'Although commonly characterized as an immigrant nation, Australia has been shaped just as importantly by the overseas journeys of its people, and the liminal experiences thus provided have not only been self-defining and defining of the other, but at times nation-defining. This special issue proposes a multidisciplinary analysis of Australian travellers and expatriates past and present: the reasons for and destinations of their travel, its impact on their identity, the roles they play, their writings and reflections, their linguistic and intercultural competence.
'Clusters of travellers to particular destinations give rise to narrative patterns which solidify into templates, the narrative equivalent of the beaten track. The essays that follow highlight both discursive grooves and off-piste accounts that challenge the patterns. In both cases, the emphasis in the essays is on the travellers’ active engagement in the experience and on their negotiation of existing discourses. For even those who follow the trail invest it with personal meanings.'