Drawing upon transformative service research and social tourism literature, this paper explores the relationship between respite care and childhood illness. It focuses specifically upon the short break opportunities attached to respite care offered in children's hospices in the United Kingdom. Pathographies (illness narratives), shared by patients, siblings and family (n = 23), provide unique insights into ways in which each participate in respite care. Participation prompts inclusivity and normality. It offers a break from illness, and contributes to uplifting feelings of optimism, escapism and new beginnings. Conclusions drawn argue the need for healthcare policy to move beyond ‘Dying Well’ narratives into ones which celebrate ‘Living Well with Dying’. Tourism participation has much to offer such a progressive healthcare policy.
Conceptualizations of luxury usually derive from individuals who are agentic and empowered. Building upon the consumer-centered experiential movement, this paper deviates from researching the typical, listening instead to consumer narratives associated with luxury in contexts where agency is transitioning. We revisit notions of sacred and profane within the liminal space of palliative and end-of-life care. Adopting purposeful sampling, and agency enhancing storytelling, pathographies in particular, consumption experiences are narrated by patients, families, and bereaved users (n = 140) of multiple hospices (n = 5) in the UK. Findings shift the evolving consumer centric conceptualization of luxury into conceptions of liminal space, place (hospices as cathedrals), and people (community). A psychosocial narrative emerges which conceptualizes experiences as lived, personalized, integrated, familiar, transformational, hedonic, eudaimonic, and (dis)connected. Our discussion extends notions of the sacred and profane into the mundane and illustrates the ways in which those navigating a liminal space encounter unexpected yet astonishing luxury experiences.