The spiritual dimension of the montana vacation experience

Al Ellard, Norma Polovitz Nickerson, Robert Dvorak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This study explored the deeper meaning of a vacation experience in Montana. In-depth interviews of non-resident vacation visitors were conducted which asked visitors to describe their vacation and what it meant to them. Results revealed a previously unknown spiritual dimension associated with visiting Montana. Forty percent of the visitors portrayed their vacation experience in Montana using terms that connote spiritual meaning. This spiritual dimension was described with four themes: (1) creation perspectives; (2) nature-based perspectives; (3) tranquility and transcendence; and, (4) re-centering, refocusing, and getting away. Visitor expressions reflected a strong emotional reaction to the nature and landscapes experienced in Montana. Visitors’ unsolicited comments described feelings such as closeness to God, appreciation of the creator, a sense of peace and serenity, an appreciation of all things natural, and a feeling of being blessed. Previous research on leisure and spirituality has identified time, space, nature, and quiet as facilitators of spiritual experiences. This study confirmed that time available in a stress-free environment (vacation and nature) facilitates spiritual expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-289
Number of pages21
JournalLeisure/ Loisir
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Experience
  • Nature
  • Spirituality
  • Travel
  • Vacation


Dive into the research topics of 'The spiritual dimension of the montana vacation experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this