The World from my Room:
Tourism and the Intimacies of the Familiar

by Michael David Robinson 


The journey is normally conceived of as starting and ending at 'home', with tourism playing on the interstitial paradoxes of being away and being home. But while we can conceptualise tourism as the behaviours and experiences that occur in these exterior and in-between spaces and times of being - the search for difference, pleasure, novelty and, the exotic 'other' - tourism is nonetheless grounded in interior realities of human existence; what Heidegger refers to as 'Dasein'. Our relationships with the world as tourists can be conceived as extensions of our relationships with the world as people, grounded in the experiences of everyday, the familiarities of the ordinary and patterns and processes of our interactions with one another and the material world. Drawing on various theorists such as Bachelard, De Certeau, Rybczynski and Heidegger, this paper explores the notion of 'groundedness' in tourism through focusing on the ambiguous space and setting of the hotel room. Figures vary, but it has been estimated that international tourists typically spend around 20% of their holiday time in their hotel room (over and above for the purposes of sleeping!).


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