5 Ways To Find Alone Time When Traveling In A Group
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5 Ways I Survived As An Introvert In A Country Where I Was Forbidden To Travel Alone

You only get privacy in the bathrooms here, and you don't want to spend too much time in these ones.

5 Ways I Survived As An Introvert In A Country Where I Was Forbidden To Travel Alone

How can you get alone time when it's nearly impossible for you to be physically alone? This is a skill that all World Racers learn at the beginning of their mission trips, just to survive. Let's get one thing straight, being alone is important. I do not mean to scare away all my extroverts out there, but having a balance of community and being alone is vital to your mental health. As an INFJ, people were shocked to learn that I am an introvert because my life revolved around community and the infamous "FOMO" back at home before I left for my mission trip. I grew up an only child, basically lived alone for three years, and picked the times I decided to participate in social activities. You can be an introvert and an extrovert at the same time, and when I choose not to label myself as just one I am at peak mental happiness.

This mission trip has been hard because it's been about eight months since I have sat in a room alone, or anywhere alone really. It has been super tough at times. A few of my teammates and I would schedule time just to go to a coffee shop, sit at different tables and pretend to be alone because we cannot actually go anywhere alone. We have tried just about everything really. I've had my patience tested a lot in Africa because the kids are loving and they hang on to every body part you have. You only get privacy in the bathrooms, and you don't want to spend too long in the ones out here. Here are five things I did to make sure I balanced my extroverted side with my introverted one.

1. The Coffee Shop Trick

As I mentioned earlier, my teammates and I would literally go anywhere and sit apart from each other, just to be able to get some time for ourselves. In the second month of my trip, my teammates and I went to a mall that had a coffee shop and a tea shop right next to each other, so we divided and conquered. It worked really well for us! Back at home, I lived in coffee shops as a freelancer. I really miss being able to just leave my apartment and go where I want. The coffee shop trick provided me with a sense of freedom and control that was otherwise lacking.

2. Ear Phones In

My team members know that, once my headphones go in, I'm actively tuning out the world. It is about knowing space and boundaries within your group of friends. For me, during car rides, I tune out. Mostly due to my motion sickness, but that's when I just get to be. I love our long travel days for that reason because they're peaceful and I feel like I'm back at home, driving my car around, and doing my own thing. If you relate, tell your friends that. My team member friends and I have gotten to the point were, if someone doesn't hear us because they have their headphones in, we relay the message later.

3. Morning Workouts

Morning, Afternoon, Night, or whenever - finding time to work on your wellness is essential. Mornings are nice because no one else is awake. Each month on the World Race looks different when it comes to working out, but in month seven when I was in Uganda, there was a huge field on the refugee base. We lived in close quarters that month - meaning, my only alone time was in my tent that was too hot to go into during the day - so I went to the field and ran. It felt so good and mentally amazing. I get in moods of loving working out and hating it. I love it when I use it as my free therapy but sometimes, I really just don't want to do it. Listen to that side of yourself as well. Don't force yourself to work out if it becomes an unhealthy thing for you. These morning workouts should be a way for you to get some alone time, like a quick 30-minute run or walk!

4. Mindless Activities

Mindless activities can still be important and help people. Sometimes, I like going to the kitchen and helping prepare meals. I like chopping, cutting, and stirring in peace. It allows me to do something while having quiet time to myself. I've been in kitchens with 15+ people, and peeling potatoes or chopping onions still makes me feel like I am alone. Find that activity for yourself!

5. Communicating Your Needs

Don't be afraid to let people know what you need. Chances are, when you don't communicate that you are struggling, the people around you already know and feel what you are going through so it is a win-win for everyone. Your community or your friends want to see you happy and thriving, so DO the things that make you happy and able to thrive. Create a game plan or plan out different times where you get to be alone and finish what you need to do.

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