As an introvert, solo travel sounds like a dream and it truly is. You don’t have to ask anyone else’s opinion on what to see, what to do, or what to eat. You are free to travel anywhere, see anything, and eat whatever the hell you want. Yet, even the most introverted traveler can still find times when they long for actual contact with people. As a traveling introvert, travel has made it easier for me to come out of my shell when I am in the mood to socialize and meet people. As a traveling introvert, I also know that I still need plenty of time to restore and renew myself alone. Here are a few tips from an introvert for introverts on how you can successfully travel as an introvert and balance your need for both people time and alone time.
If you’re in the mood to socialize, Meetups are a perfect way to “people”. Meetup is an online social networking platform that allows you to find groups and activities wherever you are. You can join groups based on interests ranging from dance, yoga, book clubs, and travel. When I lived in Shanghai, I joined Meetup and found tons of awesome activities. Through Meetup, I joined a DIY group that taught workshops like screen-printing and soap-making, a travel group that put together cool adventures like climbing the Great Wall and rock climbing, and a yoga group that had weekly classes and monthly yoga retreats. Meetups are a great way to meet people, especially if you’re living in a foreign country for an extended period of time.
One of my favorite introverted activities is to wander around bookshops and cafés, and just linger amidst the smell of books and coffee. When I lived in Shanghai, I would roam around the city in search of English language book shops and buy as many books as I could carry. I also savored moments at my neighborhood café where I would sit with a sweet potato latte and just write and read. Cafés are great places for people watching if you’re in the mood to be around people, but not in the mood to really socialize.
Join a Gym or Fitness Classes
Exercise and fitness classes are a great way to meet people. In Shanghai, I joined a capoeira class and found a nice social atmosphere with plenty of expats. In Shanghai, I also took yoga and barre classes and found friendly, supportive atmospheres to get my social quota as well as my fitness quota in for the day. It’s always better to exercise with a buddy, so find a gym buddy or barre class buddy and go out for green smoothies after you’ve finished your sweat fest.
Go Vintage Clothes Shopping
This is a fun introverted activity, although you can always invite a buddy if you’re feeling extra social. In Belgium, I loved hunting through the cities awesome thrift shops and vintage shops in search for vintage dresses and jewelry. In Shanghai, I also enjoyed making the rounds through the cities vintage shops and boutiques in the French Concession. It’s a fun activity that can be super relaxing and perfect for introverting.
Join Tinder or OK Cupid
If you’re single get ready to mingle! As an introvert, I prefer more intimate social experiences rather than socializing in huge groups. Dating apps are a fun way to meet people one-on-one and you can control how you want the experience to go. You can also meet locals who know more about the hidden gems of the city you’re visiting. In Belgium, a date took me on an abridged tour of the best bars of Brussels. In Shanghai, a date took me to the best Mexican restaurant in the city. Dating apps also make for good travel stories, so don’t be shy, join a dating app and get ready to swipe.