ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

Quality relationships are fundamental to human well-being. Friendships are voluntary relationships between autonomous individuals that can shed light on how bonding and intimacy are experienced in tourism environments. Adopting a qualitative, humanist approach, this paper explores the topic of friendship in tourism. Through a thematic analysis of twelve in-depth interviews, we examine how friendships are experienced by Serbian young to middle-aged adults in tourism settings. It was revealed five main themes underpin friendship relationships in a tourism context: intimacy of spaces, quality time, disclosure, navigation of challenges and relational realisations, or a sense of learning about oneself through shared experiences. Opportunities are suggested for researchers to extend these research findings.
Content may be subject to copyright.
LEISURE SCIENCES
https://doi.org/10.1080/01490400.2019.1656121
Dimensions of friendship in shared travel experiences
Xavier Matteucci¹, Ivana Volić² & Sebastian Filep³
¹ MODUL University Vienna
² EDUCONS University
³ University of Otago
ABSTRACT
Quality relationships are fundamental to human well-being. Friendships are voluntary relationships
between autonomous individuals that can shed light on how bonding and intimacy are experienced in
tourism environments. Adopting a qualitative, humanist approach, this paper explores the topic of
friendship in tourism. Through a thematic analysis of twelve in-depth interviews, we examine how
friendships are experienced by Serbian young to middle-aged adults in tourism settings. It was revealed
five main dimensions underpin friendship relationships in a tourism context: intimacy of spaces, quality
time, disclosure, navigation of challenges and relational realisations, or a sense of learning about oneself
through shared experiences. Opportunities are suggested for researchers to extend these research findings.
Introduction
Friendship as a topic has been scrutinized by social scientists for a century or more (Hartup &
Stevens, 1997), yet there are few empirical examinations of the topic in tourism studies
(Heimtun & Abelsen, 2012). In this paper we examine holiday experiences among a cohort of
young to middle-aged adult friends, with a view to better understanding how friendships are
affected in tourism environments. The paper seeks to uncover how friendship relationships
are experienced through shared holidays amongst same-sex young to middle-aged adults.
When approaching the topic of friendship, the first problem is, as Allan (1996) and Pahl
(2002) commented, that there is a lack of agreed and socially acknowledged criteria for what
makes a person a friend. Friendships vary greatly from individual to individual as well as
from companion to companion (Hartup & Stevens, 1997). Variation also occurs in who one's
friends are. Some companions are cooperative, outgoing and socially skilled; others are not.
Giddens (1992) postulates friendships as "pure relationships", which are characterized by
mutual appreciation of each other's unique traits, mutual self-disclosure, and equality in the
1
relationship. Heimtun and Jordan (2011) remark that spending holidays with friends often
involves compromises, which allows individuals to nurture and preserve their friendships as
pure relationship. In the pure relationship, friends are expected to be supportive, sensitive to
each others' needs, and warm-hearted. The inherent security and egalitarian nature of the pure
relationship, Giddens (1992) argues, is a site of self-exploration and self-construction. This
optimistic view of friendships as pure relationships has been challenged by Jamieson (1999)
who argues that "few relationships, even friendships, are mainly simply about mutual
appreciation, knowing and understanding" (p. 482).
Recognizing these substantial variations and complexities, a multidisciplinary view of
friendship is adopted in this paper. Discussions of friendship can be traced back all the way to
Ancient Greek philosophy. One of the earliest known written accounts of friendship can be
found in Aristotle’s  (Walker, 1979). Aristotle argued there are three
conditions for a relationship to be counted as one of friendship. These are that there is
reciprocal affection between the parties, reciprocal goodwill and a mutual awareness of such
affection and goodwill. These he regarded as sufficient and not simply necessary conditions
of friendship (Walker, 1979). He distinguished between three types of friendship – one of
goodness, one of pleasure and one of utility. Aristotle argued the friendship of pleasure and
of utility as only partially meeting the above conditions of friendship, while the one of
goodness was seen as true friendship of affection, goodwill and mutual awareness. While
Cicero similarly construed friendship based on virtue (Boyle & Smith, 2002), other
philosophers, such as Friedrich Nietzsche (2005) and Jacques Derrida (1994), interpreted
friendship as motivated by self-interest. Nietzsche (2005) posits that some form of hostility or
antagonism lies at the heart of any friendship relationship, and it is through a pinch of rivalry
amongst friends that individuals are pushed to overcome their own weaknesses. In the same
vein, Derrida (1994) conceives friends as singularly different individuals who preserve their
friendship by embracing their enigmatic idiosyncrasies. In other words, friends are rare and
never equal by nature; and despite their inscrutable differences, friends commit to each other
whereby their relationship rests on cultivating an enigmatic bond. This skeptical view about
the qualitative reciprocity of relationships, Pahl (2002) notes, is reflected in sociologist
Zygmunt Bauman's observation of modern societies. Bauman (2001) argues that people have
become obsessed with their own individual identities; therefore, relationships have become
increasingly superficial, which preclude full reciprocity and understanding.
2
Modern social psychology has built on these early philosophical roots by defining
friendship according to interactions and reciprocities between companions. Psychological
definitions often draw from seminal Hartup and Stevens’ (1997) work in which friendships
differ from one another qualitatively. That is, they differ in their content functions (e.g., what
the two individuals do together), their constructiveness (e.g., whether one normally resolves
conflicts with one's friends using negotiation or power assertion), their closeness (e.g., if
one's companions spend time together, they engage in many different activities as opposed to
a few and their exchanges involve self-disclosure), their symmetry (e.g., whether friends
influence one another equally or social power is distributed unequally), and their affective
character (e.g., whether friendships are supportive and secure or non-supportive and conflict
ridden). Although such a varied set of relationship types helps one define friendship, a limited
number of tourism scholars have examined this topic in detail (Heimtun & Abelsen, 2012;
Heimtun & Jordan, 2011). Yet, there are valuable reasons for studying the topic of friendship
in tourism in more depth. Our central research questions were:
- How do young to middle-aged adults experience friendship relationships through
shared holidays?
- In which way does traveling with friends impact upon friendship relationships?
Relationships and well-being
By understanding friendship we understand aspects of tourists’ well-being. The need to
belong, that is the desire to form interpersonal bonds, is an inborn fundamental human need
and essential to well-being (Baumeister & Leary, 1995; Ryan & Deci, 2000). It has been
shown the only factor that clearly discriminates happy people from unhappy people is the
strength of people’s social relationships (Maas, van Dillen, Verheij & Groenewegen, 2009).
Compared to unhappy people, happy people are highly social and have stronger, fulfilling
social and romantic relationships (Hartig, Evans, Jamner, Davis & Gärling, 2003). The role of
social relationships in fostering positive emotions, and other well-being outcomes such as a
sense of freedom, a sense of purpose, personal growth and self-acceptance has been
highlighted by Berdychevsky, Gibson and Bell (2013). Their study reveals the therapeutic
nature of women going on holidays together (Berdychevsky, et al., 2013). For instance, in
their north American study, women describe how girlfriend getaways helped them to escape
from routine, relax, rejuvenate and cope with negative life events. Similarly, Heimtun (2007)
3
found that for midlife Norwegian women the holiday context provides spaces for experiences
of shared joy, belonging, and feeling important in the eyes of other people (mattering).
Mattering expresses the need to feel that we matter to someone and that person to us
(Rosenberg & McCullough, 1981). Rosenberg and McCullough (1981) identify four aspects
of mattering namely attention, importance, ego-extension and dependence. Attention relates
to the feeling that others are interested in us. Importance denotes that others care about us.
Ego-extension refers to the feeling that a friend will be proud of our achievements or upset
about our failures, and dependence simply relates to the mutual dependence on each other
that people feel.
Other researchers have also alluded to the linkages between relationships, well-being
and friendship. DeBloom, Geurts and Lohmann (2016) examined how a period of traveling
may constitute an opportunity par excellence to focus on relationships. During tourism,
traveling parties have more time at their disposal to engage in joint activities and
communicate with each other. Beyond well-being, the significance of exploring the topic of
friendship lies in better understanding the nature of bonding and intimacy (Heimtun &
Abelsen, 2012).
