Random question: You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why? Some shade of green. It’s nice and earthy and calm. It reminds me of being out in nature. But please don’t ask me for a specific shade of green. I’m horrible with all these colour names.
Are you a bold introvert? It’s not the first adjective I would think of when describing myself. However, I have done – and still do – many things that you could describe as bold. I left my corporate job to become a freelance writer and blogger, I travel the world all on my own and have lived in foreign countries. I also write a blog about these experiences and travels. All of these are things that other people have pointed out to me as being very brave. Also, I’m a lot more confident now than I used to be when I was younger, which also much increased my boldness level. So yes, in my own way, I am a bold introvert.
Have you always been one? Not at all. I was extremely shy as a child and a teenager. I suffered from social anxiety and always believed there had to be something wrong with me, because I wasn’t as outgoing and confident as everyone else. This view of myself started to change when I went to university. I did psychology as a minor and first heard about introversion in that context. I immediately identified with the definition. Accepting my introversion and realizing that it’s not a bad thing helped in understanding myself better and thus growing more confident. It’s an ongoing process, but the most important thing for me is to know there are lots of others who have been or still are on this same journey and the support we can give each other by sharing how we got through it.
What do you do? I make my living as a freelance writer and editor. I mostly do copywriting, academic editing and ghostwriting. Some translating as well (my native language is German). Besides, I am a blogger. I have a travel blog aimed particularly at travelling introverts. I started it about two years ago because I was so fed up with this typical image of the outgoing, chatty backpacker who’s partying every night. You don’t have to be any of those things to be able to travel, whether it’s solo or with others. I hope to encourage other introverts to live their own travel dreams by sharing my experiences and addressing the unique problems and challenges that may come up for us introverts along the road.
What are you most proud of? There are two things I always wanted most from life: travelling the world and being able to make a living as a writer. About 1.5 years ago I took a huge step towards making that life a reality when I left the corporate world behind and started working as a freelancer. Now, I work remotely as a writer and editor and have just returned from a three months trip to South America. It was an absolute blast! So much so, that I’m heading back there in June. None of this would have become a reality if I hadn’t somehow worked up the courage to take up freelancing and give this lifestyle a shot. I’m very proud and grateful that I now get to shape my life the way I want it to be.
Do you feel that your personality trait has helped you achieve your goals? It took me a while to appreciate my introversion and not see it as a hindrance anymore. Today, I wouldn’t want to be any other way. I wouldn’t be the person I am if I weren’t an introvert. It was the belief in myself and the unique strengths that my personality gives me that allowed me to get as far as I have.
What advice do you have for introverts that are worried about chasing their dreams? There will always be people who underestimate you because of your introversion or who think that you need to be louder or more talkative or outgoing or whatever. Ignore them. Concentrate on those people who get you and accept you the way you are. They are the ones that will cheer you on when you chase your dreams. Most importantly, believe in yourself and your ability to make those dreams a reality. A few years ago, the life I’m living now would have seemed like a dream to me. Now it’s real. It didn’t need an extrovert to achieve that. It only took some time, courage and the confidence that I can be successful. Follow your goals, step by step, and you’ll get there. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
If you were inspired by Nele’s interview then go over to her blog to find out more about her travels !