The Young Adventuress: Travel Blog Analysis Term Paper Example
Travel has long been a human obsession. Destinations far away continue to capture human minds. Travelers, returning from short or long trips for business or leisure, attract co-workers, family, friends and onlookers. In ancient ages, moving across borders, if any, used to be a privilege reserved for ruling classes. As means of people's movement across borders continued to evolve, leaving one's local community, and increasingly later, one's own country has become a matter of fact and increasingly easier. An account of a distant place has become, hence, a matter within reach, if not physically, virtually. Tourism – an economic activity and a source of major revenue for countries – has emerged as a viable world discovery option increasing number of masses can practice. Given increasing connectivity of experiences by virtue of online media, projected images of "abroad" are becoming a lingua franca many people world over. Thus, cultural experiences are (re)produced over and again either by actual travel or by "experiencing" experiences of actual or virtual travelers.
Travel, conventionally, has been perceived as an "eye opener," "horizon broadening," and "carrying experience". Travelers return changed and acculturated. Interestingly, even a short sojourn counts as an enough "cultural experience", particularly in recent decades as moving across borders has eased movements and stays. Confirmed by brain activity (Zuo and Han, n. pag.), one's dynamic cultural repertoire has proven to reduce bias and increase empathy. As cultural experiences vary greatly, current interest is focused on culture- / nature-based experiences across borders, local or national.
Culture / Natures
Created by Liz Carlson, who opted for a writing career and quit a fulltime job (Carlson, n. pag.), Young Adventuress is a content-rich, experience-intensive blog. Organized into sections based, mainly, on destination, Young Adventuress spans a very long list of countries in a very intensive period. The home page displays main features: rotating flash featuring blog highlights; latest posts; tapped sections showing "Home," "Destinations," "New Zealand Travel," "Spain Travel," "Spain 101," "Get Inspired," "Confessions," and "Find Me". On right side bar are advertisements by bloggers and brands. Higher up on home page are meta-information including "About," "Contact Liz," "Media, PR, and Advertising," "Blogs of the Month," and "Instagram".
Young Adventuress states her purpose of her blog under "About". After study-abroad year in Salamanca, Spain, Young Adventuress started her European and, later, world trips. Backpacking and wanderlust best define Young Adventuress's experience as she refers to herself. Her visual presentation – under "About" – includes early photos in Switzerland (Mountain Jungfrau), Córdoba (Mezquita), Oxford, UK, Peru (Andes). Early on her world adventures, Young Adventuress engages in mountaineering, sightseeing and hiking activities, activities which anticipate her intensive culture / nature activities later.
Finding her calling, Young Adventuress
didn’t take long for me to figure out that 9 to 5 jobs and cubicles are not for me, so as soon as I graduated from my wonderful college in New England (Mount Holyoke), I filled my big backpack again and flew back to Spain for a year in Córdoba! ("About," n. pag.).
Young Adventuress's journeys cover almost all continents. Under "Destinations," she lists continents / regions covering countries she visited: Europe, Middle East, North America, South America, New Zealand, Australia and Asia. The list of countries is, indeed, extensive including: England, Iceland, Italy, France, Switzerland, Ireland, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Greece, Slovenia, Poland, Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Slovakia (Europe); Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, and Jordon (Middle East); Peru (South America); and Bali, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Mongolia (Asia). The list of cities is almost inexhaustible and is covered – and represented – in individual posts.
Two countries – New Zealand and Spain – are dedicated separate sections: New Zealand being Young Adventuress's chosen country of residence and Spain being her first international, long culture / nature encounter. Interestingly, Young Adventuress offers further insights into her Spanish experience under "Spain 101".
Young Adventuress assumes, apparently, an agency's position as she presents and is urged to see-and-write about places. Predictably, Spain and New Zealand stand out as notable culture / nature experiences. Congruent to initial assumption of culture / nature as a bias reducer and enhancer of empathy as well as a creative production and development of creative spaces, spectacles and tourism, Young Adventuress deploys several visual and non-visual effects in order to give her own account of culture / nature, to make sense of herself and of places she travels and, of course, of home.
