Impossibility of authentic experience? The existential estrangement which turns to performance

Serhat G., Uzuncan B.

JOURNAL OF TOURISM AND CULTURAL CHANGE, 2020 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume:
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14766825.2020.1748637


Traveling to the Eastern cities of Turkey with Dogu Ekspresi (Eastern Express) has peaked in the last two years thanks especially to the social media effect alongside the several kind of offline communication. In light of the notions of existential estrangement and authentic experience, this research focuses on the characteristics of this specific travel, and the motivations of its travellers. Around an auto-ethnographic research through a 24-hour journey followed by spending a full day in the city of Erzurum we had the opportunity to examine the different aspects of being a backpacker in the face of mass tourism, which is usually disposed to penetrate every kind of authentic experience search. The research also sheds light on the interaction between the travellers, traveller and the locals, and traveller and the destination itself. While the journey looks like a search for existential escape through authenticity in the beginning, it may involuntarily turn into a mass tourism activity in which potential backpackers' attitudes and behaviours are manipulated by fundamental tourism habits mostly shaped around certain commercial interests in different levels.