Out to Space

A freak who enjoys discovering and sharing a simple beauty of life even in a strange place

A Week in Russia and How I Learned about an INFP Mind

It was only a week we were in Russia but there were quite some thoughts in my head about the trip. Those three nights in Murmansk and other three in Moscow didn’t just turn out to be a fantastic getaway but also I got to learn something inside my head.

Selfie on Tverskaya Street

For the start, the trip was different from my previous ones. It was the first time in years I travelled as a group. On top of that, it was in places we could say they were completely foreign, especially, the language. And in the end, I made a costly mistake that taught me a valuable lesson. Those incidents, somehow, triggered the thoughts of how my brain worked as an INFP that I’d convinced myself for the past years.

Group Travelling v Me Time

While we were planning the trip, I had got freaked out a little bit about being stuck with others for a week. So, in my own itinerary, there had to be some of me-time to escape into my own thoughts and process the experience.

Some of those included: staying up until 3 am, drinking by myself when everyone else was asleep; walking on the street of Murmansk in the middle of the night, intoxicated and getting lost; and riding on a Moscow Metro circle line.

Of course, there were pluses travelling with a group of friends as opposed you were on your own, for instance, the value of transportation. I wouldn’t be able to take a trip on a van to Teriberka on my own. Not to mention, it was more fun than I’d expected. Most of all, having companies along the trip helped me not to get too deep in my own self, as I always did.

On the other side, it was not always as robust as you were on your own. Some occasions, I had to wait for others for their things. Sometimes I got irritated. And tourist crowds, in general, also drained me out mentally.

It seemed peculiar that I broke out on my own periodically. But INFP’s main cognitive function—introverted feeling—demanded me so. That actually worked out fine, hanging with the group and going solo sometimes to get recharged.

Shifting Fascination

What struck me about myself the most on the first full day in Moscow was that the ability to decipher Cyrillic script. My agenda of the day was completely shifted from taking photos to learning a new language.

It started by cracking the script on street signs. In the museum where they had labels in both Russian and English side by side, I began to see patterns of the language and got carried away.

INFPs had a reputation about languages. Personally, it was one of the most enjoyable experiences of the trip, geeking in my head. And no one noticed that until I spelt out some Russian commercial signs on the streets at the end of that day.

That could be the main reason why I found this trip was so stimulating, being in an almost completely foreign country. It brought me back to the years in Sydney that I had developed my fascinations over many things. To name a few: urban wildlife, multiculturalism, and street junk. It felt like Russia had a lot more for me to explore and have my perspective to share with the world.

It was INFP’s auxiliary function—extraverted intuition—that was craving for new experiences to feed my mind. For some reasons, Washington DC hadn’t generated this excitement for me, not this strong.

A Fuckup and an Extra Day Off

On the departure day, I was going to get a morning flight back to Washington DC. Unfortunately, I was in the wrong terminal. As a result, I missed the plane.

That cost me money and time. The penalty was pretty hefty and the next flight would be in the afternoon but the layover in New York was about 20 hours. So, I ended up spending a night in Brooklyn.

It was so frustrating that almost spoiled the mood of the whole trip. I needed to do one more round of booking a room and sort the transportation in-out JFK Airport. That bit of travelling I found the most hideous.

Why? Because these decisions were mostly based on tangible logics (cost and time) as opposed to moral values (as my way of thinking was dominated by introverted feeling). That was when extraverted thinking—INFP’s suppressed function—got into play.

As soon as the night was settled in New York, it was fine. My mind got back to the comfort zone of drinking and writing a journal in a bar next to the hotel. I made peace to myself about the fuckup. Bar staff told me things happened for a reason and we totally agreed on that statement.

To wrap up this Russia trip and the series of posts, I’d say if it weren’t involved mental adventure, I’d consider not worth it. And this trip really had done so much so. It sparked something inside my head. This post was supposed to articulate the journey of my mind as an INFP.

While writing this post, I’d learned more about the cognitive functions of INFP myself. It shed some lights about how my brain worked. Making a researching and applying to the post was actually another tremendous journey on its own right.

To me, travelling was not about l being there but about what you had learned about being there. That would make travelling more memorable.

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