When people meet me, they ask me this redundant question about travel and most of them express their jealousness on hearing my hypermobility. Elite forms of movement, such as for business, holidays or diplomatic journeys, are largely shown in a positive light in contemporary societies. Although there is unevenness in the portrayal of corporeal mobilities with growing fear over epidemiological threats facilitated through global mobility, negative representations of flight from poverty and persecution and the problematizing of irregular migration, mobility for business and pleasure is typically glamorized and encouraged in more privileged societies. The glamorization of elite mobility is part of broader processes of global capitalist consumption within conditions of neoliberalism, wherein circulation and accumulation within networks are unevenly experienced and materialized. Social capital is increasingly based on one’s power to be mobile and cultivate global networks which are usually referred to as network capital.
In deeply embedded mechanisms of the social glamorization of mobility are uncovered, and juxtaposed with what we call a ‘darker side’ of hypermobility, including the physiological, psychological, emotional and social costs of mobility for individuals and societies. Mobility is omnipresent in our lives, there exists an ominous silence with regard to its darker side. The high social status associated with frequent corporeal mobility in some more privileged societies, specifically by air and road, is at least partly attributable to its glamorization in the media and other forms of public discourse.
I am a flourishing hypermobile type. My frequent travel, with more than 200,000 kilometres covered for my work and for holidays in 2018 alone, is an integral part of my identity and a source of great satisfaction. The study left me with mixed feelings, perhaps because I am in that lucky minority. Usually, hypermobility is glamourized, while in fact, it has serious negative physiological, psychological, emotional and social consequences.