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Any shy people who backpacked?

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1. Posted by loei (Budding Member, 4 posts) 24 Mar '04 18:47

I'm a really shy person, esp around people of the opposite sex. But I thought it would be a great adventure to go backpacking, simply because, hey I'm in London studying for the summer, might as well do it.

I'll probably end up taking public trans (single female), but I've always envied people who can go about hitchhiking and be able to carry a conversation with anyone.

I'm not scared too much, but I'm afraid that perhaps my personality might prevent me from enjoying Europe to the fullest extent. So, are their any people here who were shy when they backpacked, and how did you deal with it?

2. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru, 2457 posts) 25 Mar '04 01:21

Yes, me! I'm naturally quite a shy person (as well as being quite quiet, a really boring conversationalist and hugely paranoid) and have never had a great problem, although i honestly couldn't tell you why. You put me in a bar etc at home or back in the UK, and the chances of me going up to somebody i don't know and starting a conversation by myself are essentially nil.

Yet as soon as i start travelling (abroad), something happens in my head and i always find people to start talking to on trains / buses / ferries / hostels / drivers that i'm hitching with etc. and strangely find it much easier. I talk in situations or to people that if it were in the UK, i'd never even consider starting a conversation with. And i don't know why!!

Hitchhiking is generally the easiest form to get into conversations with - Probably 98% of people who stop are looking for somebody to talk to pass there own journey as much as because they desperately want to help you. This is particularly true with lorry drivers who otherwise can do many days without having a meaningful conversation. Most will start talking or asking questions as soon as you get in. Those few that stop who don't really want to talk will make it known fairly quickly anyway.

Night trains (and restaurant cars on night trains) and compartment trains instead of those which are open plan are also very good, especially as you are generally travelling for a long distance. Hostels, especially those in more major tourist places and where you sleep in dorms are normally full of other travellers who don't know anybody and in places it is incredibly challenging NOT to end up in conversations with several people!

As always, just be wary. Don't go displaying valuables etc, getting too drunk that you can't take care of yourself and if you are at all getting uncomfortable move on/stop talking/make it known etc.

Hope that helps a bit. If you've got any further questions, feel free to ask, and ahve a great time in Europe.

Regards
Rich

3. Posted by Rach-a (Respected Member, 368 posts) 25 Mar '04 02:43

Hi loei,

I'd say I am very shy when I first meet people. You wouldn't thinkso looking from the outside because I love to party and go wild with friends and can be very eccentric. Sometimes though, I have met new people and they have said that I am shy and my friends laugh or look in disbelief because they don't see me that way.

I have been on holiday twice on my own though, and although never backpacked as yet it gave me more confidence. I was never really alone and found it so easy to talk to people both times I went away. People who open their mind to travelling I think also open their mind to people around them and in turn are more friendly. I think at home, sometimes people live in their own little bubble or comfort zone and subconciously don't open up to others around them because they don't really need to. Even myself when I am at home, sometimes, I don't feel as open to talk to people as I live in my own little bubble but when travelling, I am interested in speaking to people I don't know, in their lives and environment, because I am away from the norm and am willing to make new friends. I don't forget about my shyness but because I am interested in other people when on holiday or travelling, being shy goes to the back of my mind and I am concentrating more on other peoples interests instead. I am travelling in August into US, Central and South America. I am nervous now because I am thinking that I won't get to talk to people, but then I thought that before I went for my holidays in Greece and Tenerife and was fine when I was out there for the reasons I said before. I therefore will believe I will be fine once I go travelling in August, and will find people who will be interested in me and likewise, me interested in them:)

4. Posted by leahrb (Full Member, 209 posts) 25 Mar '04 18:22

I've been described as shy before also. As I've gotten older I've gotten more confident. Something that helps me especially when I'm traveling is remembering that the chances of meeting these same people again is so slim that even if I end up saying or doing something really stupid I'll probably never see them again for the rest of my life (unless I want to) and in that case it doesn't really matter. Sort of the you live, you learn, you move on motto.
Good luck with your travels!!
Leah

