Michael O’ Regan
Dongbei University of Finance and Economics
INDEPENDENT TRAVEL: CREATIVE TACTICS IN THE MARGINS
This research note outlines research into the marginal practices which tactical independent travelers employ to operate critically within their worlds. Through ongoing fieldwork (interviews, stories, conversations, participation and observations), I argue that by utilizing Michel de Certeau’s description of everyday practice, the ‘tactical positions’ taken by independent travelers can be revealed. Focusing on the reflexive tactical practices of hitchhikers (and their travel across motorscapes) and backpackers (and their travel across travelerscapes), I argue there is enough practice-based evidence to suggest that small and fragmentary informal and/or purposefully performative practices can operate as creative ‘tactics’ for navigating or negotiating space differently to convention, expectation or habit. The research note argues that ‘tactical’ backpackers feel they can take possession of the ‘travelerscapes’ in which they operate, using their abilities and skills to produce their experience of it through their own tactical appropriations, if only within its limits and bounds of the travelerscapes. Similarly, hitchhikers can through tactical maneuverings in ‘motorscapes’ activate different ways of navigating public space (roads) to produce temporary and experiential forms of social interaction and connectivity. The note will suggest that the tactical practices employed by these independent travelers resist and/or maintain a critical relationship with the dominant order in their worlds and therefore, suggest the need for further research into whether such travelers suggest a harbinger of worlds to come as barriers to mobility fall.
Keywords: Independent Travel, Hitchhiking, Backpacking, tactics
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