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When an Introvert Takes a Family Vacation

07 Jul

bennis beach family vacation

The last week of June, we took a lovely family vacation to North Carolina where we enjoyed a week of fun in the sun with my parents, two sisters, their husbands and two toddlers. It was a full house! I wouldn’t trade these memories for anything in the world. However, this week was a reminder to me that I am, indeed, an introvert.

I wrote about this realization some time ago and many people who know me still find it difficult to believe that I’m not an extrovert. While my friendly personality and passion for external communications may be misleading, I am an most certainly and “I.” And when I spend a long period of time around a large group of people, like during my family vacation, I realize just how uniquely challenging this personality type can be.

The first challenge was finding alone time to recharge. As an introvert, I gain energy from being alone. In a single beach house with eight adults and two toddlers, alone time might have been the only luxury this fabulous vacation lacked. The beach was private and during the day the house was mostly empty, but the real challenge was my own internal conflict between wanting to spend every moment with family and needing to recharge with some solo time.

This relates to my second challenge of feeling guilty for not having the same desire to be as active and involved as everyone else. My husband, the living definition of extrovert, enjoyed every beach activity imaginable. From morning runs to afternoon kayaking to evening walks, he never seemed to lose energy and was always open to an invitation to do more. I still took part in many of these activities, but mostly because I felt like I should in order to fully enjoy the vacation.

The truth is everyone is allowed to make their vacation into whatever they want. No one was forcing me to live at high speed, except for me. It was a self-inflicted pressure based upon my assumption that my wants and needs should be the same as everyone else’s. Lesson learned!

The final challenge I faced was once we were finally home. Not only am I an introvert, but I am also very Type A. I savored every moment of unpacking and getting things back to their clean and organized state. After that long day of travel and an even longer week spent with so many others, I was exhausted! I needed a vacation after vacation. While most people are sad to return home (and don’t get me wrong, I still was), I was equally as happy to return to the comfort of my daily routine and highly-prioritized alone time.

Maybe the biggest struggle of all for any introvert is dispelling the misconception that our need for alone time means we don’t like spending time with the ones we love or doing the things we love. Not at all. We simply require more downtown to recharge.

As I sit here writing this reflection alone and with a fully charged inner battery, I couldn’t be more grateful for my week with family  – because it doesn’t happen nearly enough! While this ever-growing family vacation pushed me outside my comfort zone, the reward was memories that I will cherish for a lifetime. Take a look…

bennis beach family vacation

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bennis beach family vacation

Whether you consider yourself to be an introvert or extrovert, what are your biggest challenges or discomforts when it comes to taking a vacation? Share your thoughts by commenting below!

 

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9 Comments

Posted by on July 7, 2014 in Life

 

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9 responses to “When an Introvert Takes a Family Vacation

  1. puja

    July 7, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Thanks for posting this! I feel the same way on family vacations – – not really a vacation and I need a vacation from my vacation. And, I feel the same regrets about family time. I read somewhere that, if you work outside the home, you should always take the first day back from vacation off. I should have done that today! – Puja.

     
    • Stephanie Shirley

      July 7, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      Hey Puja–so glad some other people can relate! It’s a tough situation to navigate…and yes, the feeling of guilt. I think I lucked out with coming back right before the Fourth of July. The short week and long weekend gave me some time to relax in a very introverted way 🙂

       
  2. EsseRealis

    July 7, 2014 at 11:26 am

    ahhh, time alone- the restoration of an introvert- I so connected with what you are saying here. I love people, but when I am drained, time away in solitude is what I long for- great insight in your post!

     
    • Stephanie Shirley

      July 7, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      Thanks for your comment and I’m really encouraged to hear that there are others out there that can connect to this feeling. I’m not making it up! I continue to learn to appreciate that everyone energizes and relaxes in different ways – and we need to be more understanding of that.

       
  3. MoniqueM

    November 23, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    I have truly loved reading about your discovery of yourself as an introvert. It’s funny because I didn’t know it was a discovery until I read back through some of your posts. It was like I was looking in a mirror, and I’ve come to appreciate myself newly as an introvert.

    As a child, my mother pushed me to be more outgoing. She pushed me a lot and because of that pattern I tended to draw in others that did the same pushing. I know that she had no idea of different types of personalities and just saw my shyness and reservedness as a minus for interacting with people. Who knows what I could’ve discovered long ago if I had been allowed to accept myself as I was, but I’m glad I’ve got it now.

    Thank you for writing about this. It is opening up a whole area of my life that I had no clue of. Please check out my site too. I love to share. Be well.

     
    • Stephanie Shirley

      November 27, 2016 at 8:20 am

      Thank you for your comment, Monique, and for sharing your personal experience as an introvert. It wasn’t until adulthood that nearly every member of my immediate family realized that we were all introverts to a degree. It was very enlightening as it greatly impacted how we interacted with one another. So interesting! Now with that understanding, we know to give each other space to “recharge”…especially during family vacations!

       

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