Conversation Can Be Overrated



One of the things I’m going to enjoy most about The Camino is the chance to not have to talk that much. Don’t get me wrong, I love people, and I enjoy exchanging ideas with folks I meet. However, I’m also an introvert, and too much social interaction is emotionally and physically draining for me.

Tonight, for instance, I went to dinner with some clients whom I also consider friends. They’re fun to hang out with, and we had a great time talking about both business and personal matters over steaming bowls of pho at our favorite local Vietnamese place. But the strain of adopting a chatty, extroverted nature for a client meeting is really hard on me. I can do it; in fact, a decent subset of my acquaintances know me as a pretty outgoing person. It’s just that it takes every ounce of energy I have to be that kind of girl, and the aftereffects are sometimes major.

After dinner, my energy levels took a nosedive. I had plans to go out to a concert, but by the time I got home I knew that there was no way that could happen. I was exhausted. All that talking had worn me out for the night. The most I could do was put on pajamas and curl up on the couch.

On my walk, I’ll have hours of quiet every day, but also (hopefully, anyway) plenty of opportunities to meet new people and get to know their stories. I won’t have to pretend I’m anything other than what I am – a traveler enjoying the scenery, thinking about life, and looking forward to the next albergue. Ah, I’m feeling more relaxed already. G’nite folks!

9 Comments Add yours

  1. I can totally understand. I am an introvert too and it is exhausting to have human interaction, I think introverts are pretty good at “pretending” and it is why it’s not that easy to identify one. It’s not that we are being fake, I think it just requires more effort and more energy to meet that of a non introvert.

    1. Anna says:

      Agreed; I actually woke up worn out this morning from last night’s dinner :-/ Thanks for stopping by.

  2. lindalh says:

    I actually consider myself an extrovert and yet interacting is still exhausting. The older I get the more down time I need in between the flurry of conversations that I love in order to face another. I find I enjoy the listening part much more now and just make to ask the right questions to keep the other person talking so I can relax and take it all in. You are going to have a wonderful time on your journey.

  3. I teach English at a university and as I’m heading to class I always think, “OK, show time.” Like you I’m more of a reserved person but in a class with 10 – 18 young people, you get no reaction being reserved. So I go into extroverted, talkative mode. When class is over I’m tired. So don’t feel bad about curling up on the sofa after such an evening.

    1. Anna says:

      When I was younger, I used to feel guilty about not being able to handle a full school day, then work, then partying all night with my friends. My body could take it (back then, at least) but it was so emotionally draining. Now that I’m older, it’s a relief that my friends and family have all gotten lazier over the years. Other than business meetings, which still take a lot out of me, it feels like the world is finally greeting me on my terms!

  4. Interesting post. I’m an introvert who seems like an extrovert. I do enjoy interacting with others and am very engaged and energetic when with them, but afterwards I usually need a nap!

  5. Kendra S says:

    Hi Anna – thanks for stopping by my own blog! As an INTJ, the Camino Frances was an interesting mix for me. I certainly got to meet all sorts of people and certainly was able to walk alone when I wanted to, about 3/4 of the time. It was sometimes difficult to get the alone time as the trail is getting more and more crowded. But sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do – speed walk to avoid crowds, pretend to sleep in to avoid those who just don’t understand why you don’t want to walk with them anymore, etc. I think it was only a few rare times when i looked about and saw no one at all. If you take it all in stride and set your boundaries when you need to, you will have an awesome time. Buen Camino!!

    1. Anna says:

      Thanks for coming by 🙂 And this is exactly the kind of info I was hoping to find at some point on this pre-journey journey. Everybody’s got an opinion on sleeping bags and rain coats, but I’ve yet to see people giving their honest opinion on how to avoid (or attract) other travelers yet. I’m really looking forward to this!

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