The Thoughts of a Travel Ambivert

Ambivert travelers

Most people would never consider me an introvert. And I’m not. But I don’t think I am an extrovert either. If I had to classify myself, I’m a thoughtful extrovert. Or an ambivert traveler– a combination of both. I’m just as comfortable in a crowd or alone in the space between my ears.

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The Thoughtful Extrovert
What is an Ambivert Traveler?

An ambivert traveler is a more observant traveler. Oh no. Somehow my right hand stopped working. The deadline is quickly approaching. And I have to write this blog post with my left hand. I can do it, but I can’t zip through it without concentrating on every single stroke, making sure it makes sure I understand my own handwriting and it isn’t too extra.

And that’ how I am when I travel too. I’m usually at a disadvantage because it’s not my culture. However, I don’t want to rush through and just tick the box. I want to understand, to be able to not only describe but emote what I see. So I must be bold enough to ask the questions. But patient enough to wait and listen for the answers.

Talk is Not Cheap

I love to talk about it. My friends say I’ll talk to anyone. And as a writer, I confess it’s the best way to develop characters, plots and ignite my imagination. People are so fascinating. And people from different cultures add a spin on what I know from my own life.

I’ve found myself stewing over the words spoken in my head hours, days, even weeks after the conversation ended. I wonder if I came across the way I hoped. Did I ask questions that the other person found interesting? Did I do my part in dispelling any old prejudices or misinformation about black people or Americans in general? Had I gained any insight into the people, places, and foods that were real?

Increased Patience

One example of this was on a trip to Croatia. A group of young boys greeted us with “hey ni@@as”. My girlfriend’s first reaction was to “stomp somebody”. But there was something about the way they said it, that told me they weren’t being malicious. They sang it like they had heard it in a rap song or Yo MTV Raps. Instead, I saw it as a teaching moment. It was later confirmed that we were the first black people they ever saw. And that was how they thought we talked to one another.

I am a more observant traveler. Now I’m not so naive to think a singular interaction with me is enough to erase prejudice. But if posing for a few photos. If letting strangers fondle my twist or engage in a brief conversation opens up an opportunity to re-direct predisposed thoughts, I’m willing to try.

Canned Experiences

Follow your instincts if your itinerary. I no longer have the time or energy for wholesale travel experiences. Travel should not check the box experiences. I want to peel back the onion slowly, constructively so I can understand the place better. I don’t want to be a bull in a china shop and leave a trail of dust behind me as I travel.

Some people travel like fireworks– starting as a ball of fire and ending up in a puff of smoke. Travel can be stressful enough without the added unpleasantries of Ugly Americanism.

Broadcasting

I find the more insight I gain while traveling, the less I need to broadcast my feelings on social media. Sure, I still post on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However, I am just a little more selective about what I share. Social media is a means to an end and not the end. If you let it, travel makes you introspective. It will literally open your eyes to a whole new world of possibilities. And some people just aren’t ready for that yet.

Representation

There is a heightened sense of awareness when people of color travel. We may be perceived differently because many foreigners’ have only seen us on TV, where black characters can be stereotyped. They see the drug dealer, angry black woman or rapper/ dancer/singer, slave, or servant. And the way they interact with us can reflect that.

As a black woman, I have a different take on travel. My husband and I are more conscious of our behavior when we travel. He tends to over-tip and I tend to share a lot. And we both do it in a way not to be the center of attention.

The Contemplative Me

I have never been one for religion. But the more I travel the more contemplative and observant traveler I have become. The thoughtful ambivert finds peace in the churches, temples, and mosques. I seek out quiet spaces. Places where I can be alone with my thoughts, a glass of wine, and my journal. My journeys are centered around the 5 senses– trying to build on the things that I am passionate about. The purpose. To find the things that move me emotionally, in one direction or the other.

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Comments

  1. Nicole

    I haven’t really heard of ambivert before, but it definitely sounds like me, especially the talking! I’ll have to look more into it, thanks for sharing!

  2. Surekha Busa

    First time to heard that word an ambivert and after knowing the meaning of this word I can say that it just like me. Good for you that you always have time exploring different places and knowing their cultures.

  3. Preet

    Such a wonderful place to take a wonderful vacation. It’s so really nice ambiance to spend with family and loved ones.

  4. Karolina

    Hey there:) I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what travel does to you. It does it to me too. The overall mindful approach stays with us long after the travel. It builds us<3

  5. Danielle

    I enjoyed reading this and learning a little bit more about you. I like your take on traveling and how it relates to your own life. I too think that humans are absolutely fascinating by the way!

  6. Ladonna Batiste

    I enjoyed reading your post and hearing about your travels. You are great at making conversations with others and that is a great gift to have. You taught me something new regarding being an ambivert.

  7. Kelli A

    I’ve never thought about what type of traveler I am, but i love how you handled the situation with the boys! You created a ripple in their perception! <3

  8. Catherine Santiago Jose

    I have never been there before but that place looks really a nice destination to go.
    As far as I know myself, I am an introvert and extrovert and that is why other people don’t like me. Hahaha!

  9. Monidipa Dutta

    Very well written. In this context i would just say Mateo Sol described ambiverts as “… the neutral, middle-ground hippies …

  10. Gladys Parker

    I can be so unknowing about things of this world. I didn’t know there was a country where so few black people lived that some people had never met a black person. This is 2018! The way you submerge yourself in your travels sounds like you get the full experience, I think I’d love to do it that way.

  11. Athena

    I love this post especially reading about your patience with other cultures you interact with. We are all so incredibly diverse and meanings can easily get lost in experiences.

  12. Annette, 3 Little Buttons

    I’ve not heard of travel ambivert before either. You do come across as being a thoughtful traveller though. I completely agree that it’s so much more rewarding to take our time and discover a place, rather than just zipping through quickly.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      I don’t know where I heard the term ambivert but it seemed relevant to me. I started researching hand gestures around the world and it seemed a logical place to start. I’ve always wanted to write with both hands. And I’ve decided to write about things that interest me more and just stuff trending.

  13. Stacie

    I really loved this post. I’ve never heard of an ambivert before. I think it must be hard to love to talk and to then agonize later over every word you spoke.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Always– replying conversations in your head. Gateway I love taking pictures. They help you remember the details–colors, pattern, etc so you can concentrate on the words, face and the moment.

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