The loss of a life partner, whether through death or dissolution of the relationship, can be a distressing time in a person's life, causing grief and challenging self and identity. One way of coping with loss and major life change involves the process of adapting. This paper explores the way two women coped with and adapted to the loss of their partners through travel experiences. This qualitative interpretive research draws on the findings of an ethnographic study of the experiences of long term travellers in Australia. The findings suggest that for the two women in this study, coping and adapting meant altering their identity and life situation by abandoning home and travelling alone and long term around Australia. It meant drawing meaning from their travel and their suffering through nurturing, healing and empowering experiences encountered on the road. Each woman embraced a diverse range of travel experiences, mediated by their preferences and need to work through their grieving processes on their own terms. Travel allowed them to regain control of their everyday lives, reconnect with self and their lifeworld, reconstruct their identity, and move forward to the next stage of their lives.
Tiyce, M 2008, 'Healing through travel: two women’s experiences of loss and adaptation', in S Richardson, L Fredline, P Anoop & M Ternel (eds), CAUTHE 2008: Tourism and Hospitality Research, Training and Practice: "Where the 'Bloody Hell' Are We?", Gold Coast, Qld., 11-14 February, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Qld. ISBN: 9781921291333