Bonding and intimacy
Heimtun and Abelsen (2012) examined the meanings of bonding within the tourist
experience. Their research suggests the need for the company of friends is not just about
spatiality but that singles of both sexes prefer to be with friends when eating out in enclavic
and heterogeneous tourism spaces. Heimtun (2012) indicates that the shared sociality of
tourism spaces allows women not only to nurture their social single identity, but also to
maintain friendships in everyday life through shared memories.
Trauer and Ryan (2005) have suggested that perhaps what people are intrinsically
looking for through recreational travel is a privileged time during which people can share
experiences and connect with loved ones. According to these authors, "the quality of the
holiday experience depends upon the degrees of intimacy that exist between travelers" (p.
490). Evidence for this argument can be found in a number of studies such as the ones related
to women traveling with female friends (e.g. Berdychevsky et al., 2013; Heimtun, 2007) and
research which highlights how feelings of togetherness with like-minded people away from
home contribute to rewarding and meaningful experiences (e.g. Matteucci & Filep, 2017).
4
Intimacy is a multidimensional concept (Jamieson, 1999), which has been linked to four
realms of experience namely intimacy as physical contact, as verbal communication (mutual
self-disclosure), as a spiritual connection with others, and as an intellectual exchange of
thoughts and knowledge (Trauer & Ryan, 2005). In tourism settings, Trauer and Ryan (2005)
remark that intimacy can be experienced either as a highly emotional and authentic bond with
a significant companion or as an insightful, perhaps even poignant, situated experience by
interacting with the host population. In other words, while in the former case, the tourist
destination only provides the context within which intimacy is directed to a travel companion,
in the latter, tourists, by mingling with insiders, become intimate with localities (e.g. Glover
& Filep, 2015). In both situations, tourism spaces are infused with shared embodied and
emotional sensations, which if reminisced, can reinforce personal intimacies.
Methodology
We embarked on an interpretive research journey in order to understand how people
experience friendship in tourism settings. Our epistemological position echoes the
constructivist perspective articulated by von Glaserfeld (2001) who posits that any
knowledge about the world is socially constructed by researchers and research participants.
Because we cannot experience the world beyond ourselves, constructivists acknowledge that
their research designs and outputs are shaped by subjectivities and the contexts in which they
find themselves.

Convenience sampling was employed whereby we recruited the research participants via the
social media platform Facebook between November and December 2016. One of the authors
informed over 800 individuals linked to her Facebook account about the study, and the
individuals who showed interest in sharing their experiences were invited for research
participation in a café in Novi Sad, Serbia. All the research participants were distant
acquaintances to the researcher. Novi Sad, which sits on the banks of the Danube river in the
northern part of Serbia, is the second largest city in the country and the capital of Vojvodina
province. Our sample consists of six pairs of Serbian friends namely eight females and four
males between 33 and 45 years of age (see Table 1). We selected the participants based on
the following criteria: participants should have been between 30 and 45 years of age, and
have undertaken at least a four-day long vacation in the last five years with their friend. Less
5
than four days may not have provided sufficient opportunities for bonding and experiencing
frictions. We included pairs of friends in order to explore differences in experiences of
friendship among individuals who had recently traveled together. Friends were interviewed
separately. We opted for young to middle-aged adults because the nature of friendship alters
throughout the life course and friendship is impacted upon by the social context in which it
originates (Doyle & Smith, 2002). Indeed, Hartup and Stevens (1997) report that because
young to middle-aged adults’ friendships become entwined with work and family life, the
behavioral pattern associated with friendship amongst this group differs from the ones of
children, teenagers and elderly people. In recreational travel contexts, the various stages of
the life course have been linked to different vacation motives and experiences. For instance,
Gibson et al. (2012) found that north American midlife women use girlfriend getaways as an
opportunity to reconnect with friends and a means of escape from their everyday chores and
families duties.
Table 1. Informants' profiles
     




 
Marko Male 38 In a relationship Academic
15 years 2012 Thasos, Greece /
seaside 30 days
Dejan Male 38 In a relationship Teacher
Mina Female 37 Single Journalist
4 years 2013
Ada Bojana,
Montenegro / sea
destination
10 days
Nada Female 41 Married with
child Financial consultant
Mile Male 42 Divorced with
children Travel agency owner 15 years 2016 Kopaonik, Serbia /
mountain resort 5 days
Pavle Male 38 Married with
children Life coach
Jelena Female 43 Married Museum curator About 30
years 2014 Amsterdam, The
Netherlands / urban 4 days
Ivana Female 43 Single Accountant
Jana Female 34 Single Clinical psychologist
7 years 2013 Lesbos, Greece /
seaside 10 days
Ana Female 45 Single NGO general manager
Maja Female 33 Married with
children Architect
18 years 2016 Tivat, Montenegro /
urban & seaside 7 days
Zora Female 34 Married with
children Banker
6
All twelve in-depth interviews were conducted by the second author in the Serbian
language. The author is a native Serbian speaker who is also fluent in English. The fact that
all the research participants knew directly or indirectly the interviewer was seen as an
advantage as we sought to create rapport, that is mutual trust and respect, between the
participants and the interviewer. We hoped that informants would tell their stories and forget
about the role of the researcher, which would produce thick descriptions of the informants'
experiences. Interviews, therefore, took the form of informal conversations which lasted
about 53 minutes on average (including follow-up conversations with three interviewees). We
initiated each conversation with questions aiming at understanding the nature of the
relationship of the two friends before they traveled together. These questions sought to reveal
life stories which would provide us with biographical information. We asked:
- How did you come to decide to go on this trip with this particular friend?
- Where did you meet this friend in the first place?
- What kind of relationship did you have with this friend before going on this trip?
Conversations were interspersed with questions and prompts which sought to elicit
further narratives about the informants' experiences during the trip. We employed descriptive
questions such as:
- Can you recall your best experience with your friend on this trip? What happened?
- How did you feel in that moment?
- Did this trip help you get closer to this friend?
- If so, can you describe an event that contributed to this?
- Have you experienced any tension or stress because of your friend?
- What did this trip mean to you?

With the consent of the research participants, all conversations were digitally recorded and
transcribed verbatim for data analysis purposes. Thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006)
was then used to make sense of the informants' realities. Thematic analysis is a widely used
approach within the social sciences, albeit less in tourism research (Walters, 2016). Our
7
approach to data analysis followed an iterative process of coding, clustering, devising themes
and associating overarching themes to produce a rich description, as suggested by Braun and
Clarke (2006). First, and prior to reading each transcript at least once to grasp its overall
meaning, we reflected upon our own assumptions and personal experiences about friendship.
This reflective process helped us become aware of our own views about the phenomenon and
be cautious not to force our own ideas when reading the raw data. In a second round of
reading, we then started annotating comments (coding) in the margin of the text to describe
actions and units of meaning. At this stage, we attempted to stay close to the text and simply
describe what was going on there. In a further round of reading, we went through our
previous codes or comments and started devising themes to which the codes could belong to.
Table 2 illustrates the coding process. We then sketched a list of themes, reflected upon them
and clustered them by checking that there was no overlap between them. The following phase
was more theoretical in that we tried to make sense of the possible connections between the
core themes. Once each transcript had been coded, we compared the themes resulting from
each transcript in an attempt to identify patterns of meaning common to our set of transcripts.
In this integrative phase, we sought to move away from idiographic accounts to generate a
more nomothetic account of the informants' experiences by linking relevant theoretical
concepts from the literature, which might have helped deepen or revise our understanding of
the phenomenon. Thematic analysis was performed independently by two authors who speak
fluent Serbian. The themes produced by the two coders were then compared and discussed by
the three authors until a common understanding was achieved. For instance, our discussion
enabled us to elaborate the theme of  by merging three interconnected
codes namely self-discovery, realization of similarities/differences and self-confirmation. We
then checked our interpretive themes against the transcript for accuracy. Before writing up
the findings, to ensure that our analysis of the phenomenon was meaningful to the research
participants, we shared with three of them our interpretations. We described our five themes
by linking them to the experiences they had initially reported to us and all three participants
endorsed our interpretive analysis. This dialogical process was deemed important as we
sought to co-produce a narrative account of the informants' experiences which would
resonate with them. The excerpts used to illustrate the resulting themes were translated by the
second author; translation was checked for accuracy by the third author who is a bilingual
English and Serbian speaker.
