Travel writers and the nature of self: Essentialism, transformation and (online) construction

Madelene McWha, Warwick Frost, Jennifer Laing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


A lacuna of academic research exists that explores contemporary travel writers’ lived experience, particularly how they perceive their s​ense of self through their work as a forum for self-discovery and self-transformation. Using the essentialist self and socially constructed selves as theoretical frameworks, this research extends the concept of multiple selves to these writers and new forms of online media. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 47 travel writers and data were analysed using an Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. Findings suggest that many travel writers (co)construct an online self and use their writing to transform themselves. The cathartic process of writing, interaction with their readership and the importance of establishing a social identity online emerged as influences on the nature of self.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-24
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Tourism Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Catharsis
  • Co-construction
  • Digital
  • Self-discovery
  • Transformation
  • Travel writing

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