ABSTRACT

Introduction In an article published in The Guardian, travel writer Dervla Murphy laments that ‘in this age of mobile phones, cybercafés and satellite links, it’s harder than ever to truly escape’ (Murphy 2009). To Murphy’s mind, the digital age has produced a worrying trend in travel:

Increasingly, in hostels and guesthouses, one sees “independent” travellers eagerly settling down in front of computers instead of conversing with fellow

travellers. They seem only partially “abroad”, unable to cut their links with home. Evidently the nanny state – and the concomitant trend among parents to over-protect offspring – has alarmingly diminished the younger generation’s self-reliance. And who is to blame for this entrapment in cyberspace? Who but the fussy folk back at base, awaiting the daily (even twice daily) email of reassurance.