8
Table 2. Example of coding
! " 
Maja: ‘I think of myself as a very tolerant
person. But I figured that I’m much less
tolerant than I thought I was and that lots of
things could get on my nerves. I was trying
really hard to overcome that feeling, but I felt
several times that I’m fed up with kids’
dramas. There was really nothing you could
do about it at that moment’
self-evaluating
becoming aware of self
getting irritated
trying to overcome
negative feelings
feeling helpless
self-evaluation
self-discovery
challenge
relational realizations
navigation of
challenges
Findings and discussion
The interpretive analysis of the informants' accounts has revealed the following five core
themes (or dimensions) describing how friendships are experienced in tourism settings:
intimacy of spaces; quality time; disclosure; navigation of challenges; and relational
realizations. Overall, these themes indicate the value of shared tourism experiences in terms
of strengthening friendship ties and higher levels of enjoyment. The contexts in which the
shared holiday accounts are embedded are varied. Four of the six pairs of friends went on a
summer beach vacation in the Mediterranean; one pair traveled to a mountain resort for
outdoor recreational purposes, and one pair visited Amsterdam for its cultural attractions.
Quotations from the transcripts are used to support each of these themes, which we now
present in the subsequent section. Pseudonyms are used to ensure anonymity of the research
participants.
"
This first dimension refers to the nature of tourism environments in which our informants
spent time with their friend and in which a sense of fellowship could be experienced.
Although the informants have experienced many places together, only some spaces, endowed
with special atmospheric qualities, were conducive to bonding experiences. The confinement
of bodies in closed intimate spaces, such as tents or bedrooms, provided favorable grounds
for stronger connections between friends. These confined spaces in which friends cohabit
during their holiday are sites of exchange and experimentation. In these new situations,
9
friends share objects and spaces, but also experience tension, exhaustion, humor, laughter,
silence and a multiplicity of emotions. The following quote from Pavle illustrates how
sharing the same bedroom in a small holiday apartment with his friend Mile enabled them to
become closer to one another:
I could have chosen a separate room, but I decided that we should share the same room.
Generally, I am not used to sharing a room with someone other than my wife. So it was a
completely new experience. I wasn’t sure what it would be like. However, it ended up being
very good. We functioned perfectly together and we were quite synchronized. We joked a
lot. He still owes me underwear since he had to use my underwear as he forgot to bring his
with him [laughs]. If he hadn’t been in the same room with me, it wouldn’t have been that
way. It meant a lot to me that we spent so much time together, so I felt some kind of
connection.
The two friends had known each other for over 15 years; however, it was during their
five-day trip to the mountain resort of Kopaonik in central Serbia that they became more
familiar with each other. This familiarity is evidenced by their "synchronized" ways of doing
and being and is further revealed by the anecdote Pavle tells about his underwear. When two
friends consent to share a small holiday apartment, they commit to sleep in the same room,
eat and drink together and use "the same toilets" as Mile puts it. Their mutual commitment to
sharing and being together is akin to the commitment of partners in a close relationship - the
intimacy of confined spaces where bodies are close to each other. With few possibilities for
disguise, friends are compelled to experience themselves the way they really are. This
commitment to intimacy of spaces is also reflected in Nada's account of her Summer holiday
with Mina on a floating river lodge in Ada Bojana, located on the southernmost tip of
Montenegro. Nada reports that her friend and her "spent time in a tiny house with two beds"
and that "nobody felt the need to distance themselves from others". "It was set that way from
the beginning", she adds. The lodge, which was surrounded by water and vegetation, afforded
Nada to deepen her friendship with Mina by sharing emotions and thoughts but also by sitting
together in isolation from the social world and experiencing long moments of silence and
contemplation. The quiet waters, the peaceful sound of nature around them and the remote
river lodge offered an ideal space for intimate sociality. The intimate quality of some tourism
places is also revealed by Trauer and Ryan (2005) who describe some tourism settings as
"centre[s] for emotional and physical exchange, a felt experience of sensual intensity and
complexity" (p. 482) and as places through which inter-personal relationships are enhanced.
10
The research conducted by Berdychevsky et al. (2013) similarly points to how the intimate
sociality of tourism spaces can be a powerful conduit through which women bond, share
emotions and feel true to themselves. While the permanent proximity of other bodies in
closed spaces bears the risk of irritating individuals in those settings, the participants
suggested that living together with their friend away from their usual domicile had fostered
their friendship. The following excerpt from Mile illustrates this point:
Being together all the time makes a friendship different from the one you have back at
home, but that does not reduce the quality of that friendship. On the contrary, our friendship
has strengthened.
Intimate spaces in dyadic friendship relationships allow friends to bond; however, as
Mile's quote indicates, being together for extended periods of time may play an even greater
role in strengthening friendship ties. We now turn to our next theme, #$ to illustrate
how time is spent with friends in tourism settings.
%
Along with the intimacy of tourism spaces, the research participants described their holiday
experiences in terms of time spent in the good company of their friend(s), which allowed
them to relax, and to feel mutual affection for one another. While relationships within the
home environment may often suffer from the constraints of busy careers and family routines
(Durko & Petrick, 2013), the tourism context provides friends with a privileged sphere where
friendship relationships may be (re)discovered. In this privileged sphere, in which friends
tend to dedicate more time to each other, greater attention is provided to a friend whom might
otherwise be neglected. This quality time given to others is articulated by Mile when he says
that "it felt good to be with a close friend for more than two hours at a time. Five days is a lot
of time...we could spend quality time together. So, yes, it felt good". By repeating the phrase
"it felt good", Mile's words suggest a feeling of satisfaction with time well spent to nurture
his relationship with Pavle. In the following excerpt, Maja similarly alludes to her satisfaction
with the quality time spent with her friend Zora at the terrace of a cafe in the coastal resort
town of Tivat, Montenegro:
There was one memorable time when her husband’s sister joined us with her kids for one
night. The two of us sneaked out and we were completely alone for two hours. We went for
11
a drink and sat by the sea, we didn’t want to go back so quickly. It was a completely new
situation for us. After seven days of grinding away and carrying kids’ swimming equipment,
suddenly we felt free just sitting at the beach.
The two hour quality time that the two women spent together reveals a sense of
&'$ which arises from a feeling of contentment ("a memorable time"), the cosiness
of sitting by the seaside, and the freedom and comforts of being alone, that is without having
to look after children. This quotation also indicates that, for Maja, the presence of young
children is seen as an obstacle to spending quality time with adult friends. The unequal
division of household labour within many European societies - including Serbia - with
women being largely responsible for raising children points to the tension Serbian women
may feel in balancing domestic commitments and leisure participation (e.g. spending quality
time with friends). In fact, Maja and Zora, two married mothers, had travelled to Tivat
without their husbands who had work commitments. This freedom from their responsibilities
as mothers of young children has been described by Gibson et al. (2012) as "an escape from
the ethic of care" (p. 46) whereby the mothers in their study felt they could relax and enjoy
themselves "without filters".
The feelings of comfort experienced by the research participants are further revealed
in the following excerpt in which Marko talks about quality time spent resting with his
friends on the Greek island of Thasos:
The overall feeling of being relaxed around each other really stuck with me. One afternoon
we were sitting under awnings, all four of us and four hours went past without us talking to
each other. Those four hours went by without anybody reading, listening to the music,
swimming or sleeping – we were simply lying there and enjoying the silence together. And at
that moment we figured out that four hours had passed without anyone saying a single word
to each other. I never felt that relaxed with anyone else in the past. I don’t have to talk about
anything. I’m fine that somebody is near me, and that they are happy that we are together.
