view of mountains from bathroom on Gorrono Ranch, Telluride

Every so often, one is required to take a vacation, whether one wants to or not, when one is about to have a nervous breakdown, for example, and metaphorical white-coated men show up with kind firmness and a complimentary wrap-sleeved jacket. Or when one is still a teenager, without agency or car keys (which is the same thing in modern-day North America).

Or, slightly more happily, when one’s sister decides to get hitched in a remote slice of paradise tucked into a box canyon in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. I mean, I suppose I could have declined; I am well past my teens and have agency galore. Car keys, even. But I would rather eat ground glass than miss the wedding of the person responsible for, among other things, saving my life some eight years ago.

Still. Generally, I do not vacation well. Since I’ve discerned there was a difference, I’ve found my favorite “vacations” are just wry twists on my regular routine, which is to say, taking select pieces of my regular routine to another place so that I can see and do them slightly differently. The carousing, the foreign schedule, and, on weeks like this, the meeting of a whole bunch of new people for the first time, even fantastic ones, can make bona-fide, Normal People Vacations somewhat problematic for the introvert freak contingent.

This trip was slightly different. Okay, wildly different. I left, I stayed, I enjoyed the hell out of myself, even though I barely busted out the laptop to write until today. The food and surroundings and accommodations were outstanding, which never hurts. And the occasion was a wildly happy one: my sister has met a genuinely superb guy with an incredibly nice family and the greatest, most welcoming set of friends I’ve met in a long time. Not a dud in the bunch, and every last one of them kind, funny and generous. I have hit the family-and-friend jackpot, and didn’t even know I was entered to win.

But also, I took some necessary precautions along the way. Housekeeping-wise, I prepped before I left, lining up several posts (although not this one, or one that should have gone up yesterday) for my various outlets of nerdery. I’ve got the rest of my life down to a streamlined minimum, so there’s not nearly as much last-minute wrangling to do before I leave home. And most importantly, once I got here, I did what I needed to do to keep my circuits from frying: lots of sneaking off by myself to read, to walk, to Nei Kung, to unplug. (Also, if you are an introvert/feminist/lightweight, refuse all offers of tequila shots, and keep your arms down when the bouquet gets thrown, if you can’t avoid the affair entirely.)

It wasn’t as much alone time as I get at home, living my freakish little life with its great swaths of solitude, but it was enough. I’m good, I had a great break, and I would not have done one thing differently. And now I have 50 new best friends, plus a brand new spare fambly. Plenty of time to nap when I’m dead, or something like that.

If you have a need for solitude, balancing it with the other, seemingly-lesser (but really, only less obvious) need for fellowship can get tricky. With a little time, care and the inevitable leap of faith, though, it generally all works out in the end.

And at times? Smashingly so…




  1. “the introvert freak contingent” — well said! my girlfriend and i are going to europe at the end of august, and i keep telling people that we’re renting rooms in apartments with real live people (vs isolated hotel rooms) so we can meet locals and get to know new people even though that’s the last thing on my list of Ways an Introvert Enjoys Another Land. Forget about cruise ships where there’s nothing to do but eat, talk to people, and pray for the next land excursion so you can scurry off alone. personal nightmare.

    anyway, congratulations on the new clan!

    1. Ooo, renting rooms? Brave! You’ll definitely have a richer experience for it. It just takes more recovery time. Plus everybody needs somebody sometime, right?

      As to cruise ships, the title of that famous David Foster Wallace essay pretty much sums it up.

  2. Wow…your whole “going on vacation” thing sounds just like my problem with major social anxiety. But once I’m in the midst of friends, I can often turn on the charm as needed.

    Not a single person I know understands my need for solitude. I NEED my time to be creative, to THINK and write songs and blog and design and play the guitar. So many people want a chunk out of me everyday…I feel like a hunk a cheese.

    1. I had a major breakthrough moment with my ex-husband, the Chief Atheist, a few months ago, when he finally conceded that, yeah, I need a *lot* more time to myself than he’d realized, and legitimately. I finally get that most people aren’t being mean or obtuse: they just don’t have a reference point. Because introverts, we don’t always do the best job of speaking up, y’know?

  3. Congrats on enjoying your getaway/family gathering. As an introvert (and only child) who requires a LOT of alone time, I understand your trepidation. So I’m all the happier for you that you took the leap and lived (happily) to tell the tale.

    I recently returned from a month in France, and came as close as I’ve ever come to finding the right vacation mix. I spent three weeks of “retreat time” in a cottage in the countryside, without a car, but with books, a journal, and a computer, and with a like-minded friend for two weeks of that time, bouncing around thoughts and ideas. Then I spent 6 days in Paris, engaging in a more leisurely version of the tourist visit. I’d never been on that long of a vacation, or on that type of vacation, and now I can’t wait to do it again.

  4. Great post, as an introvert geek girl supreme, I identify with your need for privacy and space but it sounds like you handled things beautifully. I am glad you were able to go to your sister’s wedding and enjoy yourself. That is awesome. Thank you for sharing your story and success.

    Ciao Bella,


    1. Thanks, Lisa. I realized after I wrote/posted that it’s a variation on a line I coined many years ago about something different, but hey, not bad when I’m down to a quarter of a tank.

  5. THE “introvert freak contingent”??? Like – an acknowledged group? Where the heck have you and these, apparently, numerous other outwardly-charming/charismatic/creative-yet-inwardly-shy/sensitive/nerd freaks been all my life???

    I guess I haven’t been a diligent enough reader of your great stuff to recognize that you’re, apparently, penning some of these missives from somewhere inside my own noggin… Moving through the world having pretty-much the same reactions this freak would be having, if I ever to got the hell out of my flat and the Endlessly Entertaining Ecosystems evolving here.


    Thanks for the great inspiration.
    I’m so glad you had such a good time and met such good people.

    1. Where the heck have you and these, apparently, numerous other outwardly-charming/charismatic/creative-yet-inwardly-shy/sensitive/nerd freaks been all my life???

      We are many—well, a quarter of the population, by rough guesstimate—but we are well-hidden. So, you know, feel free to join us, but do it from your house.

      And thank *you*! And you’re most welcome.

      1. “So, you know, feel free to join us, but do it from your house. ”

        That’s precisely it, Maral. I think most of us are at home luxuriating in whatever refreshing solitude we can find. :)

      2. Ha! Thanks, guys. Not planning to show up on anyone’s doorstep… I’m just surprised to finally (!?) grasp the ‘introvert’ aspect of the amazing/funny/talented people I admire and read. I’m a little verklempt. Just waking up, I guess.

  6. I have to admit, I’m not the best traveller, but I always seem to enjoy the experience once I get there. And if that place is the Rocky Mountains, I would probably be humming enough John Denver to keep everyone either slightly annoyed or humming along.

    Big ups to new people and new places!

    1. We had us a few John Denver jokes. Mostly about the plane. Because, you see, we are rather tasteless when it comes to our humor.

      And yes, big ups to new stuff. Huzzah!

  7. Congrats to your sis and to you on the new extended family! Excellent!

    I soooo get the introvert thing. It’s good to have a reminder that it’s good to venture out once in a blue moon. ;)

  8. Hot damn! We’re so glad that you had a good time. I know it seemed a little remote and ridiculous at first, but what fun, right? Great peeps, good food, ridiculous music, killer fireworks, beautiful scenery…and a weekend-long celebration! Wouldn’t have been the same without you. I love you.

Comments are closed.