Quotation by John Carroll

The tourist is first of all an adventurer. The dream is of the pioneer, the explorer, the great voyager or the conquering emperor. He leaves the security of home far behind and sets out beyond the perimeters of the known world for fame, fortune and excitement. He wants to take on the minotaur, scale the Matterhorn, discover a lost Amazonian tribe or sample the delights of a Thai brothel.... The essence of the tourist adventure is exhibited in the contours of the excitements that it provides. And these contours are best inferred from the stories that are told and re-told with animation to relatives, friends and colleagues at home. It is virtually never what has been seen that is recounted with enthusiasm. When the sites are described it is in the form of ritualized cliches: the Eiffel Tower really is a wonder—we went up it, and you get such a nice view. It is rather the personal moments of the tour, moments of near-crisis, that in retrospect were exciting: when one of the suitcases failed to arrive off the luggage chute at Frankfort Airport. Touring itself has been turned into a routine, restricting adventure to those moments when routine breaks down.
John Carroll (b. 1944), Australian sociologist. Sceptical Sociology, ch. 8, Routledge & Kegan Paul (1980).
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