She Travels

- 5 min reading time

How Can I Travel Alone but Not Feel Lonely as an Introvert?

January 2, 2024



January 2, 2024

In a world that thrives on constant social interactions, where connections are just a 'follow' away, the idea of traveling alone might seem intimidating - especially to an introverted soul, like myself. For us introverts it offers a chance to escape the noise and be immersed in solitude, to find peace of mind in the subtle beauty of solo exploration. 

But embarking on a solo journey can be a double-edged sword for us. The very reason that ignites this fire presents a paradox. Solitude might become loneliness, escaping the noise might be the encounter with noise itself. The prospect of initiating conversations, making friends on the road, and immersing oneself in the mystery of unfamiliar cultures can be daunting and scary. 

Yet, a solo journey can be an incredible opportunity for self-discovery, personal growth, and meaningful experiences. With considerate planning and an open mind, embracing and respecting our personality, solo travel allows introverted individuals to discover and even challenge their own rhythm, and foster a deeper connection with oneself and the destinations they visit.

This article serves not as a guideline but as a guiding light for solo introverted adventurers, illuminating the path ahead with insights, ideas of strategies, and inspiration to embrace solo travel with a full heart. So, dear introverted NomadHer, pack your bags and let’s together embark on this journey of introspection and resilience.

Embracing Introversion: Navigating a Solo Path in a Fast-Paced World

“Are you okay? You’re so quiet, you should talk more.”

I'm not shy, I'm not stuck, I'm just introverted. It's a normal part of being introverted to keep explaining ourselves to the fast-paced extroverted society. Sometimes it can be bothersome, but I see it as a chance to help others understand how I "operate".

Introversion is a personality trait, we usually prefer solitary activities, tend to have a greater focus on internal thoughts and emotions, and have a constant need to recharge in solitary environments. Unlike extroverts, who thrive in social settings and gain energy from interactions, introverts feel most comfortable in quieter settings and often lose energy from interactions. This difference in how introverts and extroverts interact with the world significantly impacts how we approach and experience solo travel. While extroverts might be drawn to vibrant city centers and lively social scenes, introverts tend to seek calmer or even isolated places.

Why is it important to be prepared when traveling?

Planning is our best friend as a solo female traveler! 

It is important for introverts to consider their feelings and needs when planning a solo trip. Our travel choices might be different if we’re feeling the urge to recharge and get away from the daily routine, in need of introspection and self-reflection, or if we're feeling lonely or stuck. This will help us to plan accordingly and decide whether we want to get lost in the forests or face some socialization challenges. Planning and setting our desires and wishes is essential. By organizing the itinerary (kind of meticulously sometimes), finding people with the same interests, and opting for flexible travel arrangements, it allows us to prepare our minds and adapt to our moods and energy levels during the trip. 

In my truly first solo trip, I thought I could just 'let it be' and figure out what to do day by day. It wasn’t a good choice. Every day, I was exhausted from choosing where and what to eat, where to go, how to go, and so on. I had no energy to spend with people, to work, or eat properly. I got frustrated for not being able to fully enjoy it. So I really felt the need to plan better next time; it would save me a lot of time and headache during the trip

So, if you’re thinking about embarking on a solo journey as an introvert, here are my tips:

Understand yourself and make plans for everything as much as possible. The more choices you make beforehand while you’re comfortable at home, drinking wine while watching Drama, the fewer choices you’ll need to make by the time you’re traveling. This will allow you to focus your energy on the fun parts—interacting and exploring peacefully.

Also, during the trip, if someone approaches you or you want to approach someone but you’re feeling too tired to interact, try not to deny it immediately. Mention that you are interested in what you're doing or the place you're at, but let them know you’re an introvert. Take it as an opportunity to open up. It might lead to meeting another introverted soul for a meaningful exchange of thoughts or even finding an extroverted friend who can help you out with the rest!

The Introvert's Guide to Genuine Connections

Making new friends vs expending energy

As we know already, one of the biggest challenges for introverts during solo travel is engaging in social interactions with strangers, since we mostly live inside our minds and can’t externalize our thoughts really well, we may feel too awkward by starting a conversation or even to just respond to someone. It's not about being shy, it's the struggle to find the “right” words to deal with these new people and surroundings.