In a particularly interesting post, "The Colors of Córdoba, Spain," Young Adventuress both combines her conversion by culture / nature experience and creativity. Introducing Córdoba as her "traditional Spain at it’s [sic] finest", Young Adventuress establishes her Spanish connection and hence her culture / nature conversion by differentiating herself from "massive (Asian)" groups and hence enjoys Córdoba as her unique culture / nature of choice. In her pronouncement "color and travel are intertwined," Young Adventuress reinvents conventional spaces and spectacles into ones of her own. Then, interpreting her culture / nature encounters visually, she ushers users / visitors / travelers in by a leading statement: "Here is my guide to Córdoba by color". Interestingly, she posts a series of her color guide including, most notably, "Red: The Mezquita," "White: The Jewish Quarter," and "Green: The Alcázar Gardens" (see Appendix for Fig. 1, Fig. 2 and Fig. 3 respectively) – all of which reproduce, ironically, promotional aspect of agencies (discussed later in further detail).
Typically, moreover, "Picture Perfect Kaikoura" post epitomizes Young Adventuress's conception of culture / nature. By immersing users / visitors / travelers in visual awe, Young Adventuress captures her very unique experience of Kaikoura, New Zealand. Kaikoura's setting is defined by Young Adventuress's love of sea, mountains and her newfound baby seals. Young Adventuress captures Kaikoura in more visual expressions. Exotic natural landscapes set against a mountainous background are shown (see Appendix for Fig. 4 and Fig. 5) – all of which reproduce – again – promotional aspect of agencies (discussed later in further detail), particularly a photo bearing a "WELCOME TO KAIKOURA!!"
History of Cultures / Natures
As mentioned earlier, The Young Adventuress invests intensively in agency's role. This is manifest in both blog's literature, visual and non-visual. A Broad survey of blog's visual and non-visual content uncovers a familiar characterization of cultures / natures for backpackers in which representations of cultural attributes and/or natural scenery are spiral and iconic images of destinations are reproduced in personal visual reports, e.g. photographs (Jenkins, n. pag.). Typical examples of spiral, iconic reproductions include posts such as "10 Things Kiwis Do Better," "Postcards from Luxor, Egypt," "The Colors of Istanbul, Turkey," "Photo Friday: Marrakech, Morocco," "I want to ‘Go with Oh’ toPARIS!" "36 hours in Bangkok". The very wording, as well, follows similar patterns of promotions of agencies. Undeniably, scope and depth of historical recalling depends on each destination, stay's length, and how much a destination is covered and is marketed by agencies. Consider, for example, cases of Egypt and Turkey: Lisa's visual and non-visual reporting of Egypt's and Turkey's forays follows similar patters perceived by tour operators and travel agents (Baloglu & Mangaloglu, n. pag.).
Places, people, food, paintings and skylines – all convey a "touristy" appeal to Lisa's blog. Topic choice, as well, is embedded in an agential culture of promotion and spiral reproduction of visual and non-visual discourse. Lisa's references are also literary – "How Jane Austen Taught Me to Be a Fearless Female Traveler" – a literariness which maintains rather than transcends conventional depictions and representations. One most interesting section of all is "Spain Budget" under "Spain 101". Each Spanish city is assigned a photo and what appears as an exhaustive list of prices for food, drinks, accommodations, attractions, etc – as in conventional, promotional brochure.
Politics of Cultures / Natures
Notably, Young Adventuress recounts her world adventures as a Millennial. Born into an era of extreme speed and constant communication, Young Adventuress reports her wanderings in her blog in a uniquely commercialized fashion. In her expression of her passions and desires, Young Adventuress reproduces global structures of hospitality industry and appropriation of places, people and meanings (Souguk, n. pag.). This is, again, interpreted visually and non-visually.
Visually, Young Adventuress reproduces images of local people in countries such as Mongolia, Thailand, Morocco and Egypt as is conventionally publicized by agencies, not as co-experiencing partners, but as passion and desire satisfiers of insatiable travelers. Places – like souqs – are meant to be marketplaces of cultural representations embodied in paraphernalia bought for pleasure (desire immersion) and memory (representation fixation).
