This work analyzes travel writing by Mary Wollstonecraft and Elizabeth Gilbert to demonstrate that travel by women serves as a technology of the self or a means by which to attain a certain state of being. This examination of travel narratives from two different eras also reflects a shift in the nature of travel from a knowledge-expanding endeavour to a self-indulgent one prioritizing individual benefits. This emergent emphasis on travel as a means to self-improvement rather than self-understanding perpetuates traditional values, upholds the patriarchal system of male privilege, and undermines the struggle for women’s equality in an era of apparent female empowerment and self-sufficiency. This project also functions as a testament of the value of an academic journey, one based on thinking about and reflecting upon a topic of interest with greater insight as the final destination and reward.
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