Introverts usually can’t stand small talk - what for most people can be a good start, talking about the food, the weather, the drinks, the song and so on, for introverts it all unconsciously sounds somehow superficial and doesn’t seem to lead anywhere. But once we find a subject we can deeply discuss and express our thoughts, we might become the loudest person in the room. So, usually we invest our energy where we can build some kind of connection instead of just talking about anything. It’s not on purpose, but introverts measure where they’ll spend their energy: small talk is still talking, you see, so we much prefer spending energy on some interesting talking.

Something that has been helping me lately is to look for places with social activities that I’m interested in and that might make me more likely to interact with people, like fairs, sports events, one day courses and such, or even staying in a hostel for some days, that way I won't force the interaction, I just let myself flow and externalize my thoughts. By being in an environment I feel happy, comfortable and at ease, just saying “hello” to people, asking a silly question, complimenting or making a comment about something I found nice, asking for directions, anything simple, helps me approach people without feeling I’m being faced to. Even if we feel awkward later on - we may even be helping some other introvert to befriend us too! You will be surprised by what you can get from the simple things, like truly new friends for life or even a great network. 

How to Overcome Loneliness in Solo Travel

"If I love being alone, why do I feel lonely?"

Until we find someone to engage in a conversation, we need to take action and test. This is the great challenge, and in most cases, we just assume we’re introverts and embrace solitude. It can be 'dangerous,' though; there's a fine line between enjoying moments of introspection and feeling isolated from the world. We, as humans, are social animals, which means at some point we need sociability. Since we take too long to interact and meet people, sometimes it may turn into loneliness, and when we get to this point, it’s harder to be motivated and energized to get out of it.

Understanding the distinction between these two experiences is crucial for maintaining emotional well-being and making the most of the solo journey. While solitude gives a feeling of fulfillment, loneliness can creep in during moments of disconnection. Loneliness is the feeling of being alone and disconnected from others or from ourselves, even in the middle of a crowd. It can emerge when we lack meaningful connections (or at least we think we do) or when social interactions become overwhelming. During solo travel, especially in unfamiliar places, we might encounter instances of loneliness that challenge our emotional resilience.

Solo travel is not lonely travel; you are not alone! If you feel you've reached a point of loneliness where it's becoming hard to even talk to the grocery store cashier, try the easiest way and reach out to your loved ones through calls, messages, or video chats. Look for groups such as the NomadHer community and share your thoughts; shared experiences can foster a sense of community and alleviate feelings of loneliness. Most importantly, we should foster self-care, understanding that moments of loneliness are natural and transient. Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion during challenging times. It’s important to remember that these feelings will pass, and again, we are not alone.

How to Make New Friends as an Introvert?

Don’t be scared! By planning and also following our hearts, we can find harmony. I know it's not our first thought to reach out to people right away, but we must learn how to balance it and be proactive for our own good. I usually start this interaction online, where I feel more comfortable. I believe that, as soon as we start to feel the interest or even the need for social interactions, we should go look for it. NomadHer is perfect for this; we might find companionship even before traveling or while we’re on our journey. Other apps, such as Bumble, offer a friendship version in which we can match with possible friends at the place we’re at, and Instagram also can be used for this purpose - explore the hashtags and location tags.

For me, hostels are somehow overwhelming; the amount of people and things happening makes me bothered. But I know it might be important because my goal is to meet new people. I do my things as if I am alone and eventually start talking to people slowly, asking for things, commenting during the meals, and also showing I’m open to be approached. Most of the time, starting small talk makes me uncomfortable and doesn't lead anywhere, but it's a way to start, and such simple things as 'hello, are you alone too?' might make you find a great friend!

Slowly, we get used to it, believe me. As I overcame these small challenges, I got excited for the next ones - it's kind of addictive! Taking our own time, not forcing, just naturally being ourselves. Embracing these situations with openness and authenticity allows introverts to fully immerse in solo travel—where the beauty of introspection, simple interactions, and moments of solitude converge to create unforgettable memories.

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How to Manage a Solo Trip: Finding Balance and Recharging

Finding a delicate balance between exploration and recharging is important to make the most of our solo journey. While exploration feeds our sense of curiosity and adventure, it can be exhaustive, and moments of solitude provide essential opportunities to recharge our emotional and mental energy. Again, respect your own time, don’t feel forced to do what you don’t feel like doing. Streams of social interactions and external stimuli can quickly deplete one's emotional reserves. Intentionally setting aside moments for relaxation or interaction can be a good strategy to enhance the enjoyment of solo travel experiences.

