Researchers from the University of Surrey investigated how frequent, long-distance travel is represented in mass and social media. They found that the images portrayed do not take into account the damaging side effects of frequent travel such as jet-lag, deep vein thrombosis, radiation exposure, stress, loneliness and distance from community and family networks.
The study found that those with ‘hypermobile’ lifestyles were often seen as having a higher social status. By assessing how first-class flights, ‘must-see’ destinations and frequent-flyer programmes are represented, glamorising hypermobility as exciting, appealing and exclusive, the study shows how the ‘dark side’ of travel is ignored.
According to the researchers, the level of physiological, physical and societal stress that frequent travels places upon individuals has potentially serious and long-term negative effects that range from the breaking down of family relationships, to changes in our genes due to lack of sleep.
Cohen, S.A. & Gössling, S. A darker side of hypermobility. Environment and Planning A, 2015 (in press)