No loud tour guide here: A travel experience especially for introverts

A Los Angeles-based globetrotter organizes "the first travel experience for introverts by introverts." That means 10 days with other people, but single rooms and plenty of time to recharge.

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
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Leslie Katz
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"Introversion really has to do with how we respond to stimulation and how we recharge from it," says Lisa Avebury, organizer of the first Sacred Introvert Retreat Tour.

Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

Lisa Avebury, a self-described introvert, loves to travel. Like most introverts, however, she does not love the idea of schlepping around on a party bus with a loquacious tour guide talking over her every internal musing. So she has tended to travel alone. Until now.

Avebury is getting set to lead her first "Sacred Introvert Retreat Tour" designed expressly for introverts, those of us who tend to get energized by solitary activities and introspection, frequently find small talk taxing and often need downtime to recharge after periods of intense socializing. The trip is scheduled for May 1 to May 10 in ancient Glastonbury, in England's south west, close to sights including Stonehenge and Bath.


Lisa Avebury: An introvert, but not shy.

Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

"Everyone has their own room (no single-supplement fee), and outbound excursions are paced in a way that gives individuals time to recharge in any way that feels right for them," Avebury told Crave. "It always goes back to 'quality over quantity.' No rushing from place to place, no one talking over your thoughts."

Avebury, a yoga teacher and bodyworker based in Los Angeles, was inspired to create a blog, Sacred Introvert Space, and conceive of Sacred Introvert Retreat Tours after reading Susan Cain's book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" and watching Cain's TED talk on introversion and the contributions of such famous introverts as Chopin, Steve Wozniak and Ghandi. The talk has been viewed more than 10 million times on the TED website.

"It was like my whole world changed in a matter of a few days. I no longer felt like I had a social dysfunction," Avebury said of discovering Cain's ideas.

In her writing and speeches, Cain, as other observers of human temperament have, touches on scientific research indicating that the brains of introverts respond to stimulus differently and can be more sensitive to situations that involve a lot of noise, movement and people. Some introverts find their energy drained by things like open office spaces, unexpected visitors, forced social interactions and even ringing phones.

"Sophia Dembling (who writes about introversion on the Psychology Today website), once said a ringing phone to her is like someone running up from behind and yelling, 'Boo!'" Avebury told Crave.

Due in part to Cain's best-selling book, introversion has gotten lots of Internet attention lately, even inspiring a bevy of well-circulated Buzzfeed lists like 27 Problems Only Introverts Will Understand, 21 Texts Every Introvert Has Sent, 18 Truths About Every Secret Introvert and 13 Mindful Ways to Make an Introvert Feel Loved (a couple of suggestions from that one: try to be more comfortable with silence and make it easy for them to leave the party early).

But Avebury wants to make it clear that the Sacred Introvert Retreat Tour will not require that guests turn off their ringers or maintain some sort of mandatory cone of silence. "I think it's a misconception that introverts don't want to meet new people (or new introverts rather!). We just want to be understood and accepted for who we are," she said. "I've always loved going on silent meditation retreats because you can be with people and not feel pressured to talk. You can sit together and be quiet and share a lot without a word being spoken."

Several travelers have already signed up for the inaugural Sacred Introvert Retreat Tour, and reservations can be made through March 16. Guests will stay at the Abbey Retreat on the grounds of the 7th-century ruined Glastonbury Abbey, and the trip costs $3,795 (about £2,488, AU$4,885), not including airfare.

"My hope is that introverts who visit and participate in what Sacred Introvert is offering will feel supported and uplifted by the knowledge that they too are just 'introverted,'" Avebury said. "And being just introverted is just fine."