Risk, excitement and emotional conflict in women's travel narratives

Falconer, E. 2011. Risk, excitement and emotional conflict in women's travel narratives. Recreation and Society in Africa, Asia and Latin America (RASAALA). 1 (2), pp. 65-89.

TitleRisk, excitement and emotional conflict in women's travel narratives
AuthorsFalconer, E.
Abstract

This paper focuses on my PhD research into the emotional, sensual and embodied journeys of female backpackers. Existing academic literature has largely characterised this form of tourism as a hedonistic quest for intense, heightened states of experience where embodied sensations are highly sought after. However this type of ‘experience tourism’ can often result in tensions between how the backpacker constructs and negotiates her responsibility for personal safety with her desire for exciting , and occasionally risky, experiences. Drawing on narratives from female backpackers during my field work in India, as well as interviews with women who have returned home after an extensive backpacking trip to a variety of destinations in Asia, Latin America and Africa, this paper will focus on stories of ‘bad’ or frightening experiences, embodied constraints and examples of sexual behaviour that the participants perceived as carrying a high degree of both risk and excitement. Many of the travel narratives of the women fluctuate between promoting a strong, resilient character who embraces risk taking behaviour as part of an enriched travel experience, and feelings of anger, fear, vulnerability and loss of control. This can be seen most clearly in the conflicted subject position of many of the participants as their narratives display the tensions between how they should respond, and how they actually feel, towards local strangers as lone women travellers.

Furthermore, the paradoxical nature of these narratives can be linked to the shift in feminist identities, and reflect wider theoretical debates on cross-generational feminisms. Disassociating with feminism as a movement which is directly relevant to their lives, the participants in my study preferred to present a more individualised identity where they choose the activity of travel to strengthen and enhance their personal development. I argue that the ways in which the women negotiate risk in their travels with regard to personal safety, sexual behaviour and construction of ‘the other’ notably mirrors this trend. Furthermore, the paper concludes by suggesting that it is the very conflicts and controversies between feminist identities and the search for risky, intense and sensual experiences that either inhibit or enhance the excitement of the backpacking journey.

KeywordsBackpacking tourism; gender; feminism; sexuality; risk
JournalRecreation and Society in Africa, Asia and Latin America (RASAALA)
Journal citation1 (2), pp. 65-89
Year2011
PublisherSPREAD Corporation (Sustainable Programs for Reducing Educational and Avocational Disadvantages)

Related outputs

‘Skanky Stories’: Breaking boundaries of sexual taboo in women’s travel narratives
Falconer, E. 2019. ‘Skanky Stories’: Breaking boundaries of sexual taboo in women’s travel narratives . Gender, Place and Culture. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1080/0966369X.2019.1641069

“Who can play this game?” The lived experiences of doctoral candidates and early career women in the neoliberal university
Caretta, M.A., Drozdzewski, D., Jokinen, J.A. and Falconer, E. 2018. “Who can play this game?” The lived experiences of doctoral candidates and early career women in the neoliberal university. Journal of Geography in Higher Education. 42 (2), pp. 261-275. doi:10.1080/03098265.2018.1434762

Feeling the commute: Affect, affordance and communities in motion
Falconer, E. 2017. Feeling the commute: Affect, affordance and communities in motion. in: Spinney, J., Reimer, S. and Pinch, P. (ed.) Mobilising Design Routledge. pp. 200-210

Moments of Collusion? Close readings of affective, hidden moments within feminist research
Falconer, E. 2017. Moments of Collusion? Close readings of affective, hidden moments within feminist research . Women’s Studies International Forum . 61, pp. 75-80. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2016.10.001

‘Learning to be Zen’: Women travellers and the imperative to happy
Falconer, E. 2017. ‘Learning to be Zen’: Women travellers and the imperative to happy. Journal of Gender Studies. 26 (1), pp. 56-65. doi:10.1080/09589236.2016.1243043

Negotiating queer and religious identities in higher education: queering ‘progression’ in the ‘university experience’
Falconer, E. and Taylor, Y. 2017. Negotiating queer and religious identities in higher education: queering ‘progression’ in the ‘university experience’. British Journal of Sociology of Education. 38 (6), pp. 782-797. doi:10.1080/01425692.2016.1182008

Book review: 'Tourism and citizenship: rights, freedoms and responsibilities in the global order' by Raoul Bianchi and Marcus Stephenson
Falconer, E. 2016. Book review: 'Tourism and citizenship: rights, freedoms and responsibilities in the global order' by Raoul Bianchi and Marcus Stephenson. Hospitality and Society. 6 (1), pp. 91-100. doi:10.1386/hosp.6.1.91_5

Dans le Noir? Eating in the dark: sensation and conviviality in a lightless place
Falconer, E. and Edensor, T. 2015. Dans le Noir? Eating in the dark: sensation and conviviality in a lightless place. Cultural Geographies. 22 (4), pp. 601-618. doi:10.1177/1474474014534814

‘Seedy bars and grotty pints’: close encounters in 'Queer' leisure spaces
Falconer, E. and Taylor, Y. 2015. ‘Seedy bars and grotty pints’: close encounters in 'Queer' leisure spaces. Social & Cultural Geography. 16 (1), pp. 43-57. doi:10.1080/14649365.2014.939708

Book review: 'Sexuality, women, and tourism: cross-border desires through contemporary travel' by Susan E. Frohlick
Falconer, E. 2014. Book review: 'Sexuality, women, and tourism: cross-border desires through contemporary travel' by Susan E. Frohlick. Social and Cultural Geography. 16 (5), pp. 585-592. doi:10.1080/14649365.2014.923676

Sounding religious, sounding queer: finding spaces of reconciliation through congregational music
Falconer, E., Taylor, Y. and Snowdon, R. 2014. Sounding religious, sounding queer: finding spaces of reconciliation through congregational music. Ecclesial Practices: Journal of Ecclesiology and Ethnography. 1 (2), pp. 229-249.

Queer youth, Facebook and faith: Facebook methodologies and online identities
Falconer, E., Taylor, Y. and Snowdon, R. 2014. Queer youth, Facebook and faith: Facebook methodologies and online identities. New Media and Society. 14 (7), pp. 1138-1153. doi:10.1177/1461444814544000

Transformations of the backpacking food tourist: emotions and conflicts
Falconer, E. 2013. Transformations of the backpacking food tourist: emotions and conflicts. Tourist Studies. 13 (1), pp. 25-35. doi:10.1177/1468797613477769

Sensual geographies of tourism
Falconer, E. and Edensor, T. 2011. Sensual geographies of tourism. in: Wilson, J. (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Tourism Geographies London Routledge.

Book review: Putting the personal back into the political: 'Why feminism matters: feminism lost and found' by Kath and Sophie Woodward
Falconer, E. 2010. Book review: Putting the personal back into the political: 'Why feminism matters: feminism lost and found' by Kath and Sophie Woodward. European Journal of Women's Studies. 17 (3), pp. 284-287. doi:10.1177/13505068100170030802

Telling tales: a feminist interpretation of women’s travel narratives
Falconer, E. 2009. Telling tales: a feminist interpretation of women’s travel narratives. Enquire. 2 (1), pp. 21-40.

Student views of diversity in two faculties at MMU
Falconer, E., Jacobs, S. and Dawson, M. 2008. Student views of diversity in two faculties at MMU. Learning and Teaching in Action. 7 (2).

Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/99712/risk-excitement-and-emotional-conflict-in-women-s-travel-narratives


Share this
Tweet
Email