My first solo trip was really important but messy. I didn't plan much and was just going with the flow, but found myself too many times lost and exhausted. Upon reflection, I realized a key aspect of better dealing with the whole solo travel experience is to schedule 'me time' and allocate moments of solitude in my itinerary. Prioritizing these moments ensured that I had the time to recharge, even if apparently I was not so tired, but I would know I was rested and ready for some new challenges. 

Gold tip: We, as women, are directly affected by our constant changes in our hormones. Introverts are more likely to isolate themselves, and the feeling of loneliness can be hard to cope with, especially during our PMS time. Take notes of your cycle and try to schedule your trips and activities accordingly, so when the PMS strikes, you rationally know everything is fine and it will pass. Also, during the period, we feel in pain and are less energized, so if you want you can schedule the "me time" during the period to rest and recharge in peace, and then come back energized after it.

Celebrating the Power of Authentic Solo Travel

Dear fellow introverted NomadHer solo travelers, as we plan and dream about our solo trips, remember this: we have a unique gift to offer the world. It’s not a problem, it’s not a default, nor a flaw. We offer peace, comfort, tranquility, calm, and reflection to people around us. We slow down the hurry in the world. We must embrace and revel in our introversion, embrace our authentic selves, talk about it, explain to people, and accept it, so others will too.

Don’t put all the pressure on your shoulders. The world is more likely to celebrate extroversion, and introverts may feel pressured to change their natural inclinations. But here's the truth: YOUR travel is YOUR realm, and there's no need to conform to other people’s expectations. It's perfectly okay to seek moments of solitude, to relish the quiet corners of the cities, and to listen to your inner voice amidst the chatter.

As we embrace our authentic selves and talk openly about how we operate, we attract like-minded souls who appreciate the depth of our personalities. These connections become the heart of our genuine adventures. Resist the urge to change who you are. I believe once we understand how we function and respect it, things start flowing better.

Embracing Solitude and Self-Discovery

Solo travel doesn't have to be scary. In fact, it's a golden opportunity to uncover our hidden talents and realize that we're more capable of interacting with people than we think! No need to rush or feel pressured; let's respect our time and challenge ourselves little by little. It not only presents us with great people and opportunities, but by feeling capable and confident, we feel better about ourselves.

Sure, we love our moments of solitude, but to avoid the sense of loneliness and frustrations for not accomplishing everything we thought we would, the best alternative is to plan things beforehand—your future self will appreciate it! As much as extroverts need to learn how to calm down and quiet their minds and bodies from time to time, we need to learn how to find that perfect balance between the joy of being alone and the thrill of social life. Well, sometimes all we need is just to find one extroverted person to carry us around so we can sit back and enjoy the food!

Introverted travelers bring a distinct lens to the solo travel experience. The sensitivity and introspection may lead to profound cultural encounters and meaningful connections. Let your introversion be your strength during your solo journey; embrace this power, the beauty of authenticity, and the joy of meaningful connections. Don't let people's opinions on how life should or should not be enjoyed dictate the way you enjoy yours.

Cheers to the magic of introverted solo travel—may we discover our true selves, make new friends, and enjoy the world, one step at a time. Let the journey begin!

Our writer :

👩 Hey there! I'm Alice Candido, a Brazilian filmmaker, photographer, and writer, and I'm really excited to start this journey with you all NomadHers!Traveling has always been my biggest aspiration, I've shaped my profession around this passion, aiming to make it an integral part of my life. It's been a few years now since I embarked on this awesome journey mainly alone, and it has brought me immense joy and fulfillment.I have a deep appreciation for solo travel. Being a chill, introverted, and creative person, I've discovered unique ways to make the most of my adventures, and it has become my greatest way to seek personal and professional growth, offering amazing opportunities for inspiration and self-discovery. And creating content about it, whether through writing or visual storytelling, for me, it's not just about sharing my knowledge and experiences—it's about igniting that inner fire of inspiration and self-reflection in others, creating an open dialogue, learning from diverse perspectives, and fostering a sense of community.

Instagram @alicceme_

More about NomadHer :

NomadHer is an app for female globetrotters to encourage solo travelling safely. NomadHer has a vision of empowering women through travelling.

To join the community of female globetrotters, you can download NomadHer App on IOS & Android. Follow NomadHer on Instagram: @nomad_her.

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