swim. love. travel.

my life daily

the introverted traveller

I’m quite scared to start travelling, which is ironic considering it’s the only thing I’m thinking about these days. Escaping, I mean. I want to travel for the sights but I also want to travel to meet new people. This is a rather daunting task as I’m not the type of person to strike up conversation with random strangers – especially in a large, foreign city. I don’t feel comfortable. Part of me wants nothing more than to be one of the extroverted people I see roaming the streets of Toronto – fearless, bold, and fun. Everyone wants to be around an extroverted person. Most of them are naturally hilarious. You sort of feed off of their energy.

I would describe myself to be an introvert and an extrovert – although I would land a little closer to the introvert side.

People have long noticed this about me. I remember I had a conference with my English teacher once. She said, “You’re so quiet. You need to speak up more because I know you have opinions and I think it would be nice for the rest of the class to hear them.” She then proceeded to tell me that she used to be “just like me” before she broke out of her shell. I, at that point, was too tired of people coming up to me and telling me that they thought I was quiet. So I went along with what she was saying.

Yeah, I guess I’m just too shy. I’m afraid of what people will think.

Yeah, right. As if. I’m not shy at all. I’m quite the public speaker if asked to give a speech. And I’m not afraid of what other people will think. If you’ve read my previous entries, I’m tired of caring about what other people think. I’m living my life for myself, aren’t I?

My English teacher then said, “But I see you with your friends and you’re very talkative.”

Entirely different story.

The truth is…I like being alone. Being around a group of outgoing, extroverted people just sucks all the energy out of me. They’re too much to handle – especially all at once. I need time to be with my thoughts and revitalize. It’s an important cleansing experience and process. It’s healthy to reflect on life daily. As I always say – in life, the only person you spend the longest amount of time with is yourself. You need to learn to become your own best friend. Learn to love yourself for who you are.

So I spend time with a large group of people. I socialize. I laugh. I am completely outgoing. After a while, I need to back off and be by myself.

It’s not like I haven’t tried to become an extrovert. As mentioned before, I wanted nothing more than to become one. It’s long been ingrained in my head that leaders are all extroverts. In order to be successful in life, you need to become an extrovert. So that’s exactly what I did my freshman and sophomore years. I joined everything I could – clubs, councils, and activities. It sucked all the energy out of me. It was tiring – just being around all your other fellow extroverts. I barely had time for myself. It was frustrating to say the least.

Now that I’ve quit all of those things, I feel much more comfortable. I feel healthier. I realized that joining all those clubs, councils, and activities? Not me. Not who I am.

And I’m tired of people saying there’s something wrong with me just because I’m an introvert – like my English teacher.

I read this article on the Matador Network. It was titled, “In Defense Of The Introverted Traveller” and I loved it.

I think one quote that directly sums up my feelings is said by a woman named Sophia Dembling:

This is not something I confess easily. I have long been shamed out of owning my introversion by the extroverts who dominate American culture. 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. Extroverts are unintentional bullies, demanding that everyone join their party or be considered queer, sad or stunted.


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