Image source: Erik Jacobs, New York Times. Image found here.

Image source: Erik Jacobs, New York Times. Image found here.

The photo above is a real place. Someone really lives in that house on the rock. You can see it on Google Maps, just off the coast of Rhode Island.

It’s called Clingstone. There’s a full gallery of photos if you want to look inside.

I don’t know about you, but for me, Clingstone – the house, the island, the photo, the very idea of it – is captivating.

I’ve written before about my fascination with remote places, but this is a little different. After all, Clingstone isn’t really remote; it sits just a few hundred feet offshore, surrounded by other islands and the city of Newport.

But it’s a place you could go to be alone, and some days, that sounds pretty good.

I was reading somewhere about the difference between introverts and extroverts. For extroverts, being around people is a way to recharge. They draw energy from social interaction. For introverts, it’s the opposite. Interaction costs energy.

If someone invites me to a get-together after work, I hesitate. It’s not that I don’t like people. It’s just that spending time with them is…expensive, even when it’s “free.”

Part of the reason Betsy and I are so happy together, is that spending time with each other is very inexpensive, in terms of energy. We’ve often remarked that when we’re together, we both feel like we’re alone. Not that we don’t talk, or enjoy each other’s company – quite the opposite. But rather, as introverts, the work it takes to be with each other is near zero.

I’m more introverted than she is. I could be alone, totally alone, for a week or so before I’d start to get lonely. For her, I think it’s more like a couple days. But I know people who’d be perfectly happy with months of solitude, and I know people who wouldn’t make it an hour.

What kind of person are you? How long would you want to be alone someplace like Clingstone?


10 responses to “Clingstone

  1. I definitely understand hesitating about going for drinks: I have lost track of how much time I have spent telling people I am not unhappy just because I have taken a few minutes to sit in a corner to think and watch the world.

    I have days when I do not see anyone other than my wife and cats – although I do interact over the internet – so, assuming alone permits me to go shopping several times a week, I could probably spend several weeks on Clngstone bimbling around on my various projects.

  2. beautiful place, but I still can not believe this picture

  3. I’m very much in agreement with you that for introverts being with people “costs” energy. It’s not that I mind hanging out with friends, but being around people that I don’t know well (even if I’m having fun) can be draining.

  4. I’ve been alone and I’ve gotten to the point of feeling lonely much to my surprise because I also crave alone time. I think I would enjoy two weeks at Clingstone and maybe make it my yearly retreat…wow, that sounds soooo nice, thank you for discovering this not-so-hidden place… Btw, if I may, I wrote a little something of a post about this topic hope you get a chance to click on over… Read you soon, Alexandra

  5. I’m a fairly hard-core introvert. That I can remember, I’ve never been lonely. I could go as long as I pleased without human contact, I think. Yes, there might be a little bit of pain… but not enough to send me back from such a beautiful place as that- as long as I had a good store of other amusements (and by that I mean books).

    Wish it had a bigger yard, though.

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