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Transiting with the environment: An exploration of tourist re-orientations as collaborative practice

Journal of Consumer Culture

Published online on


Tourists undertake a process of re-orientation that is particular to each destination and respond to encounters with new and unfamiliar environments. Certain destinations, such as those with unique landscapes, nature or ecological environments, induce a socio-cultural imaginary that primes tourists for what kind of experience they might consume. Large, immersive landscapes and climates congeal with expectations of what each destination requires in order to navigate through it. Common bearings of distance and scale are skewed as tourists are positioned within immersive conditions that constitute the environmental surround. In such moments, idealised and preconceived tourist experiences contrast with the actual events unfolding and heightened sensory awareness intensifies the subtle and collaborative negotiations. Utilising my own first-person experiences while transiting within Nepal and Iceland, I reflect on moments where tourists re-orient with the environment in collaborative ways. I argue that by repositioning our individual expectations of tourist experiences in favour of transitions with the environment, potential arises for new co-consumptive and collaborative practices.