Stan Robinson on adventure travel

Kim Stanley Robinson has written a stirring account of the potential future of "adventure" travel.

Because these days adventure travel is not just the simplest meanings of those two words combined. "Adventure travel" is a marketing category, an advertising campaign, a slogan, a genre of publishing, a wing of the tourist industry, a line of products and services, a registered trademark. ADVENTURE TRAVEL: It means "the effort of capitalism to package and profit from the fun people get from fooling around outdoors." From doing stuff sort of like things people used to do on their own for practically nothing.

This is called commodification, turning things you do into things you buy, and it's long since been true that experiences in America are as commodified as things.

That's been the growth area in recent capitalism, and part of what defines the watershed between modernism and postmodernism. But it relies crucially on convincing people that it is necessary to go through the proper channels to have fun outdoors; that if you buy your experience from professionals, they will arrange it so that you have more fun during your precious leisure time than you would out there trying to figure it out on your own.



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