I am sending to all of you a breath of hope from my land, the land where all is not allowed.
I was born in Portugal in 1966. We were in the middle of a dictatorship and the best way to describe the status of women in the Portuguese society at that time was “NOT ALLOWED”.
Until 1974, women were not allowed to travel abroad without the authorization from their husbands.
Women were not allowed to take contraceptives without the authorization from their husbands.
Women were not allowed to vote.
Women were not allowed to have a career in the Judiciary, Diplomacy, the Military or the Police.
Most women were not allowed by their husbands to have a work.
In this land of “NOT ALLOWED”, where our role was to please the husband, I grew up willing to counter these beliefs. I learnt how to sew socks, but I never did it; I got married, but I moved to another city to work just one month after my honeymoon. And yet, I am still married to my husband. When I finished my PhD in 2000, I was 34 years old and already with very young ladies while women got the majority in my house at the University men have the majority; my Jury was composed only by men.
Today, I have three kids and I teach Microeconomics and Tourism Economics. I mix my professional and personal life all the time, and yet I have the respect of my family.
Life has not been easy. Signs of discrimination are everywhere; nevertheless, me and my family were able to create our own bubble of a happy life. I redrew the land of “NOT ALLOWED” into a Family Land, where the sky is the limit.
I am a dreamer and I know that even if I never sewed socks, I am a rich person. When I realized that I would not be rich, but that I could be a very rich person, I started researching about luxury… at least I could dream of being rich even if I was not. This was the ingredient to surpass the life challenges I have to face… when I know I could, but I shouldn’t, I start to dream about it and to research.
I am always looking for new concepts and traits, essentially in the fields of psychology, sociology and economics. Against all the odds, I kept on writing and researching at my own expense, after all, research is curiosity and a kind of lifestyle.
Even with the adversities I faced along my life, I still have lots of motivation and an insanely positive attitude to keep moving forward and looking for new ideas.
My advice to you to become a good researcher is this: There is no recipe for becoming a good researcher, but these are some of the ingredients…
Be “crazy”. Have a creative mind. Be persistent and hard-working. Track new concepts on other disciplines and apply them to tourism. Try to improve these concepts by adding something new. Be modest. You know nothing compared to what you have to learn. Do not be afraid to make mistakes as long as you are willing to correct them. Your mission is to share knowledge and there are no free lunches so share what you know. You will never be rich in research, but you could be a celebrity (a rich woman).
And last, but not least:
Leave out the insularity of the tourism community, giving back to your mother disciplines what you learn within tourism (Jafari, 2008).
And be happy, as knowledge is the best ingredient to feed your soul.
University of Algarve, Portugal