The Cultural Implications of Coming Home

By Bitsy Wedin.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This descriptive phenomenological study explored the cultural implications of women returning from the Arctic territory of Nunavut following a canoe expedition of approximately 7 weeks. During the years 1995-2003, women completed at least a 45-day canoe expedition with a youth organization located in northern Wisconsin, U.S.A. Women departed from this group-oriented Canadian wilderness journey, to a Western fast-paced, individualistic lifestyle. Past examination of trip returnees suggested a significant number of post-expedition voyageurs detailed moderate or higher levels of anxiety upon coming home which paralleled the experiences identified by cross-cultural sojourners who reported experiencing a kind of ‘reverse culture shock’ at their return. The transition between foreign environments and home cultures has been associated with potential health concerns as related to psychological distress. Increasing globalization with travelers culture jumping at fantastic rates, may increase the difficulties with transitioning to the home culture. This qualitative study explored unsolicited journal entries from 11 female post-expedition participants currently aged 21–33 years. Analysis additionally examined confirmatory e-mails from participants further articulating the cultural experience of returning from a wilderness expedition. These women forged a culture intrinsic to expedition travel, one based on social complexities and survival. They returned from that wilderness, heaped in a new cultural identity, to a place overwhelmingly oblivious to that identity.

Keywords: Culture, Phenomenology, Journals

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp.387-398. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 649.895KB).

Dr. Bitsy Wedin

Assistant Professor of Nursing, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI, USA

Bitsy Wedin PhD BA FNP is an Assistant Professor at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, MI USA. Her research interests include studying life transitions in a cultural framework. She has focused extensively on young women returning from wilderness expeditions. Additionally, she has explored topics such as intradisciplinary mentoring, journaling as a data source, qualitative methods and service-learning. Bitsy lives with her husband and three young sons in Marquette, MI.


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