Understanding the Meanings and Interpretations of Adventure Experiences: The Perspectives of Multiday Hikers

Joanna Large, Hannelene Schilar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
102 Downloads (Pure)


Our paper argues for an understanding of adventure as a meaningful subjective experience. We explore the motivations and experiences of multiday hikers (n = 21) in two settings: (1) independent solo-hikers in the northern Swedish mountain range and (2) participants of a guided “charity challenge” six day hike in the Nepalese Himalayas. Although the nature of the two experiential contexts differed considerably in terms of commodification, our material highlights similarities regarding the individual adventure experience. Adventure tourism literature often seeks to categorise adventure and questions whether commercial adventure can even really be adventure. We draw attention to the ways in which the hikers tell their adventure and contextualise their quest for the extraordinary within their ordinary. Adventures offer the extraordinary, yet they also contain ordinary rhythms of eating, sleeping, walking, for example. Although mundane, these are an integral part of the adventure experience. The article demonstrates how hikers in two differing contexts and at quite different levels of commodification do perceive and feel to have an “authentic” adventure experience. This allows us to challenge the negative light in which much of the adventure tourism field paints commodified adventure as somewhat lesser and build instead a more inclusive understanding of adventure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-342
Number of pages12
JournalScandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism
Issue number4
Early online date3 Oct 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Oct 2018


  • hiking
  • adventure experience
  • interpretations
  • meaning
  • slow adventure

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