Lately, I’ve been obsessed with Myers-Briggs personality types (as many of my close friends and coworkers can tell you!). The MBTI, a personality inventory based on the work of C. G. Jung, is not a perfect system, and of course, a test will never be able to completely define who you are. Nevertheless, it’s been an immensely helpful tool in understanding myself better.
I’m an INFJ, the rarest of the 16 personality types. This sensitive and emotional introverted personality makes up only 1-2 percent of the population and is described by 16 Personalities as “quiet and mystical, yet very inspiring and tireless idealists.” Those who know me well would dispute the “quiet” part, but for the most part, reading descriptions of the INFJ was scarily accurate. It felt like someone was reaching into my brain and explaining my thoughts, mindset, and struggles more eloquently than I have ever been able to do.
(What’s your personality type? We recommend this free personality assessment.)
INFJs are known as both dreamers and doers, the ones who think big and also follow through on their dreams and goals. For me, that big goal is traveling to 100 countries before age 100 and helping other young professionals travel better and cheaper through my blog MeWantTravel. Based on my personal experience and my research about INFJs, here’s a glimpse into how this personality type travels.
How an INFJ Travels
1. Despite being “extroverted” introverts, we will still need alone time.
For the introvert, alone time is absolutely necessary. If you’re traveling with extroverts, they may not understand why you need to disappear into your room and recharge after a busy day of sightseeing, but I’m here to tell you that it’s perfectly okay to ask for that time. After you recharge, you’ll essentially be a better you. So tell your extroverted friends that they will like you more for it!
2. Deep, meaningful conversations are key.
INFJs crave meaning in all that they do, and relationships are no exception. Conversations of substance — not just small talk — are very important to us, and we may find that speaking to locals is both eye-opening and crucial to truly experiencing a new place. For me, the more I travel, the more I realize that people everywhere are the same at their core. Though we may look different and speak different languages, we all have fears, dreams, and people we deeply cherish. We can choose to find common ground and stand together, or we can choose to be divided and separated by our differences. As INFJs, we will always be in favor of — and push for — the first option.
3. We may want to write about our travels.
INFJs are highly creative, especially when it comes to working with words. And when we travel, we often want to somehow creatively capture what we’re experiencing, whether it’s through the written word, art, or something else. This helps us reflect on our experiences, and as INFJs, we love optimizing, learning, and personal growth. In terms of journals, I personally love ones that are small and easy to carry around in your backpack or purse, so I can jot down notes or ideas as they strike me. And who knows, when you write down those personal recollections or draw that stunning view, it may just be the beginning of your memoir.
4. Whenever possible, we aim for the “local” experience.
This may mean dining at local hidden gems and skipping some of the “must see” tourist traps. It may also mean staying in Airbnbs or hostels as opposed to hotels because it gives us an opportunity to learn about the culture by staying with a local, and it gives us a guaranteed chance to meet other folks. A paradox of the INFJ is that we’re genuinely interested in (and fascinated by) other people — so much that we’re mistaken for extroverts. But we truly are introverts who need that precious downtime. Having a private room in a hostel or Airbnb home is the perfect way to get the best of both worlds.
5. Being “judgers,” planning is a must.
As a “judging” personality, we INFJs like to know what we’re doing in advance and where we’re sleeping, and we may or may not have a pre-researched list of all the places we want to go, eat, and explore (okay, we probably will have that list!). There’s little that stresses out an INFJ more than having to make rapid-fire decisions on the fly. Meanwhile, “perceiving” personalities, like the INFP or ISTP, feel more comfortable going with the flow and being spontaneous. For them, it might even be fun to roll into a new city with no solid plans and discover what they’ll do and where they’ll stay as it strikes them.
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6. Use your “chameleon” abilities to your advantage.
INFJs are chameleons who can adapt to pretty much any social situation, because we’re tuned into social norms and expectations, and we read others well. This can be draining, however, because it means you’re constantly assessing and reassessing the room. This radar is part of who we INFJs are, and it’s not something we can easily turn off. But one thing I’ve learned the hard way is not to sacrifice social harmony at the expense of myself!
INFJ, take care of yourself; know that even though people may misunderstand you, this doesn’t make your feelings or thoughts invalid. Continue to be the INFJ boss that you are and take pride in your uniqueness — and then go out there and experience all those exotic places you’ve been dreaming about!
You might like:
- 8 Honest Truths from a Contradictory INFJ
- Instructions on Loving an INFJ
- If You’re an INFJ, You’ll Relate to These 12 Problems
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