Why you should care
Because seeing the world is awesome … when nobody else is bugging you.
Some stereotypes transcend cultures — like that of the antisocial awkward introvert. Hey, some people just want to be alone, and that’s OK, right? But this perception reveals a great deal of ignorance toward the true nature of introversion, and introvert activist Lisa Avebury is battling to change that. She’s even created a travel company specifically for introverts, letting them roam the world — without enduring those awkward mealtime conversations.
“In the dictionary, the definition [of introvert] is ‘a shy person’ and I’m not shy,” Avebury tells OZY. Indeed, her tone is bubbly and upbeat, and her enthusiasm borders on grating to my caffeine-deprived nerves. She finds the misconception that introverts just read and stay at home frustrating, and hopes that Sacred Introverts, her travel company for the socially disinclined, will give them the adventures they crave, minus any forced group bonding. The inaugural Sacred Introverts trip is a 10-day excursion to Glastonbury, England — a place Avebury finds calming — this spring. Every participant gets a private room, of course. And there’s no single supplement charge.
No awkward breakfast chitchat. Just contemplative, calm people avoiding “Isn’t the weather nice?” small talk.
“The spaces are set up for an inward journey,” Avebury says. So far, 14 people have signed up for the tour; she plans to keep the number at around 20. On offer: daily yoga lessons and workshops, all of which are strictly voluntary — people can choose to partake, but there’s no pressure. And, Avebury says, there’s no obligation to talk. This translates to no awkward breakfast chitchat. Just contemplative, calm people roaming the bed-and-breakfast, avoiding inane “Isn’t the weather nice?” small talk.
A great idea for solo sojourners looking for the benefits of a group tour, but at $3,795, not including airfare, it’s not cheap. And if you’re of the let’s-all-be-friends, chummy persuasion, best stick with the usual group package trips.
Avebury, who doesn’t seem like an introvert on paper, either, grew up in NYC, lives in LA and is a regular speaker on the introvert activist scene, trying to change the public perception of the personality type. She explains that introverts do like being around other people, they just need some quiet time to check out from the world. Psychologist and personality expert Donna Dunning,Ph.D., agrees, explaining that when interacting with others, every introvert is extrovert in personality — it’s about who finds it easier (extroverts) and who finds it more difficult (introverts). But she says that Sacred Introverts should be open to everyone. “If you’re looking for solitude, you shouldn’t have to pass a test,” she tells OZY. (Note: No test is required.) Dunning is concerned that labeling the retreat as one for introverts could lead to more stereotyping, although she acknowledges the comfort that introverts would appreciate on the trip, such as nobody interrupting one another.
Guilt-free solitude on a holiday with no social pressures — sounds kinda nice, doesn’t it? Now leave me alone.