Dear Fellow, or soon-to-be Researchers,
What an honour and pleasure to be addressing you through this letter. I am typing these lines in a village, situated on the coastline of The Netherlands, in the province of Noord-Holland, at end of June 2021. I just moved to a new house. You can imagine the chaos that surrounds me right now. While listening to the incredibly loud music coming from the painters’ radio, I am trying to reflect on my career. Needless to say, it is not an easy task but, just like building a career in research, you need to overcome the challenges to succeed.
Being at the beginning of my research career, I may not have decades of experience to share with you. However, In the past years, I did learn a thing or two. The chaos that surrounds me right now reminds me of the times when I felt lost or discouraged. It reminds me of the occasional detours I took before setting foot in the field of tourism research. Most importantly though, it makes me think of the strong will, determination and passion that helped me overcome these challenges. One thing I learnt about chaos is that you should embrace it. It makes you grow, both as a person and as a professional. With time you learn how to manage chaos and remain focused.
I also believe that what is meant to be will always find its way. I believe that one opportunity can change someone’s life, forever. If that opportunity hasn’t come yet, just hang in there! Back in 2016, it was that one opportunity when someone believed in me that allowed me to start my journey in applied and academic tourism research. After completing my first project at Breda University of Applied Sciences, I got the opportunity to join the European Tourism Futures Institute (ETFI) at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences. Little did I know that this opportunity will change my life forever.
I spent the last 4.5 years in applied tourism research. My work at ETFI allows me to work with various multilateral organizations, governments and tourism businesses in various parts of the world. Using scientific knowledge to solve real-life problems and making an impact on the ground is incredibly inspiring and motivating. It also allows me to bring real-life examples into the classroom and to teach based on experience. Working with the industry while being involved in education is a unique opportunity and a path that I can only recommend you.
Besides my passion for applied tourism research, currently scientific research takes up most of time. I am doing a PhD at the University of Glasgow. In my research I embrace interdisciplinarity as I combine tourism studies and political sciences under the umbrella of urban studies. I encourage all of you to broaden your horizons and look beyond the boundaries of travel and tourism. Be open, courageous and eager to learn from various fields and disciplines.
As the construction crew is finishing the work for today (judging from the silence), I am coming to the end of my letter. What I can advise you is to be patient, embrace the chaos, be brave, challenge existing ideas but be humble, open and curious.
With passion, determination and hard work you can achieve anything!
European Tourism Futures Institute (ETFI), NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands