la joie de vivre

From California to Lyon, France: living & studying abroad…and coming back!

Introversion, Travel, and Energy

Now that I’m back in the States, I have some time to reflect! :) One of the strange things I had to deal with was coming to terms with this:

It’s no secret that I’m an introvert.

I definitely knew that way before this year, but it has caused some weird, unforeseen hiccups in traveling.

Big social events get me really tired, and I prefer to spend a Friday evening with one or two good friends rather than a big group of people. Honestly I think this is one of the reasons why I was so tired last year when I worked in student government – I had to be around big groups A LOT, and it was draining (incredibly fun, but incredibly draining!)

But it’s also no secret that America favors extroversion: socializing, smiling, going from place to place is the American–and college kid–stereotype.

Just look at an image search of “extroversion” and then “introversion”, and you’ll see what I mean!

It’s not like we don’t like socializing and being around others; our idea of “moderation” of these things is just a lot different than our extroverted friends. And introversion doesn’t necessarily mean shyness. I’m an introvert, and I’m not shy when it comes to meeting new people…Well, usually!

And introversion doesn’t mean being alone and sad, either!

Extroverts draw energy more from external (especially positive and novel) stimuli (J Brebner, 1978) –this has been found to be genetically linked and biologically linked to the brain’s responses to such stimuli (T Canli et. al, 2001)–and introverts draw their energy from internal stimuli. Basically, that means that after an afternoon of hanging out with a group of people, I NEED to go back to a quiet space and just have time to myself (or time to nap) to recharge my batteries. Too much noise and too many people (no matter how super fantastic they are) get me tired real fast.

So how does that relate to travel?

I don’t fit the typical mold of tourism that tells us to go everywhere, see everything, meet a bunch of locals, go out to the local bar, etc.

And I used to feel bad about it at first, but my travel abroad experiences have helped me understand myself and my place the world.

I usually limit my vacation to about 3 days, because after that I just get very overwhelmed (and very tired!)

So here’s what I tell myself:

Know and accept when you’re tired, then get some rest in a quiet place.

Try not to cram too many of the typical tourists things in at once. If it’s going to be a long trip, definitely take half-days off to just relax even if it means you won’t get to see everything on the “Must-Do” list.

And try to enjoy yourself – it is a vacation, after all! :)

Picture Credits:
sleeping kid (, ocean (, reading (


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This entry was posted on June 3, 2012 by in General, Travel.
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