A Room of One’s Own

It’s not cheap being an introvert! Especially if you’re a single introvert who is used to being alone most of the time. I’m referring, in this case, to the extra cost of me-time that comes in the form of a single supplement for a room to oneself on a cruise…or on any occasion involving hotel rooms.

I’m in the midst of packing for a professional conference at which the majority of attendees will be paired up for the purpose of sharing the cost of a room. For many, it will also ensure that they will have more fun. More fun?! Sharing a room with a stranger? Even sharing with a friend can be stressful for an introvert who lives in peace and quiet at home. A roommate, even a quiet introverted one, requires more energy than I have to spare.

The conference is going to be educational, inspirational, and, yes, fun! It’s going to be SO MUCH fun that I’m going to need a place of my own at times to get away from it all and recharge my batteries. So I reserved my own room and will simply absorb the cost. I know it will be worth it. I will participate fully in the conference activities and then retreat to my peace and quiet. I will have dinner with others, and enjoy a glass of wine, but I will not be part of the dancing, drinking, karaoke crowd. I need my sleep!

When it comes to vacationing with others, it took me years to realize that it was worth it to me to simply get my own room. However, not only does it cost more, it also makes it difficult for others who would like to save money, and enjoy even more of my company, by sharing a room with me.

I realize there are different types and degrees of introversion. Do you, too, prefer a room to yourself? Or do you welcome the occasional stimulation and companionship of a travel roommate? What other costs can you think of that are associated with being an introvert? Please leave a comment in the section below!

Hazel Thornton is a professional organizer and genealogist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico; creator of The Clutter Flow Chart Collection; and author of Go with the Flow! The Clutter-Clearing Tool Kit for an Organized Life. Visit her online at www.org4life.com.


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  1. Steve Albert on May 26, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Great Post!

    I often times find the struggle for alone time to be difficult.

    Early in my professional career, when I did travel I always had a room mate. I hate, hated, hated it! These days I work for a company where I don’t need to double-up on room accomodations, and, well, I can’t imagine traveling any other way. Now I can simply stress over the reasons for which I am traveling.

    Your post also reminded me of something related: specifically, while on vacation over the years, I always struggled to find alone time. Mind you I love my family and all (make that families…original and now second with step children) but I always need to make time for walking alone or going for drives alone, as the weight of having to be around others inside enclosed spaces such as hotel rooms is difficult to bear for extended periods of time.

    Lastly, and in the area of “costs”, my partner and I just purchased a new home, and while home shopping, one of the must-have items was a home office for me. Now I am fortune in that Christine (my mildy introverted partner in crime) is very loving and understanding of my need for quiet “me space”. As it stands, we did find a house, it has space for an office for me, and as a bonus, the office has its own side porch. I would go completely bonkers if I didn’t have space in the house where I could retreat and be alone.

    Thanks for all the great work on this blog!

    Best Regards,
    Steve Albert, West Pittston PA USA

    • Hazel Thornton on May 26, 2014 at 10:18 am

      Hi Steve, I’m glad you can relate…and congratulations on your own home office! I think the more we just accept that we need some alone time, and plan for it, and make it known to others that we love them but we’re going to take a little walk by ourselves now, the better. Don’t you?

  2. Jane Campbell on May 26, 2014 at 11:55 am

    I hear what you’re saying, but I find I love money more than I love solitude!

    • Hazel Thornton on May 26, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      Hi Jane! Yes, I understand why people just suck it up for the sake of saving money. I did that for a long time too. When it comes right down to it, being single and choosing to live without a roommate is a year-round extra cost, not just at travel time!

  3. Christy on May 26, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Oh, dear me, I am facing this myself for an entire month. I am going to a month-long training/conference/retreat/thing, and I have been assigned a roommate, someone I don’t know. I hate sleeping in the same room as another person, *hate* it. I like having people around I enjoy being with, having someone to discuss the day’s training/activities/whatever with, but I primarily like it if I am quite close to the person. If the person talks all the time, I have a very hard time, unless I am so close to that person that I also have no problem talking all the time with them, such as my sister. Whatever the case, I can rarely sleep if there is another person in the room. Especially if the person snores. If I ever get married, we’re going to have to have separate bedrooms. I had my own bedroom for the first time when I was a junior in college (I grew up with a lot of sisters and a small house), and I can’t ever go back.

    • Hazel Thornton on May 26, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      Oh dear is right! A month with a stranger! Well, if you feel you have little choice in the matter, there’s still hope! Maybe she will be quiet and awesome and you will be best friends forever after. Maybe you can get away for a little while by yourself each day. Maybe if she’s a real chatterbox you can say, “I really enjoy talking with you, but I need to let you know that I’m an introvert who needs some quiet time to herself every day. You understand, right?” Let me know how it goes!

