Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-6c8bd87754-xvt4m Total loading time: 0.747 Render date: 2022-01-16T23:25:36.413Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

56 - Motivation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 July 2019

Kathryn Walchester
Affiliation:
Liverpool John Moores University.
Get access

Summary

‘Motivation’ is closely aligned with the semantics of travel, coming from the Latin root motus, a moving, before acquiring in the mid-fourteenth century a link with human spirit in the Old French motif. In travel writing studies motivation has had a relatively short inculcation and yet as a concept it has always been present; the journey cannot take place without a reason to disembark. Motivation can be understood in two complementary and interrelated ways; first in terms of the will or prompt to travel and second, the desire or impulse to create a textual representation of the journey. The purpose of travel is central to the form, content and publication of its textual representation.

Motivations for travel are, of course, numerous: encompassing those journeys made in search of land, water and food; for religious pilgrimage; trade; exploration and science; those journeys with imperial or expansionist aims; education and leisure. However, if we understand that, as Tim Youngs (2006, 2) has asserted, ‘[travel writing] is ideological’, these motivations can be seen according to larger, culturally dictated patterns of behaviour. Constituted socially and culturally, travel is imbued with the priorities and preferences of its agents. Dominant ideologies of the eighteenth century inflected travel as a pivotal resource to the acquisition of knowledge. For Enlightenment philosophy with its concomitant emphasis on empiricism, travel was an invaluable mode of scientific exploration of the world. As Alexander Humboldt (1814, 2) noted, ‘[T] he urge to travel to distant regions is the characteristic of the period of our existence.’ In the nineteenth century, part of the ideology of Imperial travel was to map and explore the areas of the globe which were as yet ‘blank’ for Western societies (Youngs 2006, 2).

The individual is however induced to travel by what they perceive as a combination of external and internal prompts. For example, pilgrimage, while organized by external convention, is prompted by personal belief and desire. Faith, of whatever kind, leads the sick traveller to travel south to the sun or to the clean air of the mountains. Since the Romantic Movement the motivation of self-discovery has prompted many writers to travel in order to experience enlightenment through the experience of alterity. In her account of travels to Antarctica, Sara Wheeler (1997, 114) admits that ‘I, too, often ask myself why […] fidgeting over the unanswerable question about escape or pursuit’.

Type
Chapter
Information
Keywords for Travel Writing Studies
A Critical Glossary
, pp. 163 - 165
Publisher: Anthem Press
Print publication year: 2019

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×