I regularly stumble across articles about why travel is not just a fun experience, but actually beneficial to people as human beings. Reasons such as broadened horizons, deeper cultural understanding, and developing greater empathy tend to crop up on those lists. In fact, we wrote one of our own.
But travel is also great for many reasons that might not be readily apparent. Especially for introverted travelers.
I know, I know.
If you’re an introvert, though it’s not like you hate people, you’d likely rather cut your own fingers off with a rusty saw than spend the night in a crowded hostel. Maybe the idea of joining a group tour sounds less appealing than a bout of salmonella. Maybe you’re a proud introvert whose idea of a perfect night involves not leaving the house or, you know, talking to anyone.
No worries. Here are 10 reasons travel is surprisingly awesome for introverts:
1. It’s a perfect excuse not to answer your phone.
Once you leave the country, the cost of using your phone to call or text skyrockets. In some remote destinations, phone service might not be available at all. While that thought might cause an extrovert to experience heart palpitations, it’s great news for introverts. Turn that baby on airplane mode and live in blissful quietude.
2. You can decline social invitations.
Being out of town is a rock-solid justification for turning down social invitations at home. That awkward work social with people who share your hatred of excel spreadsheets and nothing else? That wedding shower for a bride who registered for pickle forks that cost more than your first car? Sorry, I guess you can’t make it.
3. Social awkwardness is totally excusable.
At home, you’re kind of supposed to understand what to do or say in various social situations. If someone’s dog dies, you should know whether sending a card is necessary or if a sympathetic text will do. Or if you go to a party, calculating how long you actually have to stay can be difficult. But abroad, social blunders can be chalked up to cultural differences. So you’re basically off the hook.
4. You can take advantage of the language barrier.
When you travel, you often end up in destinations where you don’t know the local language. And while the language barrier can be frustrating at times (like when you need to find a bathroom or when ordering lunch becomes a game of Russian roulette), an added benefit is that you’re totally excused from participating in any of the conversations happening around you.
5. Jet lag.
While jet lag is something most travelers dread (I mean, the whole messed up internal clock, sketchy stomach, and all around blah feeling is a bit of a drag), it actually has a pretty solid silver lining for introverts. For one, jet lag usually involves being awake at unusual hours. In many cases, this means you can explore the city without having to battle crowds. Jet lag is also a perfect excuse to spend the day curled up in bed with a good book. Which everyone knows is actually the best way to spend a day anyway.
6. You won’t run into people you know.
We’ve all been there. You dart out of the house with unwashed hair and no makeup to run a quick errand and somehow end up running into every person you’ve ever met. What started out as a quick outing to pick up toothpaste becomes a morning full of awkward small-talk and internal weeping that you didn’t bother to wear something more presentable, like pants that aren’t elasticized. Or, you know, deodorant.
Luckily, when you’re in a foreign country, the odds of accidentally running into someone you know is slim to none. So go ahead and rock that second (or third!) day hair, because you won’t ever see those people again.
7. Blissfully free of social obligations.
At home, avoiding socialization is more or less impossible. You have to go to your great aunt’s birthday party, or that mandatory work social, or your neighbors’ barbeque. Try as you might to carve out a nice Saturday at home, every weekend ends up filling up with social obligations you’re less-than-thrilled about attending. But when you travel, you are free to structure your days however you please. And that doesn’t have to involve speaking to other humans.
8. Travel makes you look way cooler than you actually are.
Even people who don’t travel are typically impressed by people who do. So when you post a string of pictures of yourself in super exotic locations doing awesome stuff (like zip-lining through the Central American rainforest or riding in a Venetian gondola), people tend to think of you as kind of cool (or at least not totally pathetic).
Of course, what they don’t know is that you spend lots of evenings at home alone eating pizza and watching Netflix while desperately hoping you don’t get invited to anything.
9. No one comes to the door.
When someone rings my doorbell at home, I immediately assume the person is an ax murderer. Or at least a traveling vacuum salesman. Because who in their right mind would willingly go to someone else’s house—uninvited—and disturb their perfectly peaceful evening? But when traveling, the only people who knock on your door are typically carrying your breakfast tray. Bliss.
10. People start to assume you’ll be out of town.
After you’ve declined someone’s dinner invitation for the third time because you’re going to be out of town (again!), they tend to stop inviting you. And while extroverts might be upset at the thought of receiving fewer social invitations, introverts see it as a gift from heaven.
What are your favorite reasons to travel?
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