So, what is a liminal space? Think ‘disruption’. The word ‘liminal’ comes from the Latin word limens, meaning literally, “threshold.” Hence, a liminal space is a place of transition, a place of waiting and not knowing. It’s a place that travellers are, no doubt, intimately familiar with! Liminal places can range from borders and frontiers to perhaps airports or hotels, which people pass through but do not live in.
More a mental space than physical
But the idea of liminality is not limited to physical places—it can also be applied to the thresholds we experience everywhere in life. Whether its graduation, a new career, marriage, divorce, sickness—all will disorient us for awhile. But what could be more liminal than travel—and even moreso, long-term or perpetual travel?
One of the very definitions of liminality is the space in between—or boundaries. And if we take these in the literal, geographical sense, then almost all travel is ‘liminal’. To see another travel bloggers take on liminality, check out Lillie’s travel blog Around the World “L”!
Doorways as metaphor
This concept can be applied to other things, too, such as the idea of a doorway or a window. When you step inside a doorway, where are you? Part of you is in one room, and part of you is in the other. For that moment as you are passing through the doorway, you’re neither here or there—you’re in between.
That’s why we’ve always been fascinated with doors and windows. In our case, they’ve always elicited the essence of travel—crossing boundaries. And quite often, they are the subject of our photos when we travel. They serve as the perfect metaphor!
One problem we travellers face now, however, is that places are becoming more homogenized and similar, erasing the idea of boundaries. For example, if we see the same fast food restaurants in New York City and Siem Reap, the same convenience and chain stores in Tokyo and Toronto, the ‘liminality’ of travel is reduced—or sometimes eliminated altogether.
While there are no easy answers to this dilemma, we believe that independent travellers remain dedicated to exploring possible ways to bring back a sense of adventure, discovery and newness to the experience of moving. As much of the homogenized modern world seems determined to do away with whatever is ‘in between’, it seems that travellers will always be compelled to create or discover differences for ourselves. Or celebrate them in pictures!
Category: Dan's Blog