Introverts travel too, though you probably wouldn’t have guessed it based on what you see in the advertising world. Click on a travel ad and you will likely see images of crowded bars and cafes, groups of people partying on the beach or a happy couple roaming a city and meeting new people. For some of us, this sounds wonderful. For others, it might feel like a nightmare.
Extroversion is encouraged in the U.S., so it makes sense that introverts might feel a little left out in the travel department. We are social creatures, scientists say. But quiet and introspection are virtues long forgotten for many vacationers, and some travelers simply enjoy exploring a new city in solitude.
Being introverted doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Imagine lounging under a tree in Rome with a glass of wine and people watching with no conversation whatsoever. Think of hiking through the wilderness of Patagonia with nothing but the quiet hum of nature and your backpack. Or, picture yourself in a Japanese tea room sipping in solitary luxury.
Introversion has just as a many perks for travelers, and luckily, there are many hot travel spots worldwide that cater toward this style of travel. Here are a few excellent destinations tailor-made for introverts:
Hiking through some parts of the Pacific coastline in this state can make you feel as though you are the last person on earth – in a good way. You can easily grab a good book, find a cozy spot near the sand dunes, breathe in the sea air and feel the escape. For adventurers, there are mountains scattered across the western portion of the state, including the famous Mount Hood. Portland also caters to introverts with its many cafes, ample green space and numerous book stores.
This is probably the first city that comes to mind when you think of an introvert-friendly place, and the reasons why are obvious. Numerous world-class institutions like the Musee d’Orsay, the Paris Museum of Modern Art, the Carnavalet Museum and the Orangerie Museum allow visitors to soak in the best parts of French culture for hours without conversing with a soul (though you might want to avoid the crowds at the Louvre). French locals enjoy their privacy, so sitting to a nice meal alone is definitely not something that’s frowned upon like it is in the U.S. Did we mention the walking? Paris is pretty much one giant, gorgeous outdoor museum where quiet introspection is encouraged. Welcome home.
Known as the “Switzerland of Latin America,” Costa Rica disbanded its army after World War II, and has since become a travel haven for soul seekers due to its safety and isolation. Popular with backpackers, Costa Rica is surrounded by the Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, many of which encourage beachside yoga and relaxation. You won’t find many partying spring break types here. Head inland and you’ll see one of the most beautiful untouched stretches of rainforest canyon on earth for hiking and waterfalls. There are few cities in Costa Rica besides San Jose, so much of the country consists of small towns – perfect for those who would rather avoid large crowds. Need another reason to travel here? In 2012, the New Economics Foundation ranked Costa Rica as the “happiest country on earth,” according to Forbes.
It may have some of the most densely populated cities in the world, but much of Japanese culture is centered around introversion, quiet and deep thinking. Tokyo has some of the best spots for people watching, especially in the Shibuya district. You can also learn about the art of Zen at one of Kyoto’s many old-world gardens and spas. Poets and artists from across the centuries have also praised Mount Fujisan for its stunning sunrises, perfect for journaling or a quiet breakfast.
Knowing your travel needs as an introvert
Being an introvert doesn’t mean that you are shy or quiet, you just get more energy from being alone rather than from others. Solo travel can actually work wonderfully for introspective travelers. This way, you can enjoy seeing and doing the things you want to do – if you want to make a new friend, you can, but you’ll also need a quiet spot to slip away and enjoy solitude from time to time.
Choose destinations that require less talking and more thinking. You don’t always need a tour guides or crowded touristy spots to get a sense of the culture and way of life. Look for areas with plenty of places where you are actually encouraged to explore alone and roam free, such as parks, farmers markets, green space, museums, cafes, bookstores, coastline and other natural wonders.
Being introverted means you enjoy absorbing the world around you with less words. If you would rather have deep one-on-one conversations than chit-chat, have a fuller experience with travel by watching and listening and gain a lot of personal growth from being alone, then these destinations and travel ideas could be perfect for you.
Also see our 10 Travel Tips for Introverts!