Contrary to Maja and Zora who are ruled by the clock, Marko reports a state of well-
being which arises from simply letting time pass. Rather than doing something, Marko and
his friends are idle, sitting next to each other, silent and contemplative. The quote provides
evidence that by sitting still together for four hours, Marko is able to relax amongst his
friends (his male friend and their respective female partners). The social space in which
Marko experiences relaxation, which is marked by a communal agenda of idleness, is
remembered and narrated as a moment of shared history. It is this shared holiday history,
12
which strengthens personal intimacies (Trauer & Ryan, 2005), and that underpins friendship.
In her study with visitors at caravan parks in Australia, Foley (2015) similarly found that
idleness, which is a state of being rather than performing activities, provided the right
environment for the development of friendship amongst Australian holiday makers. At the
caravan parks, quality time is characterized by "letting go of time-thrift" and of the
"compulsion to use time purposively" (Foley, 2015, p. 18). The shared holiday environment,
whether at the caravan parks in Australia or at a campground in Thasos, provides a
comfortable space that fosters positive social interactions and a sense of bonding. Apart from
the shared moments of silence and idleness, positive interactions and bonding are revealed
through intimate talks between friends.

The holiday context, characterized by the comfort of days lived at a slower pace and the
intimacy of spaces, allows friends to engage in conversations and exchange personal
information about their lives. Through these conversations, mutual self-disclosure has
emerged as a crucial element of the friendship experience. Friends' talks, which were often
accompanied by food and drinks, included jokes and anecdotes, but also discussions of
private issues and concerns. When asked about a specific holiday event which illustrates his
friendship with Pavle, Mile recalled the following experience:
There was one specific event…My friend had personal problems with his marriage and had
dilemmas about what to do about it. That moment was perhaps the most memorable. When he
was, let’s say, out of his mind, wondering what to do, which decisions to make… I was the
one who made him re-consider things and think through the issues.
Friendship is revealed here through an act of self-disclosure to a friend about a
personal crisis. The sharing of private issues with someone is not only a demonstration of
trust in that person, but also an invitation to receive emotional support which one needs in
order to cope with experiences of hardship. Indeed, researchers have found that emotional
support received from friends help people go through stressful life events, which, in turn,
enhances people's well-being (Glover & Parry, 2008). In the subsequent testimony, although
Pavle does not openly refer to his personal crisis, he points to the benefits of talking to Mile
about personal life events when he says that "the trip was definitely an enriching experience":
13
We drank in our room every night, so we would have a beer night, or a wine night with some
background music that none of us liked. It was folk music... The whole experience was just as
it was supposed to be: [the] two of us, some drinks, stories about life, women, this and that,
about everything, with music and drinks. The trip has enriched us in many ways. We used to
be open with each other before but now we are completely free to tell each other everything
we think, so the trip was definitely an enriching experience.
Pavle discusses his friendship with Mile in terms of openness, trust, and reciprocity.
His words indicate that, through this trip to the mountain resort of Kopaonik, his friendship
with Mile has been elevated to a superior level of intimacy, trust and mutual care. The central
role of talk with same-sex friends during leisure experiences has been highlighted by Green
(1998). Of particular relevance here, Green (1998), who draws from earlier work on women's
leisure experiences, reports that leisure participation with friends can be a source of personal
growth, enjoyment and may boost self-esteem. Further evidence of disclosure is revealed in
the following quote from Nada who alludes to the special power of spending quality time
with a friend in a beach holiday setting:
I would say that during our vacation we had an opportunity to get to know each other,
emotionally. We were friends before as well, but we never had an opportunity to be by
ourselves and to talk about things that really matter. A relationship becomes less banal when
you are away from home and when you know nobody. So, we were on the same boat in that
sense. It just happened, like falling in love, that holiday has brought us closer together in
every way.
Nada's comments point to a number of aspects, which illustrate the special quality of
sharing experiences with a friend away from one's usual domicile. First, she notes that the
holiday context allows friends to engage in meaningful talks - that is "talk about things that
really matter" - in which friends openly disclose themselves and share their emotions. The
extraordinary time and setting of the beach tourism environment is emphasized when she
says that "a relationship becomes less banal when you are away from home". She also talks
about "falling in love" whereby she articulates how spending holiday time with a friend can
facilitate emotional attachment. The strengthening of relationships is also evidenced when
Mina notes that to nurture friendship one needs to be "focused on the talk and on the
relationship with that other person". A sense of connection is experienced through shared
moments of sociality which requires time, attention and dedication to one's friend. In those
shared moments, active listening, caring, and being open to the other are prerequisites for
14
bonding relationships. Nada's quote also intimates a desire for mattering. Importance and
dependance, which are two aspects of mattering (Rosenberg & McCullough, 1981), are
clearly apparent in Nada's account when, referring to her friend Mina, she says “I will never
be alone” and “whatever happens I have someone [Mina] to take care of me, to catch me if I
fall”.

A number of research participants discussed their shared holiday experiences in terms of
overcoming challenges. Anecdotes about friends navigating through difficult situations
during their holiday are numerous. While Jana and Ana reported negative experiences which
led to conflicts, all other informants' challenging experiences revealed positive outcomes. For
instance, Jana resented that her friend Ana, who is affected by mobility impairment, had used
her as "a personal assistant" during their 10 day holiday in the Greek island of Lesbos. In
contrast, Dejan told us of the many challenges he and his friend Marko faced before the trip,
while traveling, and during their stay in Greece. They first had to deal with the slow Serbian
bureaucracy in order to register Dejan’s boat trailer. He reflected upon this episode with
humor and explained that "getting a registration for a boat trailer in our country could take as
long as writing a PhD [laughs]". He also told us about a risky sailing journey during which
they "almost got caught up in a storm", and about Marko’s ear infection (quoted below).
Marko got an ear infection, can you imagine? He didn’t have an insurance policy so he took
mine to try to treat his ear. It was one atypical adventure. Luckily, it ended without any
permanent damage to the ear, so we forgot about it as soon as we got home.
Dejan remembers this painful event as "one atypical adventure" which they solved
together with a pinch of creativity. The tourism context in which friends undergo challenges
is a space where diversity, differences as well as solidarity can be experienced. While
diversity refers to unusual environments and events which force people to leave their comfort
zones, difference means that different personalities are brought together, all having to face
themselves. In this sense the shared holiday experience is akin to a rite of intensification
through which friendships are appraised and (re)negotiated. Intense and unpleasant events are
making peers test their friendships. Rites of intensification, Graburn (1983) explains, happen
periodically, as opposed to once in a life-time, and have the virtue of renewing one's social
15
world. This idea is reflected in Mina's comment when she says that "travel is a test for
relationships". The following excerpt from Dejan indicates that the communal navigation of
challenges can be a source of gratification, and, in turn, enhance friendship ties.
I felt, how could I explain it, fulfilled. We all felt equally fulfilled. I think it was because we
experienced small challenges together. Simply put, the overall experience made all the
challenges worthwhile.
Similarly, Maja's account below points to her satisfaction with how she and her friend
Zora have been able to cope with the many challenges of living together with children in a
small holiday apartment:
Since we had kids with us in a small holiday apartment, it was pretty inconvenient. We
needed to entertain the kids who are small and who were making lots of chaos… It could
have ended up differently but it turned out to be great, although there were a number of
weird moments when I thought I needed a little bit more distance. But you are where you are
and there is no way to move away from that situation. We handled it great. And we did it all
together. It was not like we were handling it separately, each one of us on their own, but
really working together.
The tension of entertaining and looking after young children during their beach
holiday did not undermine Maja's and Zora's relationship. In fact, Maja's words indicate that
the activities they engaged in (e.g. playing with their children at the beach, cooking meals)
may have constituted the basis of their friendship. This finding is consistent with the work of
Themen and Van Hoof (2017) who found that, in the context of amateur women's football,
"friendships were based on leisure activities rather than emotional sharing" (p. 549). Our
finding, however, contrasts the argument that females' friendships are primarily focused on
emotional sharing (Berdychevsky et al., 2013; Green, 1998), whereas males' friendships are
established upon social and physical activities. In our Serbian sample, while there were
evidence of friendships organized around emotional sharing among both genders (e.g. Nada
and Mina, and Pavle and Mile), same-sex friendships of both genders were also deployed
around social activities like sailing, going to the beach and visiting cultural attractions. No
evidence of bonding or intimate talking was found in Jelena and Ivana's accounts of their
tourism experiences; instead, these two midlife women merely enjoyed the company of their
friend while visiting the sites and museums of Amsterdam. For Jelena, friendship was
deployed around sharing activities based on a common interest, which resonates with
16
Aristotle's friendship of utility. Our analysis, thus, suggests a more nuanced argument around
the gendered characteristics of friendship.
