In the spring of 1997 one Norwegian newspaper wrote about a young woman from Spain who had walked from Oslo to the North Cape. A distance of over 2100 km. She made the headlines not only because she had walked the distance, but because she said she was walking in search of her own, personal north point. Her extraordinary journey caught my curiosity, and when I read about her, I knew I wished to talk to her to find answers to my questions: What is the north? What is so important about the North Cape? The reason for my curiosity was that I was researching the meanings of the North Cape, a place located in the northernmost part of Norway and a popular tourist destination for travellers and holiday-makers from all around the globe. I intuitively felt that there were answers to my questions in this woman’s journey, though I did not understand exactly what these might be at that point.
This is the start of the introduction to my book "Making place, making self: Travel, subjectivity and sexual difference" published by Ashgate in 2005. The book, which is based on my doctoral research at the University of Oslo, explored new understandings of place and place-making in late modernity, covering key themes of place and space, tourism and mobility, sexual difference and subjectivity. Using a series of individual life stories, I developed a polyvocal account of leisure and life journeys. North Cape in Norway is the northern-most point of mainland Europe. But it is also a tourist destination and an evocation of a reliable and secure point of reference, an idea that may give meaning to an individual's life. In this book, I combined post-Lacanian versions of feminist psycho-analytical thinking with phenomenological and existential thinking, where place-making is linked with self-making and homecoming. Many years later, looking back, it feels good to have started my writings on elemental geography by traveling to the north. I am again searching for questions and answers relating to journeying in internal and external landscapes. Where will I go now?
Making Place, Making Self is available from Routledge.com.