165 Letter from Eva Martin-Fuentes
My dear future researchers into tourism,
When I was little, I would spin my toy globe around, close my eyes and point my finger, saying “when I’m older I’ll go here”, “when I grow up I’ll also go there”, and so I would dream about which countries I would travel to when I was older.
This is the first memory I have of my desire to travel but as I come from a modest family and for our holidays we only went on short trips by car, I was not able to fulfil my dreams until I was 17 and got a month’s scholarship to study German in Germany. The following summer my scholarship in Germany was for three months and I took advantage of weekends to travel, and since then I have not stopped travelling, or promoting tourism, or researching into and teaching tourism, my passion.
When I finished school I started working and I couldn’t go to university until I was 29, when I took a distance bachelor’s degree in Tourism at the same time as I was working. Then I completed a bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations and a master’s degree in Tourism Management and Planning, all while I was working in event management.
After a while, I started working at the DMO in my area and the opportunity arose to teach on the bachelor’s degree in Tourism at the University of Lleida, which is when I started doing my doctoral thesis on a doctoral programme in Information Engineering and Technology, on ICT applied to Tourism.
Starting a thesis right after having a baby is perhaps not the ideal situation for doing a PhD, but that’s what I did and I don’t regret it because I neither wanted to sacrifice motherhood for my career nor my career for motherhood.
It has meant a huge effort, working and studying and raising my child, plus my doctoral thesis at the same time is by no means easy, but I got my reward in the end: I’m an associate professor and I devote myself to what I most enjoy: teaching and research in tourism.
And what I want to say to you is that the effort has its rewards, but it’s also necessary not to set yourselves limits; any age is good to change direction and above all, try to do what you are most passionate about because then, the hard work is less hard.
Don’t do anything you don’t want to do to please others, just please yourselves, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it and also always offer to help others, work in close collaboration with other researchers, and, especially, don’t renounce anything you want to do in life, neither personally nor professionally.
Good luck girls!
University of Lleida, Catalonia, Spain