This may or may not come as a bit of a surprise to some people we know… but we’re actually a bit shy.
Sure, amongst family and friends, we can be the life of the party. But new situations, meeting new people, travelling in new places – this all takes a lot of energy for us. It’s not that we’re afraid or unconfident. We’re just a little shy.
This shyness isn’t new. Certainly we’ve both had our moments back home. We went to the same local pub pretty much every week – hosted all sorts of celebrations there, attended special events put on by the bar – and after 3 years we were barely recognised. We started to wonder if we had resting b*tch faces that prevented people from wanting to engage with us.
We realise, we could have also been the ones to strike up conversations with locals or the publican. But three years? Really?
So packing up our lives to travel for 12 months is kind of a big deal for us. Certainly while travelling, it’s even more noticeable and the shyness presents itself in all sorts of ways.
- We’re quiet and are very aware of our impact on others. We will speak so quietly so as not to disturb anybody, we can’t hear each other and then get annoyed at each other. Sometimes we feel like every other non-local around us is being loud and obnoxious – but perhaps they’re not and it’s just that we’re way too quiet?
- We’ll often argue over whose turn it is to engage with someone (i.e. buy a ticket, ask a question, order food, buy a beer, etc.). This is something that friends we’ve travelled with have also experienced. You know who you are. Sorry about that.
- We need to spend some time inside by ourselves for a bit. Clearly we’re both natural introverts, so this is important recharge time. We’ve taken a few hours here and there through our travels so far (you know, all of a month now) to just stay in our hotel room and not talk.
- We’ll often not make a stir when something goes wrong. For example, not making a complaint when the food that arrives is incorrect. In fact, a couple of times now, due to our suckiness at a) speaking languages other than English, and b) not wanting to rock the boat, we have ended up with one main dish instead of two, and just shared it. A great strategy for portion control and coming in under budget!
It’s not logical. We’re both former corporate professionals, so WTF is wrong with us?!?!
Our travel year is even more important for us for this reason. We’ll need to step outside our comfort zone and have a go at actively making some new friends if we’re to make being digital nomads work. We’re going to start by joining a coworking space and try and strike up some conversations with like-minded travellers. We’ll start straight away. Tomorrow.
So if you see us around, don’t be shy (we’ve got that covered) – come up and say hi. We’re the shy nomads, and despite our feared “resting b*tch faces”, we do love to chat and would like to make friends.
PS: If you also have the Kajagoogoo’s 80’s hit “Too Shy Shy” in your head now as a result of reading this, apologies. Hope this ear worm is quick and painless.
If you didn’t, but now you do having read this and clicked the YouTube link, well then, sorry not sorry. That’s your own doing right there.