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Traveling as an INFJ

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Antisocial or introverted?

Have you ever wondered what makes some of us seek travel and solo experiences over others? If you’ve never taken a look at your Myers-Briggs personality type, I highly recommend doing so today. I’ve spent the last year thinking a lot about why I am the way that I am, even speaking with a therapist about how there are so many competing facets to my personality that replace one another at any given moment. So as soon as I found out more about my personality type, it all started to make sense.

Being an INFJ

INFJ means introverted, intuitive, feeling and judging, which is one of sixteen personality types recognized by psychologists. This type is recognized as 1% of the world’s total population. They’re known for strong opinions and creativity. This personality type is not usually perceived as introverted, as one may be outgoing in specific situations and friendly to strangers, but ultimately is more comfortable in smaller groups and needs alone time to recharge.

INFJs are masters of written communication, with a distinctively smooth and warm language. In addition, the sensitivity of INFJs allows them to connect to others quite easily. Their easy and pleasant communication can often mislead bystanders, who might think that the INFJ is actually an extrovert. – 16Personalities.com

So it makes sense that I would fall into a writing career, one that is notoriously solitary and self-reflective. We’re determined and passionate, so when we find something we care about, we throw our whole energy into it. Famous INFJs have included Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa, so I’m in humbling company.

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Solo at Pergamum, Turkey

Traveling as an INFJ

People frequently ask me why I travel alone. I don’t always. I’ve traveled with friends and family on many occasions, but how I travel is very different in these situations. With groups, I need time to myself to do something that I want to do and can get anxious and hard to deal with if I don’t have it. Anyone who has traveled with me can probably attest to this.

Being an introvert means I have no problem traveling alone. The social anxieties of dining alone and similar experiences don’t affect me as they do others. Give me a good book and I’m fine. But this also means that it’s harder for me to meet people when I travel. I have to push myself to introduce myself to people. I’m also uncomfortable talking about myself most of the time, so when people find out I’m a writer or blogger, I usually under explain so that it won’t seem like I’m bragging.

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What It Means

If you’ve met me, or will one day meet me, you never know if I’m going to be outgoing or standoffish. I hope you won’t interpret this as me thinking I’m too important to talk to you. I do my best to put myself out there in social situations, but it can be difficult. It’s much easier to express myself in writing, after I’ve had time to edit and evaluate everything I say, than in real life.

When I worked at a bar in Sydney, my boss ironically nicknamed me “Rowdy” because I was so quiet. But soon my co-workers found out there was much more to me. What I’ve realized about myself from this year of reflection is that I don’t need to be anyone but myself. I don’t have to force myself into situations where I know I won’t enjoy myself. Being an introvert is absolutely “normal,” if that means anything.

How does your personality type affect your travels?

Further Reading

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7 Responses to Traveling as an INFJ

  1. Alyssa January 29, 2014 at 7:23 am #

    This is the second ‘traveling as an introvert’ post I’ve read today!

    I especially related to this one because I’m INFJ too!

    I know what it’s like when being outgoing or reserved is a total surprise. People are also often shocked (SHOCKED!) to find out I’m actually super-shy.

    I’ve always been a writer as well, I find it difficult to express things verbally – I even have little love letters a wrote to the boy I had a crush on in 4th grade! ahah

    Anyhow, great post and thanks for sharing!
    Alyssa recently posted..All the Delicious Things to Eat in the Czech RepublicMy Profile

  2. Laura January 30, 2014 at 12:06 am #

    I’m an INTJ and have experienced quite a bit of this too. While I wouldn’t necessarily call myself shy, I definitely tend to be quiet and have trouble talking about myself. But being introverted is great for a solo traveler as I’m perfectly fine with spending time alone! I do struggle with meeting people when I travel, too.
    Laura recently posted..Focus on Your Budget – 2014 Self-Improvement SeriesMy Profile

  3. Nicole January 30, 2014 at 12:06 am #

    I completely resonate with many of these points, especially about it being harder to meet people when travelling.

    Many of my friends, particularly bloggers friends who are a lot more introverted than me, really don’t understand why I don’t want to attend the after party of some event or even some meetups in favour of staying home or spending some quality one-on-one time with a friend.
    As Dylan says, he needs to be around people to recharge his battery and I feel exactly the same way about not being around people.

    I do find it incredibly tough to put myself out there and meet people when I travel, and I really need to work harder on this; but on the other hand, because I do travel solo a lot, there’s also the safety concerns.
    This worry definitely stopped me talking to people when I was in Russia, along with the language barrier, because I didn’t want to stand out as a tourist and look like an easy target (I possible got a little too carried away in the whole “scary Russia”-opinions that people expressed when I mentioned where my next stop was), though I did meet one really nice girl… at KFC, haha! (Shh… no judgement. I was upset and it was the only restaurant whose name I understood :P)
    Nicole recently posted..How to Get a Russian Visa in LondonMy Profile

  4. Beverley | Pack Your Passport February 2, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

    I just did the test and got exactly the same, and it makes sense. I like seeing my friends and being social but start to feel exhausted if I’ve spent too much time around other people. I need my space and even since I was a child I’ve never had any problem with spending time on my own – when I was a teenager I’d be more than happy to read or make mix tapes in my room. I always thought people would think that was weird, but as I’ve got older I’ve realised that it’s totally OK to need time alone to think (or mostly, to feel). When I pair the INFJ personality with the fact that my starsign is Cancer (we have ALL the feelings) it totally makes sense.
    Beverley | Pack Your Passport recently posted..London: The Stories Behind The InstagramsMy Profile

  5. Maegan Brundage February 5, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

    I read this post and said, “Ditto!” after every other sentence. I especially agree with you saying that you can be perceived as either outgoing or reserved depending on the day. It’s quite the dichotomy, I’ve found. Some days during my solo travels, I go back to my hotel and realize that I haven’t spoken more than three sentences to one person all day. These are usually the coffee free days.

    Thank you for such an insightful post!
    Maegan Brundage recently posted..Adventures in Snow and CoffeeMy Profile

  6. Amit MAMGAIN September 16, 2014 at 3:34 am #

    Agree with your idea of reading a book and being OK with solo dinners. Have had many of them thinking something is seriously wrong with me.

    I recently got started with this MBTI stuffed and very much impressed by its accuracy of telling me about myself.

    thanks for the post and keep posting.

  7. Phil Walker June 24, 2016 at 6:09 am #

    It is really nice to read this and kind of reassuring. I am an INFJ too. I am a Counsellor (quite cliche for INFJ) and working on my first book.

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