Accepted Paper:

Changing perspectives of home and away: travelling experiences of Estonian backpackers in Australia  


Helleka Koppel (University of Tartu)

Paper short abstract:

I focus on the changing perspectives of Estonian backpackers in Australia. I ask why is the feeling of being away appreciated and how people narrate about their journey and its influence to their lives during and after the travel.

Paper long abstract:

Backpacker travel is today a growing part of international tourism. The presence of backpackers almost everywhere is a good evidence of the increasingly mobile world. Backpackers are often characterized as travellers on a low budget with a flexible itinerary, travelling long term and appreciating close contact with local cultures.

The aim of my research is to find out why backpacking as a form of tourism has become so popular among young Estonians, in what way it relates to today's global and mobile world and what are the contradictions of backpacker ideology and practice. In this paper I concentrate on the changing perspectives of Estonian working holiday backpackers in Australia during and after the travel.

Usually the trip is seen as a break from a routine. The state of liminality, of being away enables backpackers to gain new perspectives on their society, their life at home and to reflect upon their own identities which is why several researchers have approached backpacking as a contemporary rite of passage. I focus on questions such as why do people choose to break their routines by travelling far away; how do they narrate about their experience; how do backpackers perceive their life at home while being abroad; how does the travel influence their life after that; why some people choose to stay abroad and create new life routines there.

Panel P55
Mobilities and marginalities