Our family pet, a betta fish, is the perfect pet for me. It loves swimming by itself and needs comfortable spaces for hiding. Typical introvert, isn't it? So you can imagine my trepidation when it was decided that we would go on a week-long family vacation in Colorado with my husband's large family. Sixteen people total, mostly active, outdoorsy people. Except for me.
Let's talk about the destination. Is there any other place that invokes the idea of 'healthy, active lifestyle' more than Colorado does? Probably not. People here live to move. And eat kale and protein bars. I'm happy to be on a treadmill for 30 minutes while I munch on pork belly and crunchy peanut butter. I am certainly out of my element here and participating in all the adventure activities being planned by family members will surely kill me. It's either that or lack of oxygen due to the high altitude!
So how can someone like me, unadventurous with lots of aches and pains and who would rather recharge by being alone in her cave, survive this kind of vacation?
Here are a few tips I've learned along the way...
You can't dampen everyone's mood by simply saying you will stay home alone every time they go out. At some point, you will have to get outside and join your group. And even though you have no plans of getting bruised and broken, you need to at least dress the part. That way, you'll blend in. This also gives you some flexibility should you suddenly realize that there are some activities you can do at your destination for the day. An introvert can be a bit of a daredevil too from time to time, right? (And yes, I'm using 'daredevil' here quite loosely).
Bring a good camera or at least a phone with a good one.
If you can, be the only one in your group with a camera! You'll be an indispensable resource and your group won't fault you for wanting to stay behind while they do all the active stuff. What kind of vacation would it be, after all, if there was no one to take all those action shots, right? You're not being a kill joy. You're merely doing everyone a huge favor and sacrifice so they can post something over on Facebook and Instagram. Win-win!
Be Shamelessly Creative
You know those signs at recreation parks identifying the activity they offer at certain areas? You know, like those that would say "Ski Adventure" or "Deadly Rollercoaster"? Yes, look for those big signs and pose as if you've just done it yourself, even though in reality you just ate ice cream or funnel cake while waiting for your crew who actually dared to risk their lives. Make sure you throw in a thumbs-up or two, as well as a happy exhausted face to make it believable. Don't worry about deceiving anyone who sees your picture online. Half of what you see on social media is a lie anyway.
Don't Say No to Everything
Though you know you're low on the scale as far as risk-taking behavior is concerned, I assure you that you can't write the entire outdoors off. There are still some activities that you can certainly choose to participate in. Go for an easy hike. There are also bike rides that are great for beginners and not-so-adventurous souls. Or simply take a stroll and enjoy the magnificent views around you. I understand that staying indoors is always a tempting idea but try to remember that you can do that anytime when you're home. You already traveled a hundred miles or so. Try to make the most out of the new scenery you find yourself in because you never know what wonders can surprise you.
Carve Out Some Me Time
Even For Short Periods
It doesn't matter how big or small a group you're traveling with, introverts always need some alone time every single day. This helps us recharge, function and relate better. If you find yourself needing this while you're out, don't be afraid to walk ahead or walk behind. Try to find a quiet spot where you can also enjoy the sight, or at least pretend to. Excuse yourself and go to the restroom. Walk away to take photos of a good scenery, flower or rock. Whatever it is, just take a few minutes off from your group. They might not always understand but I guarantee they will appreciate how this can do wonders to your disposition in the long run.
Whether in vacations or life in general, there are never guarantees that you'll only be traveling with like-minded people or kindred souls. But the variety in life is what makes it all fun and enriching. Wherever you find your self in, or whoever you may be with, just be present. Enjoy it and if you're truly lucky, focus on the fact that you are traveling with the ones you love.