"Another City, Another Sauna"

Travel as Saunatarian Praxis


  • Jack Tsonis Western Sydney University and The Australian Sweat Bathing Association




sauna, Saunatarianism, travel, religion, spiritual tourism, invented religions, autoethnography


This article explores sauna as a religious identity, focusing on the role of travel in the formation of that identity. While the topic of individualist religious/spiritual worldviews has been much discussed in recent sociological literature, so far the literature has not extended to sauna. In large part this is due to the lack of an identifiable Saunatarian community, but this article overcomes that problem by way of autoethnography. Specifically, the article uses personal narrative about my own travel motto ("Another City, Another Sauna") to provide a thick description in response to calls for more data from persons who identify as spiritual tourists. The final section of the article pushes into theoretical terrain: firstly by justifying the label "spiritual tourism" as an appropriate description, then by considering how the idiosyncratic, unpatterned nature of this case study can help to expand our understanding of spiritual tourism as both a category and a phenomenon.


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Author Biography

Jack Tsonis, Western Sydney University and The Australian Sweat Bathing Association

Jack Tsonis is a lecturer in the Graduate Research School at Western Sydney University. Trained in history and religious studies but now following a new passion, Jack is currently spearheading global efforts toward the creation of Sauna Studies as an academic field. Jack is also president and founder of ASBA, the Australian Sweat Bathing Association (est. 2016), which is Australia's member in the International Sauna Association (est. 1956).


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How to Cite

Tsonis, J. (2018). "Another City, Another Sauna": Travel as Saunatarian Praxis. Fieldwork in Religion, 13(1), 81–106. https://doi.org/10.1558/firn.36290