 I traveled to London by myself for a week, and then to New York for 4 days in 2012.

Amount of new friends made: 0.

However…  Amount of shows seen: 10; Amount of museums visited: 5; Comedy shows attended: 1; Amount of food eaten: (too much to even calculate).

I challenge myself to travel alone – to go to places without the safety net of another person.   Yes, they’re places I’ve all ready been to, but that’s a smaller safety net.  It also allows me to slowly broaden my horizons (i.e. stay in London and do a day trip somewhere I’ve never been).

But I don’t challenge myself to meet new people, because that’s just too scary.

Do I wish that I could make friends easily?  Do I wish that I could walk up to someone and start a conversation?  Do I wish that I could start a life-long friendship with someone in another country?  Do I wish I could make out with that random person who’s really cute and has an accent?

Yes, I do.  And maybe someday I will be able to do those things.

But for now, baby steps.

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