 
Through their shared holiday experiences the research participants have also reported having
learned more about themselves and have experienced self-actualizations. We thus labelled
this theme  . All the research participants recalled events, which they
had experienced between six months and a few years prior to the data collection. Considering
the lapse of time between the data collection and the informants' actual experiences, the
informants may have only recalled and narrated events that were meaningful to them. For
instance, the week-long beach holiday spent with her young children and her friend Zora with
her children made Maja become aware of her limited tolerance of children's tantrums:
I think of myself as a very tolerant person. But I figured that I’m much less tolerant than I
thought I was and that lots of things could get on my nerves. I was trying really hard to
overcome that feeling, but I felt several times that I’m fed up with kids’ dramas. There was
really nothing you could do about it at that moment.
Maja admitted feeling awkward about her lack of endurance while her friend Zora
demonstrated greater patience with the children. In other words, witnessing her friend's more
permissive behavior towards children may have pushed Maja to reflect on her own struggle
against the children's outbursts. The virtue of having friends, perhaps, as Friedrich Nietzsche
(2005) suggested, resides in confronting us with our own weaknesses, which in turn should
serve to make us stronger. Contrary to the Nietzschean view, which purports that some form
of antagonism is necessary between friends for the self to thrive, the following quote from
Nada lends credence to the idea that complicity is what binds friends together:
I figured that true friendships are irreplaceable. I haven’t had that feeling since then. You
often turn to your love partner and assume that he/she is your ultimate partner with whom you
are sharing everything. But it is not always that way. Sometimes a friend could be your
ultimate partner, male or female - it doesn’t matter. And that knowledge restored my inner
peace because I figured that I will never be alone, and whatever happens I have someone to
take care of me, to catch me if I fall. That is my most meaningful experience, what it all
meant to me. I came back to myself, to my real nature, changed my perspective on life and all
that happened because of the unconditional support of a friend.
17
The time spent with her friend in Montenegro has made Nada reassess what
friendship really means to her. She has found in Mina a person who somehow embodies both
a partner and a parent, in that she is a person who altruistically cares about her. By referring
to Mina's "unconditional support", she intimates that Mina would give herself entirely to her
no matter what. This description resonates with Aristotle's type of friendship based on
goodness, whereby one finds in a friend an . This interpretation, which highlights
feelings of reciprocal affection between close friends is further evidenced by the following
excerpt from Mina who admits caring about her friend:
As time passes by, we lose or gain friends, but we normally tend to become more cautious or
concerned with forming new relationships. This vacation changed that perception for me.
That summer vacation and the friendship with Nada actually showed me that I am normal.
I’m open and I care for people. Here is someone who thinks the same as me. I am not as crazy
as I thought I was and I do not have to be quiet and reserved thinking that the time of making
close friendships has gone. No. No. That summer vacation changed everything, and not just
within me.
Beside reciprocal affection, the account above suggests that her relationship with
Nada has helped Mina sustain feelings of psychological coherence. Mina sees herself as open
and genuine to others, thus prone to establishing new friendships. However, she also
intimates that her self-view has been challenged when she mentions that, as time goes by,
"we normally tend to become more cautious or concerned with forming new relationships"
and "I am not as crazy as I thought I was". Through exchange and quality-time spent with her
friend, Mina has received positive evaluations from Nada about the way she is and nurtures
friendship relationships, which, as a result, has bolstered her self-esteem. The reassurance of
her self-view is evidenced when she says that her summer holiday with Nada has shown her
that she is "normal". Our interviews indicate that Mina's shared holiday experiences acted as
conduits through which she received positive evaluations from her friend, which
unambiguously boosted her feelings of self-worth. Berdychevsky et al. (2013) have similarly
found that traveling with their female friends enable women to reaffirm who they are and feel
authentic, that is to feel good about themselves.
Conclusion
In this paper we have explored shared tourist experiences amongst young to middle-aged
Serbian adult friends. The thematic analysis of the interview data has revealed five core
18
dimensions which underpin friendship relationships in a tourism context: intimacy of spaces,
quality time, disclosure, navigation of challenges and relational realizations. Overall, the
findings indicate that, when no considerable conflict arises between companions, shared
holiday experiences are associated with positive outcomes such as strengthened friendship
ties and personal growth.
Our research highlights the centrality of the tourist experience, characterized by the
comforts of experiencing life at a slower pace and by intimate sociality of tourism spaces.
The relevance of the physical environment in bolstering ties amongst friends has also been
highlighted by Heimtun (2012), Trauer and Ryan (2005) and Berdychevsky et al. (2013). We
concur with Berdychevsky et al. (2013) that the liminoid quality of tourism spaces, which is
characterized by the elision of status distinctions and the suspension of tensions linked to
everyday home environments, provides favorable conditions for bonding and for, what we
have called, relational realizations. Likewise, in caravan parks, Foley (2015) found that the
slower pace of life on holiday provides favorable conditions for developing friendships. In
our study, strengthened friendship ties are expressed in terms of emotional support and
attachment, trust, mutual care and closeness. Researchers from the leisure discipline have
reported similar dimensions. For instance, women participating in amateur football have
discussed their friendship in terms of greater sociability and emotional depth (Themen & Van
Hooff, 2016). In their research about women getaways, Gibson, Berdychevsky and Bell
(2012) report that midlife women use travel as a way to reconnect with female friends. The
social nature of leisure activities can often facilitate bonding and social attachment (Glover &
Parry, 2008), and allow individuals to cope with stressful life events (Choi et al., 2018). Some
Serbian informants of this study have expressed the need to feel that they matter to their
friends; mattering was similarly revealed in Heimtun's (2007) study among midlife
Norwegian women.
The individuals of both genders who participated in our study bonded not only
through emotional sharing activities (e.g. intimate talks about themselves), but also through
shared activities of doing (e.g. sailing) during which they sometimes experienced challenges.
Shared holiday or travel experiences are akin to rites of intensification (Graburn, 1983) in
that, in the course of coping with challenging situations, travel companions have to compose
their differences, and as a result, may negotiate their friendship relationship.
19
From a philosophical standpoint, most of the research participants described their
friendship relationships as preferential and reciprocal which resonates with the Aristotelian
notion of friendship based on goodwill and mutual affection. Our interviews also present
evidence of trust, intimacy and self-disclosure, which relates to Cicero's understanding of
friendship based on openness, equality and sincerity (Doyle & Smith, 2002). At first glance,
these findings seem to challenge the Nietzschean view of friendship, which posits that some
form of hostility or antagonism lies at the heart of any friendship relationship. Some
informants' descriptions, however, do indicate that by encountering a friend's radical alterity
we may be confronted with our own weaknesses, which in turn should make us stronger.
Perhaps, a lesson to learn from this view is that for friendship relationships to thrive, a pinch
of mystery should exist between two individuals. The value of acknowledging a friend's
singular difference is reflected in Derrida's (1994) argument which purports that "friendship
does not keep silence, it is kept by silence" (p. 71). In the same vein, Jamieson (1999) argues
that, despite inequalities between friends, intimate relationships may be sustained with
extended moments of silence. This perspective signals a rupture of understanding friendship
as primarily affective and reciprocal; rather good friendship entails some elements of mystery
about the other. Contrary to Aristotle's idea of the alter ego which suggests that an individual
is tuned in with another, mystery reveals an incomplete fusion with the other. This fusion,
along with self-validation, we argue, may be pursued through shared holiday experiences.
The philosophical and psychological literature provides strong arguments that being happy is
often attributed with having rewarding friendship relationships (Demir & Weitekamp, 2007).
