Growing up I always felt different. I felt like an outsider. I stood on the outer ring of the popular social circles. I was the one on the outside looking in.
I like to observe. I like to think. I like quiet and I like to be alone.
I’m an introvert.
Being an introvert in a loud world isn’t easy. As a child I was called a snob, an ice princess, haughty and uppity. People would assume I thought I was better than them just because I was quiet and reserved.
I also grew up in a loud home. Everything was magnified – anger, bitterness, self-pity, betrayal, abandonment, sadness. And very little was dignified. Then only place I found solace was within myself.
Deciding to travel solo for the past 2 years has forced me into some uncomfortable situations. Situations where I found myself amongst groups of people who seemed to be so different to me. Who made me wonder how I was ever going to begin to make connections with them.
So why try to make connections at all?
Because while being solitary some of the time is a soul fulfilling thing, having experiences that you’ve shared with one other or many others can be an even more soul fulfilling thing.
Life becomes more colorful, more intense, more bright, more interesting, more inspiring when it’s being shared over a passion for food, a bottle of wine, a priceless adventure, a game of football, a deep conversation, a love of coffee, an obsession with fashion or the joy and frustration of raising kids.
Travelling has taught me that even though we may speak different languages, have different cultures, look different and think differently, we are all fundamentally the same. We all want the same thing. And that is simply to love and be loved.
When you’re able to see people through a common lens it makes connecting and cultivating friendship that much easier. As an introvert I’ve learnt that there’s no huge mystery to making friends. Start with a smile, be present, be yourself and be open.
And most importantly be prepared to share.
In the photo above, my Korean sister.