The challenge within the tourism academy to acknowledge the situated nature of knowledge within the research process is intensifying. Drawing on a multidisciplinary body of reflexive narratives and recent work in tourism that acknowledges the personal influences that construct knowledges, this paper embraces this challenge by offering an autobiographic narration of field work in Ireland, Scotland and Cornwall. Food tourism is employed as a conceptual vehicle to pursue a more culturally focused, critical tourism investigation, thereby contributing to work that extends tourism research beyond the sphere of management and business. Drawing on research involving indepth interviews with (food) tourists and participant observation, it is suggested that tourism knowledge is constructed at the micro-level, directly shaped by seemingly insignificant or overlooked moments. The paper illustrates how personal aspects of field work (gender, age, ethnicity, personal insecurity, loneliness and physical demands), combined with overcoming more practical issues (weather and transport logistics), should inform the contextual foundations of any empirical research; it from these moments where tourism knowledge is truly cultivated. Underpinned by qualitative methodological literature within a framework of critical realism, it urges others to embark upon a similar reflexive journey in order to develop tourism research into a robust sphere of academic enquiry.
- Participant observation