Under this light, shared holiday experiences with adult friends may disguise an unconscious
attempt at bolstering one's self-esteem. While tourism has already been associated with a
quest for self-fulfillment (e.g. Matteucci & Filep, 2017), the central role of adult friendships
in this quest had not received sufficient attention.
Our study has several noteworthy limitations. First, theoretical saturation may not
have been reached after 12 interviews, which may explain why few negative experiences
were reported. Second, considering the time lapse between some holiday experiences and the
interviews, memory decay may have affected our findings. Third, some informants may have
been reluctant to communicate unpleasant memories. A fourth limitation relates to the middle
class background of the research participants. Our findings, therefore, may not reflect how
friendship relationships are experienced by young to middle-aged Serbian adults from other
20
social classes. Considering the dearth of research on the topic of friendship in tourism, many
opportunities exist for those who wish to extend the findings of our study. For instance,
future research may seek to explore the experiences of different gender and age groups across
different cultures. Furthermore, our research has focused on same-sex friendship experiences;
thus, it would be interesting to examine the nature of opposite-sex friendship relationships in
tourism settings. Our research participants have predominantly reported positive holiday
experiences; however, we cannot assume that shared holiday experiences with friends are
always enjoyable and satisfactory. In fact, a range of conflicts, such as the ones around the
choice of holiday activities and budget use, may arise during shared travel experiences (see
Heimtun & Jordan, 2011). Research on negative tourism experiences amongst companions
would help contrast our findings. Further attention may be paid to each of the five themes
presented in this study. Researchers, for example, may examine shared holiday experiences
with a view to understanding how self-validation processes are deployed. Finally,
longitudinal research may assess the ways friends, who travelled together previously, sustain
their friendship over time.
References
Allan, G. (1996). ()* Oxford, UK: Oxford University
Press.
Bauman, Z. (2001). + . Cambridge: Polity Press.
Baumeister, R., & Leary, M. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal
attachments as a fundamental human motivation. ,), 117 (3), 497-
529. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.117.3.497
Berdychevsky, L., Gibson, H., & Bell, H. (2013). Girlfriend getaways and women's well-
being. -, 45(5), 602-623. doi: 10.18666/jlr-2013-v45-i5-4365
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. %
,, 3(2), 77–101. doi:10.1191/1478088706qp063oa
Choi, W., Liechty, T., Naar, J. J., West, S., Wong, J. D., & Son, J. (2018). "We're a family
and that gives me joy": Exploring interpersonal relationships in older women's softball
using socio-emotional selectivity theory. .* Advance online publication.
doi: 10.1080/01490400.2018.1499056
deBloom, J., Geurts, S., & Lohmann, M. (2016). Tourism and love: How do tourist
experiences affect romantic relationships? In S. Filep, J. Laing, & M. Csikszentmihalyi
(Eds.), , (pp. 35-53). New York, NY: Routledge.
21
Demir, M., & Weitekamp, L. A. (2007). I am so happy cause today I found my friend:
Friendship and personality as predictors of happiness. -/., 8(2),
181-211. doi: 10.1007/s10902-006-9012-7
Derrida, J. (1994). ,#01$0/ [Politics of
friendship]. Paris: Galilée.
Doyle, M. E., & Smith, M. K. (2002). Friendship theory: Some philosophical and
sociological themes. The Encyclopaedia of Informal Education. Retrieved from:
http://infed.org/mobi/friendship-some-philosophical-and-sociological-themes/
Durko, A. M., & Petrick, J. F. (2013). Family and relationship benefits of travel experiences:
A literature review. -+, 52(6), 720-730. doi:
10.1177/0047287513496478
Foley, C. (2015). The art of wasting time: sociability, friendship, community and holidays.
., 36(1), 1-20. doi: 10.1080/02614367.2015.1055296
Gibson, H. J., Berdychevsky, L., & Bell, H. L. (2012). Girlfriend getaways over the life
course: change and continuity*, 15(1), 38–54. doi:
10.1080/11745398.2012.670963
Giddens, A. (1992). +2.3$
. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Glover, T., & Filep. S. (2015). On kindness of strangers in tourism. +
 50, 159–62. doi: 10.1016/j.annals.2014.10.001
Glover, T. D., & Parry, D. C. (2008). Friendships developed subsequent to a stressful life
event: The interplay of leisure, social capital and health. -, 40
(2), 208-230. doi: 10.1080/00222216.2008.11950138
Graburn, N. (1983). The anthropology of tourism. +, 10(1), 9-33.
doi: 10.1016/0160-7383(83)90113-5
Green, E. (1998). 'Women doing friendship': an analysis of women's leisure as a site of
identity construction, empowerment and resistance. ., 17, 171-185. doi:
10.1080/026143698375114
Hartig, T., Evans, G., Jamner, L., Davis, D., & Garling, T. (2003). Tracking restoration in
natural and urban field settings. -,y, 23, 109-123. doi:
10.1016/S0272-4944(02)00109-3
Hartup, W*$& Stevens$ N.(19974*Friendships and adaptation in the life course*
,),121(3),3555370*doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.121.3.355
Heimtun, B. (2007). Depathologizing the tourist syndrome: Tourism as social capital
production. +., 7(3), 271-293. doi: 10.1177/1468797608092513
Heimtun, B. (2012). The friend, the loner and the independent traveller: Norwegian midlife
single women's social identities when on holiday. $,!, 19(1), 83-
101. doi: 10.1080/0966369X.2011.617881
Heimtun, B., & Abelsen, B. (2012). The tourist experience and bonding. !"
+, 15(5), 425-439. doi: 10.1080/13683500.2011.609275
22
Heimtun, B., & Jordan, F. (2011). Wish YOU weren't here! Interpersonal conflicts and the
touristic experiences of Norwegian and British women traveling with friends. +
., 11(3), 271-290. doi: 10.1177/1468797611431504
Jamieson, L. (1999). Intimacy transformed? A critical look at the 'pure relationship'.
., 33(3), 477-494.
Maas, J., van Dillen, S., Verheij, R., & Groenewegen, P. (2009). Social contacts as a possible
mechanism behind the relation between green space and health. /,, 15(2), 586-
595. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2008.09.006
Matteucci, X., & Filep, S. (2017). Eudaimonic tourist experiences: the case of flamenco.
., 36(1), 39-52. doi: 10.1080/02614367.2015.1085590
Nietzsche, F. (2005). +.'6 (translated by Clancy Martin). New York:
Barnes and Noble Classics.
Pahl, R. (2002). Towards a more significant sociology of friendship. -
.1., 43(3), 410-423. doi:
10.1017/S0003975602001169
Rosenberg, M., & McCullough, B. C. (1981). Mattering: Inferred significance and mental
health among adolescents. !7/$8$163-182.
Ryan, R., & Deci, E. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic
motivation, social development, and well-being. ,, 55(1), 68-78. doi:
10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.68
Themen, K., & van Hooff, J. (2017). Kicking against tradition: Women's football, negotiating
friendships and social spaces. ., 36(4), 542-552. doi:
10.1080/02614367.2016.1195433
Trauer, B., & Ryan, C. (2005). Destination image, romance and place experience - an
application of intimacy theory in tourism. +, 26, 481-491. doi:
10.1016/j.tourman.2004.02.014
Von Glasersfeld, E. (2001). The radical constructivist view of science. 9
., 6(1), 31-43. doi: 10.1023/A:1011345023932
Walker, A. (1979). Aristotle's account of friendship in the Nicomachean Ethics. ,.
24(2), 180-196.
Walters, T. (2016). Using thematic analysis in tourism research. +, 21(1),
107-116. doi: 10.3727/108354216X14537459509017
Matteucci, X, Volić, I., Filep, S. (2019). Dimensions of friendship in shared travel
experiences. ., doi: 10.1080/01490400.2019.1656121
23
... So, there are practical benefits of the multidimensional conceptions of wellbeing that incorporate human relationships. Although social connections are rarely assessed in tourist wellbeing research (McCabe & Johnson, 2013), shared tourist experiences generate eudaimonic rewards as vacations which enhance couples' cohesion and flexibility (Shahvali et al., 2021) and research also confirms that shared vacationing is hedonically rewarding and can be a powerful vehicle for experiencing love (de Bloom et al., 2017;Matteucci et al., 2019). Ascertaining (and then measuring) the major underlying dimensions of tourist wellbeing is therefore clearly required, and the social connection dimension is highly relevant, potentially overlooked, and thus conceptually underdeveloped. ...
