HOW TO ADVENTURE WITH A GROUP AS AN INTROVERT
Authored by Jenn Buntin
January 1, 2020
Hi! I’m Jenn and my happiest place is in a comfortable chair, with a beautiful view, a breeze, and a good book. I’m an introvert. I’m not shy, though I am prone to getting “peopled out” if I haven’t taken care of myself. I’ve come to thrive in my introversion, even while adventuring. I’ll go on my fourth Live Alive Adventure this February, and in my travels and adventures, I’ve developed a few strategies for maximizing fun while supporting and taking care of myself.
First things first, if you’re feeling guilty or “shoulding” all over yourself about how you should be extroverted, should want to hang out late night by the pool, or will never have any fun again if you don’t do all the things with all the people… STOP IT. Right now. (I know, it’s easier said than done) Shoulding yourself isn’t useful and takes away from the experiences you’re having. You are unique and perfect just as you are; the world won’t end and you’ll still make friends, even when you aren’t having every available experience.
I find it useful to communicate my introversion and tendency toward overwhelm to someone; my husband already knows, and is always ready to run interference (family holidays, anyone?). When he’s not traveling with me, I make sure to tell the people I’m most frequently interacting with: coworkers, roommates, Live Alive facilitators. This way my roommate isn’t expecting late night chats, and these folks know I’m not upset when I’m not being talkative or choose to sequester myself in the aforementioned comfy chair with my kindle.
Know what’s necessary for you to function as your best self. For me, this is at least 8 hours of sleep (and an afternoon nap) and an hour or two by myself with a good book. Perhaps you need music, or meditating, or getting enough breakfast – know what works for you and carve out that time! This might mean you miss sunrise yoga, and for me, it means I can more fully participate in and enjoy other experiences.
Even when you know what works, you may need to find alone time in the midst of others. By communicating to others, I’ve been able to find the space to myself on 14 hour bus rides (noise cancelling headphones and a good book) and hikes with 20 other people (find the middle of the pack and let the group string out ahead of you).
Be willing to say no to what doesn’t serve you. Is there an optional excursion, opt out! Are you pooped after a long day at a vineyard? You don’t have to go to after dinner drinks or to expat night at the bar.
Consider whether you’re saying no out of habit, or out of a fear of discomfort. Say yes to things outside your comfort zone! Take a late night walk to see the stars, scale the side of a mountain, share a tipi with a new friend, gain a reputation as an excellent Heads Up team member on long bus rides. Life is happening all around us, and adventure is happening outside your comfort zone. I’d never plan a strenuous and dangerous hike on my own vacation, and I’m sure as heck glad to have Amara and Live Alive Adventures to push me to new heights (literally).
All this isn’t to say I’m a hermit in the midst of group adventuring; I’ve found my place and been open to the new experiences and people around me, while still protecting my inner introverted self. Growth happens with you’re in the midst of discomfort, and sometimes that discomfort is a six course dinner with 24 of your new friends all talking at the same time; other times that discomfort comes on the way to the top of Angels Landing when you’re not sure your legs will make it to the top, and you know that with the quiet strength of your mind and support from others, your mental toughness will overpower that big, steep hunk of rock.
Blogging Adventurer: Jenn Buntin
Jenn is married to Peter, who doesn’t mind when she adventures off alone, and dog mom to Padfoot and Lily. She’s a manager of warehouses and people by day, and a 200 hour certified yoga teacher. She’s traveled with Live Alive Adventures to Northern India, Zion National Park, and The Dolomites, and is excitedly looking forward to Live Alive Panama 2020. Jenn’s visited 5 continents and 17 countries; Cinque Terre has been her favorite place on earth since her first visit while studying abroad in 2007. The three things she can’t live without on a plane are a Kindle Paperwhite, Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones, and GLAMGLOW Thirstymud Hydrating Mask.