Filed under: brave new world | Tags: Kristin Van Tassel, Rolf Potts, Sons of the Beach, tourist, travel
Facebook has a map widget you can stick pins into to show every place you’ve ever been. ‘I love to travel,’ has to be in the top three claims on dating sites. Location based applications will be the next social virus for whoever gets it right, and so far foursquare are in the lead. Clearly, people care that other people know they’ve been to the right places, at home and around the world. In social media, travel is part what I want, and part what I want other people to know that I want. The ratio of one to the other is uniquely yours.
In real travel, there is what I think I travel for, and what I really travel for. In the essay Sons of the Beach excerpted below, backpackers value independence, frugality and acceptance of locals; but they are really looking for themselves in other like-minded travelers that they meet over there.
Contemporary sociological and anthropological tourist-behavior studies underscore how these backpacker protagonists are influenced less by their exotic surroundings than the social dynamics of home. In a 2002 study of independent travel communities for the journal Ethnography and Social Anthropology, tourist scholar Christina Anderskov identifies independence, frugality, and acceptance of the locals as central tenets of backpacker culture. But as novels like The Beach illustrate, these values are largely a self-directed rhetoric within the insular confines of indie-travel social circles. As Anderskov acknowledges, backpackers seek each other out, and the travel communities themselves—not the host cultures—ultimately become the focus of travel. Instead of looking for nuances and complexities within the host culture, independent travelers frequently cling to signs of subcultural authenticity in each other.
Sons of The Beach, Rolf Potts and Kristin Van Tassel, worldhum.com
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