Saturday, December 6, 2014

Can I be a peninsula?

No man is an island… 
—John Donne

I want to be left alone.
—Greta Garbo

The salad and spaghetti had been delicious. Now a few fellow vagabonds and I were sitting around, full, contented, getting philosophical. 

The topic: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since starting to live on the road?

My response: I learned I’m not as much of a recluse as I’d imagined.

I’ve self-identified as an introvert ever since I learned there was such a thing. (It sounded much better, more scientifically validating, than “shy.”) Being around people was exhausting, not energizing. I could happily spend hours or days alone. This book became my bible.

The full-time mobile life was a natural fit for me. The solo wanderer living apart from mainstream society. The totally independent man. A hermit on wheels. No roots, no anchors. Woot!

You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone
—Joni Mitchell

But being utterly, totally alone in the wilderness changes one’s perspective. “Normal” life is filled with intrusions and demands that make us introverts crave solitude. Take all that unwanted human interaction away, though, and one starts thinking it might be nice to have people to talk with, joke with, eat with. Not all the time, of course. That would be enervating. That would be something extroverts (ick) would do. But sometimes. Every few weeks. For a day or two. Maybe. Depending on my mood. And the weather. After all, I wouldn’t want the solitude enforcement squad to come take away my recluse credentials.

So, I guess my island would need occasional ferry service. Or a bridge. With guards.


  1. Same experience here. It's an interesting phenomenon how the road can result in a streak of extroversion.

    I liked "Quiet" very much, but here's my favorite book on introversion:

    1. I guess I'll need to wait for the Kindle version.

    2. I agree with my pal Kim, but I attribute it to encounters with people you have something in common with. While I did have coworkers that I became friends with, most were acquaintances based on nothing other than the fact we worked at the same place; same for my neighbors. On the road, I cross paths with more and more people who describe themselves as loners who are now surprised at how "social" they've become...myself included. I'm happy to say the people I hang with now are living the same lifestyle, and it is pretty effortless to be around them. That said, I do need to go off on my own every now and again, but nothing like my "other" life. Debbie

  2. Oh, I so relate! I would spend a couple days with Bob's group then be ready to move on. I like those people and enjoy being with them but...

  3. What's that poster? "Introverts Unite! Separately!" As one, I can certainly relate. ~Sassafras