5. Posted by tingo (Full Member, 94 posts) 26 Mar '04 07:09

Hi,
I'm also a shy person, but went backpacking alone several times and never had problems. For some reason being alone makes me more self-confident. I was travelling for 3 months on my own half a year ago.
I experienced the same as Gelli, back at home I would never start talking to strangers in a bar or on the street or other places. But when I'm travelling it seems that my fear goes away and I start talking to everybody, it's really strange and I really wonder why it is like that. It seems that I'm more confident while I'm travelling alone...Also when I returned back home after the trip I felt really confident, but it seems I'm loosing that feeling for some reason when back at home...
I'm most of the time very shy when meeting new people....
I realized this just a few months ago when I started working and met suddenly many new people. It was making me really nervous. Actually I never realized I was so shy because I didn't meet so many new people in such a short time since a long time... Even at work I'm still afraid to start talking to new people, but when I'm travelling I can talk to anybody without any fears...really strange!

6. Posted by aimsuk (Full Member, 112 posts) 27 Mar '04 06:33

yep, im shy too. as everyone else has said, when I'm travelling on my own, Im more confident then when at home or travelling with a friend. If i need to know something, there is only me that can get the info i need, so i just have to go for it.

7. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive, 627 posts) 31 Mar '04 03:54

Hey loei,

I'm another shy person. I honestly didn't completely come out of my shell while travelling, but I came out a lot more than I would have if I had stayed home. There were still difficulties in my travels, but travelling is kind of like giving birth- you go through hardship, discomfort, annoyance, frustration, confusion, shock, and so on, but what you remember is seeing amazing things, experiencing new things, meeting interesting people, overcoming obstacles you never thought you could, opening up to complete strangers and vice versa, and it becomes a symphony of good memories and funny anecdotes you can tell your friends and family back home. Even the hardship, discomfort, annoyance, frustration, confusion and shock will become an entertaining story to tell when you get back.

Europe is a pretty easy place to backpack for the most part, and you may be surprised to find out just how many people speak english, and just how benevolent everyone is. I have been continually amazed with the kindness of strangers in my travels. That is one deffinate way to melt away fears.

Don't worry. You will have a great time in Europe and it is absolutely okay to be a little shy :) You could even look at it as a way to gain some confidence. Reach out to other people and they will reach right back 99.9% of the time.

Good luck ;)

Peace,
Steph

8. Posted by Jenya (First Time Poster, 1 posts) 1 Jul '04 06:16

Hello everyone! it is nice to meet you all here,so i am not the only one shy person! it is so great!!!!

I don't know why i am shy,but it is very annoing!.. i love being in the center of attention however sometimes i am really quite in a big company. Especially it happens if there is a guy who i like.. it is very strange, because induvidually being only with him i can talk about anything, but when there people around us even some of my best friends, i am becoming very shy!...

I can't help it!..

anyway it is not the end of the world! i am sure someday i will get over it! i'll be fine! As Emily Dickinnson said -Hope! Hope gives you happyness and asks you nothing in return! it's great!

love you all! good luck!

9. Posted by zags (Respected Member, 370 posts) 13 Jul '04 22:32

Hey guys, it's unbelievable... So you are all shy people??? This is crazy because I'm also going to say that I'm shy too.
Rich, YOU are shy??

Hmmm maybe it's true that travelling forces us to be a little bit extroverted.....

10. Posted by eefsf (Budding Member, 6 posts) 25 Sep '04 17:29

Hehe, i am shy to. i am not all that suprised by this as i think "shy" introverted people tent to think about things a little more and traverllers tend to be thinkers.

when you are traveling (moreso when alone) you are completely dependeant on yourself thus as you do things you gain more confidance as well as people seem to be more open or curious about the environment they are surrounded by. plus when traveling you not only need to talk to people but people are also intersted in what you are doing so far away from home and what you home is like, or if you could help them pronounce something in english. on top of that when traveling alone you have just as much time to be by yourself as you do when you are home and can talk to people when YOU want to not having to be forced into talking to people about the weather or that cute girl or anything else that might not have any importance to you.

P.S. also if you are in a country that speaks something else and they try to talk to you in english then in the native tongue just say "me speak no ah eglishh".