Introduction: Thinking about the tourist experience
Like innumerable others before him and since, Simon is writing about a journey. More specifically, he is writing about a four-year trip around the world on a motorbike (named ‘Jupiter’), vividly describing the places he visits and passes through, the people he meets, and his adventures (and disasters) related to his mode of transport. Significantly, he also reflects at length on his personal experiences: his relationships with the people, places and cultures he encounters, the purpose of his journey and, in particular, his own life and how it has been transformed by his travels. Thus, his book is, in a sense, a story of two journeys: the physical trip through time and space, with an identifiable beginning and end; and a personal, spiritual journey of discovery and transformation extending beyond the temporal boundaries of the actual trip.