Touring can be a tough endeavor for every personality type, but introverts have an especially challenging time out on the road. This is one of those issues that doesn’t make or break a musician’s career, but it does make life harder for introverted musicians and the people who work with them. Today, we’re highlighting some ways touring is tough on introverts with some tips to help things run smoothly.
Musicians spend all their waking hours with other people on tour
Save for bands who’ve found lots of financial success, touring is often so draining for less social musicians because there’s no barrier between them and other people on the road. Whether it’s being less than two feet away from bandmates in the car traveling to the next show or having to talk to fans at the merch booth, there’s no time to be alone on tour. While certain personality types recharge by hanging out with other people, introverts are the opposite. Feeling socially drained can add to challenges that most musicians already face during their tours––sleep deprivation, strained relationships, indulging too much.
The best thing introverted musicians can do to prepare for their tours is to know what they’re getting themselves into well in advance. For some, it might mean saving extra money ahead of time for a separate hotel room once every week for long tours. For others, making an effort to take a walk sometime each day on the road will do the trick.
Between the stage and tour van, there are few opportunities to recharge
The nature of touring is an extroverted and highly social one: getting up on stage and talking to the crowd, meeting other bands, and hanging out with bandmates. These are all crucial parts of helping a tour to run smoothly. Unfortunately, this all makes life difficult for introverts. The challenge here is to show up socially on tour in a meaningful way without burning yourself out or feeling resentful.
There’s no easy solution here, so a delicate balancing act is in order. Rather than trying to muscle through a long tour by posing as an extrovert, discover those few opportunities you can to be alone and use them to your advantage. If there’s ever free time, don’t be afraid to go off by yourself, throw on noise-canceling headphones, or hang out alone in the green room. This is one of those situations where you have to be in charge of your own well being, so do what you need to do and don’t apologize for it.
Taking care of yourself on tour is essential no matter what type of personality you are. But some introverts have a nasty habit of not being vocal about what they need to feel healthy. So rather than winging it on your next tour, if you’re not a particularly social musician, make sure you set up conditions and boundaries to help you feel comfortable. And remember, if you don’t, no one will for you.
Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.