Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version


Thesis Advisor

Greg Urban


backpacking, rites of passage, liminal, communitas, collective effervescence, identity


“Abroad changed me” is a popular joke on social media and in banter between friends, but it actually has anthropologic merit. The act of long term travelling, or backpacking, can be understood as a rite of passage, and like other rites it impacts the identity of the traveler. This ethnographic study examines how the backpacker’s identity undergoes change as it passes through the three phases and highlights the crucial role of the liminal period. In this cyclical liminal period, backpackers are repetitively integrated and separated from communities in hostels in Western Europe where they experience communitas and collective effervescence. At the end of their trip, the backpacker reintegrates at home as a more cosmopolitan citizen of the world.

Included in

Anthropology Commons



Date Posted: 22 June 2020


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