Are You An Introverted Or Extroverted Traveler?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

This morning I sat in solace, not loneliness, over a cup of coffee clicking through e-mails, enticed by Facebook statuses and reading the worldwide news of travel. The quietness was a welcome change.

The past few days have whirled by in a frantic haze. Trying to organize life’s simplest tasks have been an obstacle with an increasingly busied schedule. Summers are all about taking advantage of daylight hours because we realize we don’t need more time, we just need more sun.

By the middle of the week — after slinging coffees, writing, going to class and spending long nights eating ice cream sandwiches in the park — I find myself exhausted. All I want to do is coil myself into a corner on my bed and sleep.

Are seemingly extroverted people supposed to feel this way? Or, am I actually introverted? An existential personality crisis ensued.

After traveling — especially through hostels — I find myself drained and in need of relaxation and rejuvenation. For days, sometimes weeks (and even months), I need to recharge my system over books and solitude. I keep my door closed.

This morning, stewing in silence, I read World Hum’s recent article, “Confession of an Introverted Traveler”. Intrigued, and made slightly self-aware, I scrolled through the article. In it, the author, Sophia Dembling, tries to point out the differences between introverted and extroverted travelers (the author is a self-proclaimed introvert). In essence, she points out that to be an introverted traveler is to “travel for the travel”; where meeting new people is not the ethos.

Reading through the comparisons, a familiar pattern began to unfold: fatigue from groups, not seeking others out, requiring “copious time alone.” Perhaps I am an introverted traveler after all.

However, while reading the traits of an extroverted traveler, I noticed that I enjoy aspects of that kind of travel as well: “political discourse with opinionated cab drivers,” feeling energized from external interaction, and I don’t think I would find it hard to be confined with 12 people for 10 days on a yacht as the author would.

Personality crisis still in play.

However, the polarity of personalities is not strictly inside me. It is considered culturally bound, too. As Dembling claims, “Extroversion has long been considered healthier than introversion, and introverts often try to push against our natural tendencies in order to fit in, to seem ‘normal’ so people will stop scolding us.”

However, where do the people in the middle fit in, the ones who dabble in both worlds? I think for some, labeling yourself as one archetype would come across as a lie, an attempt to suppress your other self.

Needless to say, my existential personality crisis — am I extroverted or introverted? — has not been subverted.

By Brit Weaver


About the Author

Toronto born and based, Brit is an avid leisure cyclist, coffee drinker and under-a-tree park-ist. She often finds herself meandering foreign cities looking for street eats to nibble, trees to climb, a patch of grass to sit on, or a small bookstore to sift through. You can find her musing life on her personal blog,

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