Non-visually, Young Adventuress discourses of global, economic capitalistic monopoly of hospitality. This is manifest in Young Adventuress's adoption of blog monetizing model. By offering a USD 100 monthly for blog hosting, Young Adventuress maintains a politics of economic control over not only travel business bur also monetizing blogging experience. Further, by reproducing iconic images by means of spiral representation and maintaining aspirations for specific destinations (such as Paris), global power politics of hospitality business are maintained.
Overall, Young Adventuress is an interesting example of an American Millennial whose wanderlust represents an interesting combination of culture / nature experiences. Setting out on global adventures, driven by her passion for writing, Young Adventuress reports her global wanderings in her blog. Breaking away with a conventional lifestyle, Young Adventuress embarks on a long journey of self-expression and representation. In process, Young Adventuress repackages experiences from her unique perspective.
As she matures, Young Adventuress provides her own expertise on travel Do's and Don'ts. Like professional agencies, Young Adventuress caters for her clients (followers) by responding to requests and/or raising questions and surveying opinions. Her dedicated sections of "pain 101" and "Get Inspired" offer insights into Young Adventuress's cultures / natures: people, places and food, among a lot of different components, are represented, "offered" and "sold" for potential service buyers, i.e. blog hosting.
One notable, fundamental feature of Young Adventure is, of course, medium. Presented on an online platform, Young Adventuress employs Internet's vast potential of both content sourcing and propagation as well as user / consumer visibility. Typical, again, of a Millennial, Young Adventuress surpasses conventional barriers to provided-consumer relationship and addresses users / consumers directly, making her recipes much more friendly and faster in maintaining stereotypical representations. Paradoxically, given medium's dynamism, Young Adventuress's accounts only maintain established representations by dwelling over and again.
In conclusion, cultures / natures in Young Adventuress blog are investigated. Cultures / natures are defined as experiences / settings of character alien to one's native culture / nature. Young Adventuress apparently exhibits instances of cultural bias reduction and creative reproduction of cultural experiences. By further investigation, Young Adventuress is shown to represent, spirally, iconic images of destinations in visual and non-visual representations. Further, by building a community following and adopting monetizing models of blogging experiences, Young Adventuress does not only maintain global, economic structures of exploitation but also promotes such structures globally to unlimited base of users / consumers. If anything, Young Adventuress epitomizes a blogging experience which is paradoxically both innovative and conventional: innovative by assuming a position of agency providers and commercial service form a unique platform of an individual blogger; and conventional by maintaining existing power structures of economic exploitation.
"About." Web blog post. Young Adventuress. Young Adventuress, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2015.
Baloglu, Seyhmus, and Mehmet Mangaloglu. "Tourism destination images of Turkey, Egypt, Greece, and Italy as perceived by US-based tour operators and travel agents." Tourism Management 22.1 (2001): 1–9. ScienceDirect. Web. 20 Feb. 2015.
Carlton, Liz. "How I quit my job to travel: The blogger." BBC Travel. BBC, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2015.
Jenkins, Olivia. "Photography and travel brochures: The circle of representation." Tourism Geographies: An International Journal of Tourism Space, Place and Environment 5.3 (2010): 305-328. Taylor & Francis Online. Web. 20 Feb. 2015.
Richards, Greg, and Julie Wilson. "Developing creativity in tourist experiences: A solution to the serial reproduction of culture?" Tourism Management 27.6 (2006): 1209–1223. ScienceDirect. Web. 20 Feb. 2015.
Soguk, Nevzat. "Incarcerating Travels: Travel Stories, Tourist Orders, and the Politics of the 'Hawai'ian Paradise'".Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change 1.1 (2010): 29-53. Taylor & Francis Online. Web. 20 Feb. 2015.
Young Adventuress. Web blog. Young Adventuress, 2015. Web. 20 Feb. 2015.
Zuo, Xiangyu, and Shihui Han. "Cultural experiences reduce racial bias in neural responses to others’ suffering." Culture and Brain 1.1 (2013): 34-46. SpringerLink. Web. 20 Feb. 2015.
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