For introverts, finding the perfect travel companion is especially trying, and the best travel buddy might even be none at all. But whether you're travelling solo or with a friend who shares your tendencies, these are the best experiences for introverted travellers looking to see the world without exhausting their emotional resources.
1. Go temple hopping in Myanmar
Temple hopping is popular with tourists in Thailand, but Myanmar's Bagan province has just as much to offer without the crowds. All of the temples in the region have been put on UNESCO's tentative list, so they're on the cusp of getting the attention they deserve, yet still serene and peaceful as temples should be. Take a balloon ride above their conical roofs to get the best view of the 2,200 temples clustered here and the misty jungle that surrounds them.
2. Get off the beaten path in Banff National Park
Canada's most famous national park is a tourist hotspot come summertime, but its sheer size means that even in high season it's hardly crowded. Lake Louise and Lake Moraine can get a bit busy in the summer months, but there's about 6,641 square kilometers left for introverts to explore at their leisure. Early morning is the best time to visit all of the most popular spots in the park, and longer hiking trails are generally emptier than shorter ones. Exploring the shoreline of the lakes by canoe or kayak is also a sure way to get some much needed you-time.
3. Cruise the Amazon River
There's no better way to experience the wild nature of the world's most famous rainforest, and there are plenty of options for introverts. There's a transport ferry that runs along the river's main artery, but the travelling introvert's best bet is to take a tourist cruise. These boats usually include an onboard naturalist guide and smaller vessels for exploring the river's intricate tributaries. Float along the tranquil current surrounded by nothing but the sounds of the jungle, and experience the complete darkness of night.
4. Make new friends on Aoshima
For the introvert who prefers animals to people, Aoshima is paradise. There's almost nothing on the island except cats, cats and more cats. In fact, as of 2015 cats outnumbered humans six to one. All of the felines here are incredibly friendly and are more than willing to accept food from and play with tourists. Since the island is quite spare when it comes to amenities, it's best to bring snacks and water with you on the ferry from the town of Nagahama, along with some treats for your new friends. Keep in mind that there are designated places around the island where tourists are allowed to feed the cats, and there is nowhere to stay on Aoshima so plan to return to the mainland at the end of the day.
5. People watch in Paris
Paris is a vibrant, dynamic city filled with introverts. All year round, boisterous tourists from across the globe come pouring into this reserved city, shocking residents and disrupting what at times resembles a very large collection of villages. This is great news for introverts who love the hustle and bustle of a metropolis without the pressure of human interaction, and it's easy to get off the beaten track even in the most touristy of neighborhoods. People watching is an art form here, and there's no shame in posting up at a table outdoors and watching the world go by.