Backpacking memories: a retrospective approach to the narratives of young backpackers

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Numerous studies have found that backpackers experience their trips as highly meaningful, to the point of being transformative. Whereas the majority of these studies were conducted not long after the return of the backpackers, when the experience was still fresh in their minds, the current exploratory study is a response to call to study the deep and enduring impact of tourist experiences that raises the question of whether the influence reported by many backpacker travellers survives the test of time. The participants consisted of 20 interviewees whose first backpacking trip took place at least eight years prior to their interviews. Participants were first administered a preliminary questionnaire, which was followed by a narrative interview. The experiences of our interviewees have indeed transformed into meaningful memories of the profound inner processes they experienced during their trips, and those memories have endured for many years. They remember the trips vividly and still regard them as gratifying experiences that played a significant role in shaping their personalities and later life choices. On this basis, we advocate future research on backpacking, and on tourism in general, that considers the memories and retrospective perceptions of travellers over the years and not just immediately upon their return.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)409-412
Number of pages4
JournalTourism Recreation Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2018


  • Backpacking
  • memories
  • qualitative methodology
  • retrospective perceptions
  • tourist experiences

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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