Backpacker Research

Discovering Innsbruck

Some of you may have noticed that I’m behind on updates this month.  I apologize for the gap in content, and promise to dive back into things with lots of exciting new material in August.  As some of you know, in addition to authoring VirtualWayfarer I’ve been a full time masters student over the past two years in Communication and Cognition at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.  The experience of living expat life, and pursuing a two-year masters program abroad has been an incredible one.  As with all great adventures, this one is winding down.  On August 1st I’ll be handing in my masters thesis and completing my program.  As you might imagine, that August 1st deadline means that I’ve been up to my neck in journal articles, research data, and writing deadlines.

It’s going great, but I’ve still got lots of work to do before my final deadline.  It hasn’t left much time to breath, let alone sit down and write new updates here.  The flip side is, however, that the thesis is an analysis of Facebook’s influences (both positive and negative) on hostel and backpacker culture.  Through it, I’ve put together a wealth of incredible research which really helps delve into the role social networking sites like Facebook play in changing our behaviors and enabling our relationships. Once completed, I’ll be sharing highlights from my research and the final thesis here on VirtualWayfarer.

If the topic sounds particularly interesting to you, and you’re antsy to learn more, you can read my paper, Exploring the Influence of Facebook on Backpacker’s Social Experience in Hostels. Published earlier this year, it is my first peer-reviewed academic article and was co-authored by Dr. Cody Morris Paris.  Cody is at the forefront of backpacker research and has done some fantastic work.   The journal article is based upon a survey of backpackers and served as preliminary research for my masters thesis topic which covers a similar area.

Independent of my current thesis project, I’m teaming up with Cody once again, for a second look at backpacker behavior. If you are interested in participating, we have three questions that we are collecting responses to.

1. Share a story or experience about how technology (mobile or social media) has disrupted or separated you from the ‘travel experience’.

2. Share a story or experience from traveling in a ‘technology dead zone’ where you were disconnected from your online social networks.

3. Have you ever ‘unplugged’ by choice while traveling? Why? Please share a story.

If you want to submit your answers, you can either e-mail them to me privately [alex *at* virtualwayfarer.com], or leave them as a comment on this thread.  While it is not necessary that you answer all three (it is great if you would) please answer the questions in-depth while using specifics.  Basic information about you is also appreciated. Cutoff for submitting your answers is August 1st, 2013.

On a completely unrelated note, I recently switched VirtualWayfarer to a new hosting company.  The site is now hosted on an account by itself.  It is my hope that this should improve site performance, speed and reliability.  If you notice any issues (or improvements), please let me know!

Time for me to get back to work on the thesis!  As always, thanks for reading and your ceaseless support!