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LONE WOLVES? ISOLATION AND SOLITUDE WITHIN THE FRONTIER TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT.

The frontier traveller, venturing out into the peripheral parts of our world such as the poles, the peaks of mountains or the great deserts, must deal with the remoteness and riskiness of the setting. The traveller is mentally apart from friends and family, and immediate rescue may be difficult, if not impossible. This article explores the attraction of remoteness, isolation and solitude for the frontier traveller, using qualitative interview and biographical data collected in a study of frontier travel experiences. Some participants referred to intense, spiritual experiences at the frontier, with the remoteness and silence of their journeys facilitating reflection, both internal and external. Isolation and solitude appear to engender a sense of freedom and escape from the cares of everyday life in the frontier traveller, while the study also highlights the attraction of self-sufficiency in remote settings, particularly during the solo frontier travel experience, where the individual is forced to make decisions and manage situations, without recourse to another's advice, skills or experience. The resultant heightened challenge and risk was perceived as a form of authenticity by some participants. The links between isolation and opportunities for self-actualization are also noted in this article. The implications of these findings for marketing tourism experiences are examined, given the potential for the peripheries to become more accessible to tourists in the future, as well as the role played by culture and privilege in these types of adventurous experiences in far-flung locations.

Keywords: experience; frontier; isolation; remoteness; solitude; travel

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0467.2009.00325.x

Affiliations: 1: Tourism Research Unit, Monash University, P.O. Box 1071, Narre Warren, VIC, Australia., Email: jennifer.laing@buseco.monash.edu.au 2: School of Management, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC 3086, Australia., Email: Geoffrey.Crouch@latrobe.edu.au

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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