II. Instrumentarium turystyczne - Multimedialne podróżopisarstwo czyli narodziny travelebrity

Barbara Koturbasz


Based on the BA thesis Traveler in the Land of Mass Media. Modern Polish Travelebrities and Their Travelogues, the article focuses on current phenomena related to travel writing and introduces the term and idea of travelebrity, i.e. a person who is well-known because of his or her travel stories. The text indicates significant changes within forms and meanings of travel writing which have appeared since the birth of mass society and the invention of motion picture, radio and the Internet. By presenting new functions of travelogues (a mock participation and ersatz travelling experience) and describing various methods of talking about journeys in the mass media (a live broadcast, directed program or news), the author creates the background for a new type of idol. By recalling Joseph Campbell’s concept of monomyth, she emphasizes the relationship between the journey and the status of a hero. Before introducing the concept of travelebrity, the author briefly describes celebrity culture and existing necessity for personified desires. The term ‘travelebrity’ is explained in terms of the reason for its coinage (lack of
a proper term), its definition, linguistic origin (‘traveller’ + ‘celebrity’) and description of the ‘travelebrity’ phenomenon. Travelebrity, whose position is firm, may evolve into a celebrity, because their engagement with mass-media often occurs to be a destructive one as a person becomes a victim of objectification and is covered by their public image. The article is ended with the reflection on the problem of truth of travelogues and the authenticity of travelebrities.