Exertion and Escaping the Holiday Rationale

Research output: Contribution to conference - NOT published in proceeding or journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


Enjoyment has a difficult place in academia where it rarely features in its own right, as an intrinsically worthwhile pursuit. In this work we are interested in a particular form of enjoyment: holiday making, or traveling for enjoyment. In technology, this features more prominently in terms of transportation (e.g. planes, cars, booking websites) or recommender systems (e.g. tripadvisor, yelp). Our work focuses on long term, long distance, cycling, which defies traditional rationales of holiday mentality, involving exertion, exhaustion, surrendering to the elements, to the moment, and temporalities. It is about “escaping the world of interiors” to quote Rebecca Solnit, challenging 'yelp mentality'.
We conducted a study of long term cyclists interviewed before and after their journeys. The interviews were focused on motivations and experiences, as well as on technological and infrastructural aspects. Amongst many aspects, participants reflected on the particular tradeoffs between pace and efficiency particular to these experiences, the attention to infrastructural constraints and opportunities as well as on the use of digital technologies. This problematises self-tracking technologies, often anchored in ideals of efficiency and performance, while simultaneously engaging in the kinds of bodily activities that these technologies are built for.
This work adds to our understanding on the role that technology has in enjoyment, and particularly, holiday making. We reconsider enjoyment through the lenses of bodily exertion, the inescapable steadiness of pace, repair work and scarcity of choice and infrastructure.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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