This past trip to Spain I found myself in moments when I felt surprisingly lonely. As an introvert I cherish time alone, but too much time with myself can easily transform solitude into loneliness.
It’s hard to find a balance and I realized that as much as I craved being alone, I also longed for social interaction. There were moments when I wished I had someone to share a meal with or a scenic view.
From this recent trip, I have learned that sometimes you have to create opportunities to be social that will ease the feeling of loneliness, but at the same time not overwhelm you as a travel introvert.
Unexpectedly staying in a hostel in Barcelona was one of the best remedies for my introverted nature. The hostel which felt more like a home than a college dorm helped me have the interaction that I needed, but also at the same time allowed me to have privacy that was necessary to recharge. I was lucky to have one other roommate that I got along with well and the en suite bathroom didn’t hurt. The hostel staff provided a huge safety net for me, to not only recommend places to see, but also to make sure I was comfortable and settled in.
In contrast, for the rest of my trip I stayed in large hotels and felt quite isolated, even through there were many other guests around me at all times. During my stay in Lloret De Mar, I missed the hostel atmosphere and weirdly feel homesick for my time in Barcelona a few days before.
Travel is not always easily; it can often be disorienting, physically and mentally challenging and frustrating to say the least. It can also be incredibly eye-opening and human interaction is a huge contributor to having a fulfilling journey.
Having an introverted nature is not just about creating time to be alone, but also about finding a balance between being social and solitary. It is about paying attention to your needs and not pushing yourself if you are jet-lagged or overwhelmed. It is also about pushing yourself to find social outlets to meet others and connect, whether it’s by booking a private room in a low-key hostel or finding the courage to attend a meet-up group like Travel Massive (which I highly recommend). Most importantly it’s about learning from your mistakes on the road and moving forward without looking back.