An Introvert's Guide to Family Vacation

8:00 AM


Day 5 of vacation. One introvert among several families chock full of loud, sarcastic, bossy extroverts. I thought I was going to die.

I love vacation. It makes me crave insanely right decisions I normally balk at -- like exercising, early morning devotions, and going to bed on time. It's freeing -- a blank canvas on which to draft a new schedule based on my body and soul, not on work's demands.

I also dread vacation. Vacation means cramming our large immediate and extended family into a couple houses. We went on a Bergmann-only vacation twice. For almost every summer in my life, we hosted or visited our extended family. My family is hilarious, caring, and close. I love catching up with them, eating their good cooking, and soaking up their life.

And all that good stuff drains every drop of energy right out of me.

When I was younger, too old to play with the younger kids and too young to hang with the older women, I spent family vacation curled up on a couch reading whatever book looked interesting on a relative's bookshelf. My family teased me for my incessant reading and anti-social behavior. I felt guilty, left out, and bored out of my mind.

Now I pack a couple books of my own, plan some private projects (hello, blogging!), and shrug off the teasing. Instead of squelching my introversion, I work around it to make the most of  family time.

01. I established a hideaway spot ASAP. Instead of sleeping with all the girls in the rental house basement with little kids running through every other second, I specifically requested the blue room in my grammy's house. I didn't spend much of my time in it, but I loved placing my backpack and tennis shoes in my room. It grounded me. It gave me an option to retreat when I wanted to be alone.

02. I started my day slow and spent the bulk of the afternoon wrapped up in solitude -- reading, writing, thinking, and working long-distance. After the main hike or event of the day, everyone usually settled down for a lazy afternoon, anyway. I charged up for the evening. . . .

03. . . .which I dedicated to family time. I left behind my books, iPhone, and laptop from dinner onward, and threw myself into conversations, games, and impromptu worship.

Basically, I established normalcy. I mean, who actually in real life spends their 24/7 time catering to anybody's needs...besides babysitters? Real life involves breathing space and alone time, or at least other life things to do besides playing Scattergories all day, every day. I see family vacation as a chance to invite extended family into my everyday life and vice versa. This requires living a life in the first place -- a real life with things to do and thoughts to share.

Bring on the introverted reading time.

How do you survive family vacation?

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8 impressions

  1. Yes! I totally find a safe place and stay there to watch everyone interact. I usually bring a book to read or something to write in, and I'll have lots of brilliant philosophical ideas while I people watch. Then, once I've fully assessed the mood and determined the best use of my limited energy, I'll come out and interact with enough friendliness that people think I'm and extrovert and wonder where I was the whole time. Once my approx. hour long supply of energy is expired, I retreat again and people think there is something wrong with me. : )

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    1. Hahaha! Introverts are so misunderstood. I think your introversion is far more productive and creative than mine. Mine's more of an escape, recently. Which is why I haven't been blogging a lot.

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  2. Now I can finally feel justified taking a couple of books next week on our family vacation. :) I am an introvert too, and the thought of a vacation with lots of activies planned makes me want to cry. Thanks Bailey
    Alexis

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    1. Yes! You take that book! And maybe some earbuds, a padlock, and a sign that says, "Introvert: Go Away, Please." :D

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  3. That grounding thing; I totally need that. And structure/end points (like when guests are leaving and that they leave at a reasonable time). I am realizing details like that. I am more in the middle of the continuum of extroversion and introversion (I find it irritating how people paint in black and white and assume blabbermouths like me are extroverts).

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    1. I looooove start/end times. I wish I could slap them onto to every conversation and social event that I start....... :P Amen to the spectrum of introversion/extroversion!

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  4. I love traveling and my family, but yes, it can be one of the most exhausting things ever! So many people being loud and crazy... ughhh. I am awkwardly in between the extrovert and introvert lines, so sometimes I can handle it and sometimes I can't. It usually depends on who I'm staying with or how much sugar I have in me...
    Great post! :)

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    1. "It depends on how much sugar I have".....that's fabulous. :D

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