      • Christy on May 27, 2014 at 12:01 am

        I am very much hoping we will be congenial and become good friends. That will be fun. And there will be plenty of opportunities for me to run away as I desire. The training is in a town I used to live in, and I know it well and have many friends there (but didn’t want to foist myself on any of them for an entire month), many excellent coffee shops and libraries and parks and restaurants. I will survive, and it may prove to be very excellent. But…snoring. If there’s snoring I may go insane.

    • Janet Barclay on May 26, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      After sharing a room for a month, she won’t be a stranger anymore! I hope she ends up being a good friend, and not someone you never want to see (or even think about) again.

  4. Kelly @Try New Things on May 26, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    I love your thoughts here. They legitimize how I feel and let me just get on with the business of living a life that is true to me. I cannot ever imagine sharing a room to save money. Just thinking about sharing with a stranger makes me anxious in advance.:) Yet I live this normal life full of friends and relationships and solitude all mixed in together.

    • Hazel Thornton on May 26, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      It’s always nice to know we’re not alone…well, you know what I mean…not alone in our thinking about wanting to be alone much of the time! 😉

  5. Pamela on May 26, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    I too, like being alone. I was told by several friends that I should rent out a room in my home to help me make mortgage payments. The thought of having a stranger in my home—ugh. I love my peace and quiet and when I want to turn up the radio, I can. I’m currently working on other ways to support myself without the need of someone renting a room.

    • Hazel Thornton on May 26, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      Yes, Pamela…I don’t know if you already saw this in my comment to Jane, but when it comes right down to it, being single and choosing to live without a roommate is a year-round extra cost! But it’s still a valid lifestyle choice.

  6. Janet Barclay on May 26, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    For the first few overnight conferences I went to, I stayed with a family member who lived near the conference centre and drove back and forth each day. The first time that wasn’t practical, I found a roommate through the host organization – someone I’d never met before. It was challenging but I was happy to stay with her again the following year. Just having a room to retreat to as needed was a bonus.

    The first time that I booked my own room, I thought I was in heaven! It was worth every penny. I might consider sharing again in the future, if it was just for a night and/or if I was close to the other person, but probably not.

    • Hazel Thornton on May 26, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      I’m getting spoiled by Facebook…I don’t always have anything to add, but want to acknowledge comments by “liking” them! 😉

  7. Ranina McMahon on May 26, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Oh, so much to say…

    I have had two truly horrifying experiences with room mates (not including my awful foray through the Marriage Hell amusement park).

    The first was living in a shelter-home for battered women with children. Though necessary, it was an assault to every fiber of my being. I felt like I was being smothered and no one could hear me screaming.

    We all lived in a nice, huge house with an impressive kitchen and plenty of food, a family gathering area with TV and games, a laundry area and a couple therapist offices. The other various rooms were set up for maximum capacity, with two sets of bunk beds to each room. The constant noise, proximity of others, and lack of privacy made it impossible for me to even think, after a while. I started getting in my car to drive to a peaceful park and just sit there listening to music and to myself, trying to clear my mind and sometimes just weeping in frustration. I was grateful for the shelter, but I am a disaster without a place of my own.

    The second was while on a business trip. At the hotel, we all had to share a room with someone for the week. Many, many times, I wanted to tell my annoying room-mate to ShutUpShutUpShutUp and leave me the hell alone. But I couldn’t do that because my darn parents taught me not to be rude — to be gracious — to be patient and tolerate stuff I don’t like when necessary. I couldn’t afford to pay for a separate room in the hotel, so it was necessary.

    As an introvert, these were a couple of the worst experiences of my life — certainly not THE worst, but they are burned into my brain as things I never want to experience again.

    After those, I promised myself I would always have a place of my own, where I could just be; where I could decompress and gather myself each day. That space was not only absolutely necessary, but a requirement, as well. Afterward, I refused to go on business trips that required sharing a room.

    I’m so glad I’m retired now. 🙂

    Love your post. Thanks!

    • Hazel Thornton on May 27, 2014 at 9:10 am

      Sounds like you’ve figured out the hard way what you need and how to get it!

  8. Christy on May 27, 2014 at 12:15 am

    Alas, I find them intensely uncomfortable.

  9. Jean | DelightfulRepast.com on March 2, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Hazel, I used to attend the annual conference of an association every year and usually shared a room for the three nights. But I was fortunate to always share with one of two women I had known for years in the association. They understood my needs as an introvert and it worked out well. I’d have the room to myself while my quietly extraverted roomie was out enjoying the event’s evening activities. And neither of them watched TV, yammered on the phone, or electronically annoyed me in any way! 🙂

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