... First, DREAMA singles out social connections as part of affiliation (A) and, in so doing, puts emphasis on the social nature of most tourist experiences. This singling out is important as social connections include fundamental human emotions of love and kindness (Singh, 2019) and experiences of friendship (Matteucci, 2019). These emotions and experiences help build wellbeing and are widely prevalent in tourist experiences (Berdychevsky et al., 2013). ...
Article
Research on tourists’ eudaimonic and hedonic wellbeing has grown exponentially in the tourism literature. The paper re-examines the conceptualization of psychological tourist wellbeing. While there is agreement that tourist wellbeing is multidimensional in nature, it is unclear what specific dimensions, or psychological domains, underpin tourists’ hedonic and eudaimonic wellbeing. Models that summarize these domains seemingly overlap, notably the PERMA and DRAMMA models. Ideas on re-conceptualizing tourist wellbeing are proposed. A new conceptual model re-organizing hedonic and eudaimonic dimensions of tourists’ psychological wellbeing is presented for consideration in future research. This new model is termed DREAMA. It consists of the following dimensions: detachment-recovery (DR); engagement (E); affiliation (A); meaning (M); and achievement (A). The new affiliation dimension now includes both social connections and tourists’ connections with the natural environments, thus reframing tourist wellbeing conceptualization beyond human-to-human contact.
... As we have argued, the individualised boundaries that form part of the girlfriend getaway should be attributed to the selfinterested nature of intimacy (Jamieson, 2011;Layder, 2009;Matteucci et al., 2019). The pleasure that the girlfriend getaway generates lies in the subtle balance between togetherness and disconnection-being alone is as important as bonding. ...
... Two points emerge here. First, in the modernist China, intimacy is regarded as liquid, not as solid as it was in traditional values, which enforces women's self-reliance and obsession with an independent self, rather than feminine dependence on intimate connections (Bauman, 2003;Matteucci et al., 2019). Second, the feminist discourse highlights independence, maturity and capacity imbricated in women's travel experiences and intimacy (Gao et al., 2020). ...
Article
The girlfriend getaway, as a popular form of all-woman travel, has rarely been interpreted from the perspective of intimacy. Drawing on the concept of intimacy, this study employs a qualitative approach to explore Chinese women's experiences of girlfriend getaways. Three distinctive characteristics that encapsulate young Chinese women's girlfriend getaways are identified: a pure intimacy freeing women from oppressive social expectations and gender norms; an individualised intimacy that spans individualised boundaries and togetherness; and, a feminist intimacy stretching into sisterhood. The girlfriend getaway emerges as a feminist practice infused with intimacy. Applying intimacy theory to gender and tourism studies, this paper illustrates how women approach empowerment through intimacy and enriches the study of intimacy by encompassing social structures and China's context.
... Celebrating special moments, making memories together, sharing the same experiences with friends, and building a stronger bond are also common benefits sought in various types of leisure tourism Stasiak, 2013). Emerging literature on intimacy and friendship in tourism further establishes the idea that developing social bonds is the fundamental human motivation in leisure (Matteucci, Volić, & Filep, 2019). Cheng (2019) showed that graduation tourists tend to seek social interactions to strengthen relationships with friends or other reference groups. ...
... Kirillova et al., 2017), where hedonic pursuits were shown not to trigger the identity work. Escapist travel experiences may be pleasantly relaxing but they have a limited effect on eudemonic outcomes, for which physical challenges, self-development and -discovery are required (Matteucci et al., 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
Graduation travel, or a trip taken after completion of undergraduate studies, is a niche phenomenon. Given the dearth of research on graduation travel, this study is first to investigate the stage-specific identity formation when a sense of self is initially established. Underpinned by the dual-cycle theory, the study considered two dimensions of identity consolidation - exploration in-depth and identification with commitment. Based on the survey with 393 Chinese university graduates, five benefits sought emerged: Social Fulfillment, Self-efficacy Improvement, Escape/Relaxation, Interest Pursuit, and Self-esteem Enhancement. Social Fulfillment and Self- Esteem had a positive effect on Exploration in-Depth, while Self-esteem Enhancement and Self-efficacy Improvement positively influenced Identification with Commitment. Tourism industry over-delivers on Escape/Relaxation and under-delivers on other benefits.
... nd other family members and friends were much happier than when travelling alone.Gao et al. (2020) also found that travel can improve quality of family life, family functioning and children's development and well-being. Companionship further influences meaningfulness -higher levels are associated with all types of companions, other than co-workers.Matteucci et al. (2019) identified an association between shared travel experiences and positive outcomes such as strengthened friendship ties and personal growth. Consistent with the foregoing discussion, the following hypothesis is proposed:H5. Travel companionship has a significant moderation effect on the relationship between MTE and tourist well-being. ...
Article
This study examines the role of companionship in shaping memorable tourism experiences, traveller well‐being and behavioural intentions by drawing upon a conceptual framework of well‐being. Based on data collected from 430 respondents in Australia who had recent travel experience, the results from structural equation modelling (SEM) confirmed that companionship impacted on and had a significant influence on revisitation intentions and recommendations, as well as the enhancement of traveller well‐being. Differences in attitudes were evident between those accompanied by family and friends and those travelling solo. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are highlighted for researchers and practitioners.
... The on-site experience works that relate to the companionship type of love, include the works on friendship (Heimtum, 2007;Matteucci, Volić, & Filep, 2019) and kindness of strangers (Filep, Macnaughton, & Glover, 2017). Although these works do not investigate tourist experiences in-situ, they examine specific on-site events and activities in tourism settings. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Despite limited recent contributions, explorations of the human emotion of love are underexplored in tourism studies. Love can be defined as both companionship (such as friendship) and as passion (romance and sexual connection).The aim of this paper was to explore how the concept of love can be integrated into tourist motivation and satisfaction research. With this aim in mind, a literature review of tourist motivation, satisfaction and types of love was conducted. The findings, as summarised in a table, show that love is a motivator for tourist experiences, because love resembles established tourist motives, such as the motives for social interaction, kinship and relationship enhancement. As a powerful human emotion, the concept of love helps in better interpreting fulfilling, on-site tourist experiences, and in better understanding post-hoc tourist satisfaction. The paper proposes research directions for future examinations of love in tourist motivation and satisfaction research.
... Lyons (2010) suggests that the more intense the crosscultural engagement or the more challenging the conditions, the more likely transformation will occur. Deep human connectivity can create bonding and love between tourists and residents which can transform consciousness and lives in many ways (Heimtun & Abelsen, 2012;Matteucci, Volić, & Filep, 2019). ...
Article
To address tourism's challenges, a transformation of consciousness of all stakeholders is necessary. This article examines how outer journeys can transformation our inner consciousness, leading to awakening or enlightenment. When awakened, the individual not only experiences inner peace and freedom, a sense of flow, transcendence of the small self, connection with something greater, but also a desire to contribute to the greater good. It suggests that tourism scenarios involving deep human connectivity, deep environmental connectivity, self-inquiry and engaged contribution or some combination of these four scenarios can shift human consciousness. Within these scenarios, peak transformational moments can be designed to give glimpses or create persistent shifts in consciousness. Implications for the holistic development of destinations are discussed.
Article
This study aimed to identify the interaction actors, experiences, and results of tourists during their travels. Latent Dirichlet Allocation theme analysis was used to identify different themes in 9254 TripAdvisor items of user-generated content (UGC) and 15600 items of Sina Weibo UGC. A content analysis of 2000 UGC items was conducted using NVivo 11 software to uncover the details of tourist interactions. The study results showed that tourists preferred to share reviews on TripAdvisor and emotions on Sina Weibo. Seven types of tourist interaction actors were found: city, attractions, natural environment, companions, other tourists, residents, and service personnel. Seven emotions were generated in positive or negative interactions: joy, happiness, missing, awe, belonging, disappointment, and anger. Our findings provide insights for tourism managers and marketeers.
