As a traveler, I find myself challenged in a situation that disturbs my inner being with our current situation. Yet the inner part of me, that is an introvert at heart, delights at the opportunity to find myself in these trivial times. Where are you when you find yourself separated from traveling the world? Do you feel afraid from the current situation? Or do you feel excited to revitalize yourself? Or have you even taken some time to think about how you are reacting to the change in the world at the moment?
I started traveling at a young age with my grandparents. They brought a mindset to me that I would have never thought of. The thought of travel around the country was almost non existent as a child. As a young person from a small town in the upper penninsula of Michigan, I never thought of traveling the world and learning about different cultures. I thought only of the small circumference that I lived in. The people in my small town that I met with day in, day out. The friends that I biked across hills with. The small town stores that we visited to get penny candy from. This was the way we lived and the comfort that we had.
As I traveled with my grandparents, I opened my mind. I learned who I was as a person and broke away from the small town I lived in. I wanted more, and I pushed for more. I said to myself at a young age that I wanted to learn more about the world.
I moved to the center of Michigan. A town I felt was much larger than I could ever imagine at the time. I moved to Mt. Pleasant, a college/casino town. A decent amount of the population was only there, while college was in session. During the summer, it felt somewhat deserted. Only “townees” (as we would be called) and small amounts of people taking summer classes. Either way, it opened my mind with a little bit bigger understanding of the world outside of the Upper Peninsula.
As I started to gain my wings, I branched further. I decided that I continued to want more. I wanted to get out of Michigan. I wanted to live for more. I decided to take a leap of faith and move to Florida. As I packed everything I owned into my car and wished my friends and family goodbye, I moved on to my next endeavor in life. I took my car on a wild ride for 26 hours down towards Florida. With only stops to get fuel for my car, I felt free. I felt a feeling that I had never had felt before. I felt an itch for more in life.
After several years in Florida and many amazing relationships later, I decided I needed to continue my journey. When the time was right and the job was there, I moved across the country to California. The state of liberal mindsets and views closer to my soul. My love of travel continued to motivate me to something more.
As I’ve moved throughout California to several locations throughout the Central Valley and the east bay, I found myself learning the true beauty of the state. Whether staring up at the gigantic redwood trees in Northern California or hovering over the beautiful Yosemite Valley, there was so much to see and do. Wine country, hiking up to the Hollywood sign, whale watching in Monterey and so much more. It really is a dream for any nature lover.
As I gained funds and moved on in my career, I branched even further. Starting with a trip to Europe for the first time. London, Paris to Amsterdam anyone? My mind continued to want more. The love of meeting new people and learning of their journey was more enticing than ever. Learning how Europeans lived as opposed to Americans set me on a whole new level. The love of football, to an afternoon tea or sitting for hours finishing a dinner, pushed me even further.
Several trips to Europe later, my mind started to spin, what had I been missing my whole life? I had no idea of the world I was living in. My adolescence self would have stared at me in awe as I traveled across Europe to stare up at the Roman Coliseum, the Parthenon or the Berlin Wall. Could I ever have imagined the fortunate times that I have been in? Would I ever have dreamed of the possibilities of experiencing the cultures that I have?
As my mind got wild with possibilities, I started to think, where to next? Every year can be just as enticing. Europe had been pretty well traveled, so we take on Asia next or maybe move towards Africa to see the migrations across the savannah? Anticipation grew high as I entered into 2020.
The world as I knew it collapsed.
2020 with the heartbreak we’ve had has been a challenge for everyone. The pandemic has struck us down to our inner core. Travelers have stopped wondering about their next itinerary. People have even questioned leaving their homes for food. The world is riddled with experiences that we never thought could imagine.
It brings me back to my introvert self. I’ve always gained my energy from being alone. Those who know me, probably automatically assume that I am an extrovert. My outgoing personality that instantly finds a way to connect with people in any way possible. The taxi driver as we go from one destination to the next, or the tour guide explaining the coliseum to us, as we take our minds back to ancient times. It’s not me. I’m not the one that gains energy from these situations. It’s a passion of mine to learn about different cultures and the people around me. It doesn’t mean that I am an extrovert. I gain my inner energy from sitting by myself and contemplating my next step in life. Often on trips to other places, I get up early morning before the city wakes, just to take photos and enjoy some recharging time before jumping into the day. Sleep? I’ve never been a huge component with oversleeping on holiday. The morning gives me time to be an introvert, so I can come out of my shell a bit more during the day. Recently I have discovered there is also a term called an ambivert. This is a person that has both introvert and extrovert qualities depending on the situation. If I call myself an ambivert, would anyone really understand what I’m even talking about?
2020, a perfect world for an introvert (or ambivert for that matter)? Maybe, but not completely. It’s given me more time to look upon my life and reflect. It’s given me more time to make stronger relationships. It’s given me more time for my mind to navigate it’s way through this experience at our finger tips. What does an introvert do when given an opportunity to take more time away from the world? They create a blog of course! With travel curbside for now, my time of self reflection has give me time to think through something that I had been wanting to do for a while now. I’ve always wanted to sit down and start writing about my travel and share my experiences with the world. Part of me kept pushing it off because I wanted to get out and travel even more! I’ve seen many friends during this time, find themselves in a way that I never would have thought of. It’s challenged us all a little bit more to be resilient.
I would have kept going on high gear, traveling the world at full speed. Finding every spot possible to visit, to bring a sense of belonging in this world that we all want to feel. While my traveling friends stop and feel the pain of being grounded for the time being, they should look within and listen to their minds. Your mind is telling you to reflect on your travel and what you’ve taken in over the years. Reflect on what’s important in your life. 2020 may be a pain to deal with, but be glad it’s here to show you truly what you have in life. Maybe we all just need to be a bit more introverted in this crazy 2020 world. Is this the year of the ambivert? Safe travels will happen soon enough, just enjoy the ride through your mind at the moment. Your introvert self will thank you.