Saturday, September 12, 2015

Pre-trip skepticism

     As our departure to Jordan was approaching I started being more and more excited and yet a bit skeptical about my choice to travel to Jordan for my summer school. When I chose the course of Passions of Tourism and seeing the ‘unusual’ destination for a student group, I was convinced right away of applying for a spot. Although as the trip started to occupy my thoughts more often, I started doubting whether my initial determined choice was merely a decision with the intent of ‘seeking the unknown’ or as T. Edenson would say longing the ‘wild’ and look at ‘exoticism’ far away from home. While part of these assumptions remained true to a small extent, my skepticism started to change as I read more about Jordan in preparation for the trip and began to look forward to travelling to this country with a different motive and knowledge than before. Moreover, my skepticism about the destination fully disappeared as my family and friends started worrying about my safety and journey more than I did. I kept being asked whether I wasn’t afraid of not coming back? Whether the country was safe at all, given the situation in the surrounding states. Some even wondered why flights to Amman are offered despite the area being struck by turmoil. Similarly, the farewells before departure were also notably different compared to the ones prior to my more ‘Western’ tourist destinations, this time everyone seemed to be worried. I realized that in my environment everyone would react with similar fears but I tried to counter them, which then made me question whether there was some sort of ‘soft’ danger-zone tourist inside of me. Danger-zone tourism, a sub-category of dark tourism, is intensified by embodied feelings, and is defined as tourism to potentially dangerous places, under which Jordan could fall, however only to a limited extent. On the other hand I thought that my deeper knowledge about the country and following the media as preparation had made me tranquillize and as I will explain in further posts, I was right not to be worried.

Tim Edenson T, ‘Tourism’ International Encyclopedia of Human Geography (2009).
Dorina Maria Buda, Anne-Marie d’Hauteserre and Lynda Johnston ‘Feeling and tourism studies’ (2014) 46 102.

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