Article
This research investigates how the work spouse, a common yet overlooked close personal relationship, may influence individual and household leisure decisions. We propose and empirically investigate the influence of the work spouse relationships on consumers’ pursuit of a range of leisure activities, including travel, hospitality, and media. To do so, we build on the established literature to theoretically identify areas of personal and household leisure activities where one’s work spouse may serve as a significant agent of knowledge or influence. Our results suggest that work spouses appear to play a significant and previously unknown role in how consumers spend their leisure time. Further, our data indicate that this influence is likely to grow as the work spouse relationship strengthens and the partners grow increasingly comfortable introducing non-work-related topics into their relationship. Finally, we offer conclusions and calls for further research.
Article
Family vacation represents a potentially important but understudied context for child development and wellbeing. Using a sample of 9,539 children from 2009–2010 U.S. Health Behavior in School-Aged Children (HBSC) Survey, this study examined the relationship between family vacation taking and child’s life satisfaction. Results showed a positive relationship between family vacation taking and child’s life satisfaction after controlling for child’s socio-demographic, health related and family related variables. Additionally, age moderated the relationship between family vacation taking and life satisfaction, with the relationship being stronger for children aged 14 or older than children aged 13 or younger. Finally, child’s family relationships satisfaction partially mediated the relationship between family vacation taking and life satisfaction for children aged 14 or older, and nearly fully mediated the relationship for children aged 13 or younger. Implications of this study were discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Research suggests that leisure provides a vehicle for women to develop friendships in later life, yet little research has explored older women’s experiences of social connection in a team sport setting. This study explored the experiences of social support and friendship among older women who played softball. Focus groups were conducted with women on six softball teams associated with the North Carolina Senior Games. Focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed thematically. Three inter-related themes emerged from the data analysis: (1) friendship and social connections played a large role in players’ motivations to join the team and continue playing; (2) their approach to playing softball facilitated social connections with others both on and off the team; and (3) through playing softball, participants developed a social network that was invaluable in coping with life stress. The findings are discussed as they relate to socio-emotional selectivity theory.
Article
Full-text available
Anthropology has, in the past two decades, changed its emphasis from the study of classification and structure to that of process and interaction. New topics have become the focus for much research, such as work and leisure in the industrial world, the interaction between 'scientific' and native medical systems, and legal and extra-legal conflict management. To these, the topic of travel and tourism has been added. The courses described here function, in part, to train students, first as researchers to provide insightful accounts which may be useful to governments and other planning authorities in improving tourist institutions and ameliorating negative impacts, and second for future employment as consultants and evaluators in governmental and business institutions. For the majority of the undergraduates, who will not become professional social scientists, the course provides a partial preparation for work in the travel industry, as travel agents, leaders, museum officials and so on. Above all, the course gives all the students insights into the values and problems of the world in which they live, enabling them to understand how other people feel and how to be more sensitive and fulfilled in their own lives, which inevitably involve tourism. - Author
Article
Full-text available
This article examines friendships and social networks in the context of amateur women’s football. Studies of intimacies and friendships tend to situate women’s same-sex friendships around emotional support. The aim of this research seeks to account for more depth in understanding diversity in female friendships. The traditionally masculine (football) environment is peculiarly distinctive because it contrasts with traditional spaces found in private, domestic context that have traditionally associated with the formation and negotiation of ‘feminine’ friendship identities. Utilising 10 narrative interviews, the paper examines social and friendship networks in two main areas. Firstly, although non-traditional social groupings were evident, it was apparent that some participants had to negotiate a dual private/public role. Secondly, there were friendships based on sociability and these were integral to the connectedness of groups not defined by conventionally gendered roles, defined by emotional ties, but instead on collective interest focused around playing sport. These groupings are of interest because they are contrary to conventionality that frame emotional femininity, and foreground social activities that accentuate cultural complexities rather than confine friendship groups in terms of either masculine or feminine cultural practices. Drawing on the grounded experiences of female football players, we found that female friendships are much more layered and complex than represented in broader cultural discourse.
Article
Full-text available
This research note uses a case study approach to illustrate when and how to apply thematic analysis as a tool to interpret empirical material in tourism research and suggests a variety of research contexts in which its use may be appropriate. The case study demonstrates the value of thematic analysis in understanding and unpacking a body of rich, descriptive media text (such as magazine articles, social media, and marketing material). This note also establishes that thematic analysis can be successfully used with visual material, taking intertextuality into account to facilitate a well-balanced interpretation of underlying cultural meanings. A further strength is the ability to produce graphic representations of the analysis, which then provide a suitable structure for discussing the findings. Using research carried out on second-home articles in a New Zealand magazine from 1936 to 2012 to illustrate the process, a step by step description of how to apply thematic analysis to written and visual text is provided. It also provides a set of criteria to ensure the trustworthiness of the research output, and as such is a valuable guide to carrying out a rigorous thematic analysis of texts in a variety of tourism research contexts.
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, participation in flamenco, as a cultural art form, has gained momentum within Spain and internationally. Engagement in flamenco music and dance workshops in Spain has also become an increasingly significant tourism activity. Despite this trend, little research has looked into the nature of leisure experiences of flamenco. This paper seeks to address this knowledge gap by exploring how tourists experience flamenco music and dance courses in the city of Seville. Through a grounded theory research strategy in which in-depth interviews were conducted with twenty participants, the study reveals that four key themes characterise tourists' experiences of flamenco. These are: the social and physical environment, which refers to physical flamenco spaces in Seville and tourists' interactions with instructors and peers; secondly, the experience of challenge, characterised by hardship and sacrifice in the pursuit of flamenco; thirdly, activation of the sensual body or a sense of arousal; and lastly, an intrinsic and deep desire for self-discovery. The study demonstrates that the flamenco tourist experience strongly contributes to self-realisation and fulfilment of those who engage in it, or in other words, that the flamenco tourist experience is eudaimonic in character. The interview findings were linked to literature on self-realisation, self-fulfilment, true self, stress related growth and related eudaimonic themes. Eudaimonia, or a sense of personal expressiveness and self-realisation, has not been previously established in this context. Therefore the research findings provide a theoretical understanding of what a eudaimonic tourist experience of dance and music may look like.
Article
Full-text available
This study focuses on the development of friendships forged subsequent to a stressful life event and its implications for the health and well-being of women coping with infertility. In so doing, this research contributes to the leisure and stress-coping literature by expanding our understanding of friendship forms of support. The findings suggest friendships are important to health and well-being because such social ties create social capital, which facilitates emotional support (expressive action) and access to information and resources (instrumental action). However, the results also demonstrate there are situations where friendships burden women, through the norms and effective sanctions associated with the friendships, to participate in what amount to as stressful activities.
Chapter
A holiday may provide working people with outstanding opportunities to reconnect with their partners and engage in fulfilling social interactions in a stress free atmosphere. In a longitudinal study, following 35 Dutch employees before, during and after their summer vacation, we investigated if and how tourist experiences affect romantic relationships and happiness during holidays. Our findings show that vacationing not only enables working people to spend quality time with their partners, but also boosts working people´s romantic relationships in terms of relationship satisfaction and relatedness, which positively affects their overall level of happiness.
Article
Relying on the theoretical model of [Lyubomirsky et al. 2005, Review of General Psychology, 9, pp. 111-131], the present study investigated the relationship between personality, number of friends, best friendship quality and happiness among 423 young adults (n = 300 women). The main interest was to examine whether friendship contributed to happiness while controlling for personality. Friendship variables accounted for 58% of the variance in happiness. Results revealed that friendship quality predicted happiness above and beyond the influence of personality and number of friends, but friendship conflict was not a significant predictor. Additional analyses revealed that the companionship and self-validation features of friendship quality were predictive of happiness while controlling for gender and personality. The findings were discussed in the light of theory and empirical research and suggestions were made for future research.