Introverts, as most people now know, aren’t necessarily ‘anti-social’ or ‘loners’ or, the worst insult, ‘party-poopers’; they just get their energy in different ways, mostly through being alone and having time to themselves. Many don’t associate ‘alone time’ with travel, but there are several destinations throughout the world that afford the traveler the chance to recharge, be alone and unbothered.
There’s a difference between wanting to not have anything expected of you, socially, and wanting to literally be all alone enjoying your solitude, but the places on this list include a combination of both.
Often people end up having an unsatisfactory experience simply based on the fact that they went somewhere without realizing they’d be ‘bothered’. (Bothering, in this case, includes but isn’t limited to the following: Trying to have things sold to you, curious parties wanting to know you, excited children wanting to meet you, general public interaction at a heightened rate than expected.)
Everyone has different reasons for traveling, of course, and making friends along the way is one of the joys that comes with the unexpected. Sometimes, though, one just wants to be alone. To have deep thoughts, to be alone with oneself, or generally not have to be ‘on’ all the time.
This list contains places where not only are you generally left alone, but also places that just have fewer people with whom to interact, for starters. These places also tend towards being quieter and more peaceful, even in the middle of capital cities.
The following is the Top 5 Places for Introverts (or people who just want to be left alone):
With an area of almost 40,000 square miles and a population of 323,000 it is easy to find a lot of ‘alone time’, even in the capital of Reykjavik. People generally keep to themselves and are not keen to engage/get in your business. Walk into a store, though, and you’ll be greeted with a friendly “hej”. Choose not to buy anything? No one’s going to yell at you for it. Walking through some volcano fields with a notebook and a dream? No one’s going to stop you. Napping under one of 8 trees found in Iceland? You’ll be left alone.
Similar to Iceland, Mongolia has the luxury of having 2.8 million people, and nearly an area of 604,000 square miles in which to spread out.
Mongolians just don’t care about you, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. It’s not that they are callous, they just prefer to leave folks alone.
Sitting on your duffel bag at the bus stop and fall asleep? No big deal. Fall asleep on someone’s shoulder on the bus? Meh. Someone peeing a few inches from your feet on the sidewalk? Such is life. And it’s just not a big deal. People are very much ‘over themselves’ here.
It’s full of so many different types of people that you will literally never be noticed. So much so, in fact, that this one time, when I got food poisoning and was running for a restroom from a subway platform, upstream of fellow commuters, I threw up and literally no one noticed. Luckily, I had a motion-sickness bag on me, but heavy retching while running apparently fazes no one. To top it off, since Singapore forbids eating/chewing gum/drinking on subway platforms, there were no garbage cans to be found. That’s right, I had to carry my petit motion sickness bag allll the way to my destination. And no one batted an eyelash.
The purpose of that story isn’t to gross you out or to show Singaporeans as an unfeeling people, they’re just on their way and have a lot on their minds. Mostly finance or delicious noodles (these did not give me food poisoning). They are very driven to be economically focused, and the tiny dot in Asia is enviable for its security and safety, and is also the ‘happiest country in Asia’.
I have never felt safer in my life. Or more able to be alone with my thoughts. So overwhelming is this feeling of safety and solitude, that, much like Iceland, one could fall asleep under a tree by a riverbank and never have a second of worry. Unlike Iceland, Liechtenstein actually has more trees to potentially fall asleep under. People are satisfied with their situation in life (who wouldn’t with all that natural beauty and financial security?), don’t really feel a need to approach you or sell you anything, and don’t really interact much. Things are quiet, the world is peaceful, and the only sound is the joyful tinkling of the bells on the goats roaming the fields. It’s 160 square miles and has a population of 37,000, has no military and one of the world’s lowest crime rates.
While Japan, with its high population of 127 million people, and area of 145, 914 square miles, is not necessarily the first place one would think of for an introvert’s paradise, but it really is. So much so, that it’s literally never awkward to go out to eat alone, because so many Japanese do it. The pleasures of ducking into an udon shop, getting some slurpable noodles and sitting at a bar facing the wall/mirror is kind of the best. It’s easy to disappear in a crowd here and silence often abounds, even on public transport. An elderly gentleman shared some grape-flavored candy with me once on a high-speed train to Hiroshima, but that’s about as far as things went.
Are you an introvert, too? Let us know where you’ve traveled where you have been able to be alone with yourself and your thoughts!