Travel isn’t just for extroverted types who thrive in social situations. Shy people quite often become less shy, or shake their affliction altogether after extended travel — both traveling in their own country and abroad.
The reasons are many, but quite honestly, it’s often our surroundings and the experiences we’ve had in our surroundings that have shaped our personalities. When you force change on yourself, such as traveling far from your comfort zone, there’s nothing one can do but come out of their shell.
It goes without saying that there are different levels of shyness people out there deal with. If travel terrifies you to the point you can’t pull the trigger and even make some arrangements, there might be some self-reflection and serious studying to do first.
For the rest of the nearly 50% of North Americans who consider themselves to by shy on some level, here’s some reasons to consider setting out on an adventure as soon as you can.
1. Traveling forces you to talk to people, ask for help, learn to share more.
In essence, traveling will teach you valuable social skills that you might view as a birth-rite bestowed on extroverts, yet somehow missing from your own personality. While many a shy guy and girl have set out on their first adventure of a lifetime fearful and unsure how they’ll manage it, very few return the same person they left as. You’ll be invigorated by all the conversations and experiences you had, and hungry for your next vacation.
2. You’ll learn that shyness exists everywhere, including places you’d never imagine.
Shy people exist everywhere. One thing that’s universal is that you probably appreciate people who are like-minded and you’ll be sure to meet lots of people who want to talk to you, regardless of their individual personalities. It’s always exciting to meet people in your own country who’ve traveled far and are looking for help or a simple conversation. When you travel to somewhere new — exciting — possibly terrifying — you’ll find some of that shyness will disappear immediately — if for no other reason than the natural human survival response kicking in.
You’ll also meet some eccentric types who are eager to swap life stories with!
3. Your amazing listening skills will quickly set you apart from other travelers.
Shy people are generally good listeners, or very good at pretending to listen. This is because you’ve learned that it’s really easy to keep chatty cats talking if you can offer occasional feedback to what they’re saying — this shows interest. Extroverts often suffer from the opposite problem — not always. But, it’s far more common for extroverts to talk over people and/or simply enjoy the sound of their own voice a little (or lot) too much.
Many people will be attracted to the fact that you’re not from the same place they are, and that you have lots of questions, and the respect to stand back and listen attentively.
4. You’ll find that you can relax in your own skin in places where shyness isn’t considered a negative.
There’s lots of places where being shy or introverted doesn’t automatically make people view you as ignorant, or a potential serial killer to be avoided. This type of dogmatic belief is largely North American. Southeast Asia, Japan, Russia — there are so many places you can go and just experience new surroundings without being treated like a social pariah.
Do keep in mind, however, that if you’re looking purely to get out of your skin and meet lots of people, you may want to consider more extroverted locales, such as those big on pub life, clubbing, and public festivals.
5. You’ll have less reasons to be shy when you return home.
Think of all the stories you’ll be able to tell when you get back. Shy folks are often plagued by an inexplicable lack of the ability to think of what to say to people. Most everyone loves to talk travel, even when they have no interest in traveling themselves.
Perhaps you’ll find a new home along your journey. For instance, finding a place in the world where you feel you belong more, or meeting the love of your life and deciding you want to be wherever they are for the rest of your life!
Never let shyness get in the way of what you truly want. Life’s too short, no matter how scary it may seem at first.
Main Image Credit: Alessandra Celauro/Flickr