This article explores how identity is constituted through narrative performance. It contends that in an interpersonal context of narration, a profound experience of self-change is achieved intersubjectively, in-between narrators and audiences. Performatively, the narrators’ adventurous travel-narrations, which are generated by a particular type of touristic practice—namely backpacking—collapse the divides between denotation and expression, between the narrated events and the events of their narration. A heightened experiential state is attained when performers conversationally position their audiences in a unique role, a role that subtly implicates the audience and suggests that it too is undergoing self-change while listening to narratives. Because performances are social events, the personal sense of self-change tourists establish materializes in the social realm, where the backpackers assume a desired social identity.
Keywords: Identity; Personal Narrative; Performance; Tourism; Backpacking; Self-Change.