I was deep in the bowels of grad school and desperate for an escape. Awash in group projects and demanding professors, my introverted brain had burned to a crisp. Spring break was coming up, and I needed to go somewhere, anywhere, to recharge. I decided on San Francisco, a city I had always wanted to explore.
Eager to make the most of this week, I planned the trip a month in advance. I googled places and activities of interest to me. Then I created an itinerary and a budget. I printed all the tickets and passess I needed and put them in a designated folder.
Later, Georgia. Hello, California.
The nine days I spent there were an adventure for the soul. I marveled at the gardens of Alcatraz and pored over the ruins of the jail for hours. I discovered the secret of the Sutro Baths and wandered through their pools and paths, blissful. I lost time in museums, witnessing history through paintings and sculptures. I trekked across the bridge, hiked to Sausalito, and walked up and down every street, admiring the architecture. I may have even daydreamed about starring in Charmed.
There were moments of serendipity. A man asked me out in a Starbucks and even wrote me a sweet note on a napkin. I turned him down, but we chatted for a while. I met a lifelong traveler from Japan at my hostel, and we exchanged our stories. We shared our words with moments of comfortable silence.
The city was amazing. The scenery, magic. The people, lovely. And the one thing that made the vacation so enjoyable? This introvert had it all to herself.
Traveling alone comes with many advantages, whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert: You develop self-confidence and learn to rely on yourself. Plus, you get to do whatever you want.
But when you’re an introvert, there are some added benefits to going it alone. In fact, if you’re an introvert, you might just want to make your next vacation a solo one. Here are four reasons to do just that.
1. You’re excused from a group project.
Introverts prefer to work independently, and planning a group vacation can be as much of a struggle as working on a project together. People who dominate the conversation may end up driving the direction of the entire trip.
And it could be a great trip! However, there are probably things you want to do that may not make it to the drawing board.
If you decide to go by yourself, you get to plan every detail. Introverts also prefer to develop ideas privately before introducing them to reality. This can make for a well planned and fulfilling trip.
I loved the freedom of planning my own vacation. I got to center my activities on things I enjoyed — nature, culture, and walking around. I took extra time to schedule my outings for each day to ensure I had plenty of time at each site. I felt secure knowing I had all my documents in order.
2. No one will be around to drain your battery.
Whether you’re hitting all the sites on your list or lounging by the beach, you’ll want your energy tank on full. People wear us out. The last thing you want — on your time off — is to be exhausted and irritable. Spending time alone keeps an introvert’s energy levels high, so you can dive into your adventure and keep at it the entire time.
Being surrounded by classmates, coworkers, roommates, teachers, and supervisors on a constant cycle had wrung me dry. I needed a getaway from human interaction. Traveling alone was the perfect remedy for my exhaustion. I was healthier and happier than I had been in months.
3. You get to enjoy one-on-one interactions with the people you meet.
One of the hallmarks of solo traveling is meeting new people, and, yes, I know how this sounds. But for introverts, there is a huge difference between hanging with a group and, say, chatting up an interesting stranger in your hostel.
Introverts prefer one-on-one interactions. We can go deeper with them, and they’re less tiring. If you’re alone, you get to focus all your social energy on the other person. You learn a lot about where they’re from, what they’ve experienced, and what they value. And you get to share yourself in a comfortable setting, too.
Personally, I savor the romance of privately exchanging stories with someone I’ll likely never see again. The man in Starbucks and the lifelong traveler are my secret memories.
4. Your imagination will soar.
As introverts, we spend a lot of time in our heads. Our inner worlds are rich and deep. Pair this with the possibilities of a new locale, and you can create a wonderland of imagination and reality. A hike through a national park can quickly spin into an adventure through forgotten forests. Discovering a new city is discovering a new world. A drive through country roads is an expedition to parts unknown. You can color your vacation with bold shades, enhance the experience with deeper hues.
And, no one will be around to pull you out of your dream world. With respect to the surroundings and people, you can play for as long as you’d like.
I jumped into the world of San Francisco, leaving my responsibilities and worries in a different time. I journeyed through nature and creation and found a deeper appreciation for the world than I had before.
If you feel that your regular recharge routine isn’t doing enough to restore you, an introvert vacation may be what you need. You certainly don’t have to go abroad or even across the country. A staycation or day trip can be just as restorative.
Let your introversion enhance your trip, and when you return, you may find yourself renewed.
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