The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Monday, June 7, 2010

An Introverted Traveler?

Warning!!! While not travel related per se, this post is more of an attempt at my own psychological analysis of my state of mind going into this next phase of planning and preparation.

How did this come about? I’ve actually become even more reclusive and introverted in the last few months. Shouldn’t it be the opposite? Shouldn’t the fact that in less than six months I will be officially on my own, traveling the world, for over a year, be enough to make me want to be more extroverted? Apparently not.

Photo by vnduan on Flickr Set Scene: Spadina Freehouse in Saskatoon. Sun is shining, people are out milling around downtown enjoying the first real wonderful night in what seems like weeks. Inside, a group of people have gathered to celebrate Mark A.’s birthday. Laughter is abound as shots are purchased for the birthday boy, with everyone’s intentions to get him smashed. What are friends for, right?

Zoom in on Corey. At first, enjoying the time, but as more people show up, the more he draws into himself. By the end of the meal, he is quiet, zoning out, and becoming increasingly tired and short.

This made me angry afterwards. It’s not unusual for me to be the quiet observer in a group. That’s just the way I am. I love to people watch. This felt different somehow. This was, for lack of a better explanation, a resentment of having so many people I don’t know around me. Not exactly the feeling one wants to have when about to travel, by oneself. I was angry that I felt that resentment, that I allowed it to get to me so deeply, and affect me so much so that I got exhausted and left the party early. Hell, I was regretting it before I got up to leave. Not only from the look that Mark gave me when I said I was going home(I did have to work at 6:30am the next morning, but seriously. I probably could’ve stayed out past 10pm at least), but also the look and feeling I got from Daniel of either disappointment or embarassment. I’m not sure which.

Cut to this morning, talking with Jon, one of the other bellmen at the hotel I work at. Not sure how, maybe fate/destiny/God/Elvis wanted to intervene to help me feel not so alone, but Jon began to describe exactly what I was feeling and we came to a conclusion. Our lack of wanting to socialize with strangers, or even larger groups of family and friends, is a direct result of the job we do. He described going to family get-togethers and becoming angry and short with people who attempted to get him into conversations(exactly what I was getting to be at the party). All he(and I) wanted was to just be left alone. Not to have to answer questions or engage in conversations. Our job, as bellmen, has us doing that(questions, answers, and conversations with complete strangers) for our entire shift. We’ve become exhausted with that form of interaction. It has become a “I’m not at work, I don’t want to do ‘work’ stuff now" kind of thing. Socializing has become so interwoven with what I deem as my job that it’s royally fucked up my personal, outside-of-work socializing.

But now I’m at the acceptance and understanding phase. I am a huge introvert, even moreso that I was before(*grumble grumble*). Now it’s time to move to the “fix it” stage. I do not want to lose any socialization skills I do have before I leave on this trip. Although, I would imagine that regardless of how much I have left it’ll all come back in a hurry. Otherwise I’ll be in huge trouble.

So how to fix this? I haven’t given that much thought. Perhaps limiting my social gatherings to small groups of people I know. Take more naps so I’m much more refreshed for when I am going out with a lot of people(less exhaustion = no short fuse).

So yes. . . Mark, Daniel, JJ, and the others at the party(Forgive me. I forget your names), please accept my apology for my behavior.

And my question to you, dear readers in the land of Anonymous Internet Readers, how do you see yourself on the spectrum? More specifically, where do those that have not traveled yet see themselves on the introvert/extrovert scale? And, knowing where you stand, are you actively looking for experiences to fit that model, or are you looking to break out of that shell(ie// introvert – become more open, more adventurous. Extrovert – soul seek)? I’d love to know whether or not I’m the only introverted traveler in the blogosphere.

Oh, and ps, wish Mark a happy 26th birthday. He enjoys rum and is single.

Just sayin’!

Edit: Reposted to fix issue with comments not showing up.


  1. Hey Corey,

    I can understand where you are coming from. Mainly, because I am living in a Country that does not speak my language. I mind myself being more and more quiet everyday. Even simple English conversations grab my attention. I think the best way to begin to change is something that you have already done. You have recognized the issue. Secondly, I would talk to people in your life. Tell them where you are coming from, and ask them for your support. Thirdly, baby steps. Yup, baby steps. You can do it, and I don't think that you will have much of a problem during your travels.

  2. As we get closer to the departure date on our trip, I find myself closing in around just a few close friends and almost rejecting any new acquaintances. I'm a pretty social person with a large network of friends, so new people are always popping into my life. And lately I just resent it. Don't they know I'm leaving soon and want to spend all my free time with those I already love and cherish?

    It's a weird space to be in, and as we get closer to departure I find more weird things coming up like this. It's not me, but I guess it is the me that is preparing for a big adventure and the subsequent loss that goes along with it.

    Give yourself a break and don't stress too much about it. You give what you can at any given moment. No one else can understand what you're giving up to do this and how it affects you, and your close friends will cut you the slack you need, usually.

  3. Hi Corey,

    I am an extrovert and my husband is a highly sensitive extrovert. I think you are very wise to recognize due to making small talk at work all day, you no longer wish to at night. I am sure when you are traveling and spending more quiet time with yourself, you will be more open to conversation with those around you.

    When my husband spends his days with coworkers or clients talking to him all day, he barely speaks to me. When he is not working or working in solitude all day, he is much more open to conversation and connecting with me.

    If I ask him to go out when he has already been around people for the day, he has learned that laying down and closing his eyes for twenty minutes definitely rejuvinates. He read a book about highly sensitive people that has helped him a lot. When feeling overwhelmed, close your eyes. Just reducing one set of stimuli can help tremendously. Good luck. I can't wait to read about your travels! Congratulations on getting to where you are.


  4. Hello. My name is Michelle and I am an Introvert! Let us all stand together...well... maybe nearby in our own little spaces and UNITE...separately. There is nothing wrong with being an Introvert, if fact you will find many introverts in jobs that require an extrovert nature. The difference between Introverts and Extroverts is how we get and how we expend energy. I find peace and quiet times give me energy and interactions with people are draining to my energy resources. So when I decide to spend time with someone it is because I feel that they are worthy (lack of better word here) of expending my limited energy resource. Extroverts on the other hand gather energy from being around people and find being alone draining. This is a simplified description and of course there are varying degrees of introverts and extroverts. While I like being alone, I realize that a person has to foster and nuture friendships if one wants to have friends (funny how that works!) So sometimes even when I rather be alone I have to make myself socialize and not just socialize but to be in the midst of it all. Ironically, when I am nervous I either talk a lot or turtle. So most often people see me as chatty, or if I am turtling properly they can't see me at all (silent ninja turtle). So, Corey don't feel bad about being an introvert. I am one and I think your super! -Michelle Tucker Tlodge