Off the Beaten Track

I’m on a quest to convince one of my committee members that this trope of wanting to go “off the beaten track” is ubiquitous, even in the most mainstream tourist promotional materials and for the most conventionally “conventional” tourists. It is on the basis of this principle that James Buzard wrote The Beaten Track  – a seminal text for my line of inquiry – and on which I rest my claim that the rise of group tourism and mass tourism in the nineteenth century incorporates that trope as well as recognizes the irony inherent in going where everyone else has gone in order to feel off the beaten track. In other words, irony is at the heart of the mass tourist experience, and touring enjoyably means suspending one’s disbelief in order to feel satisfied that one is off the beaten path.

Here on this page, I’m posting various images from the past as well as the present that relate to this notion that a “good” tourist trip is one that diverges from the “beaten track,” even though that “unbeaten” track has been trampled by legions of other tourists.

(click on images to see full-size)

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