144 Letter from Fahimeh Hateftabar

Dear Future Women Tourism Researchers,

I consider this book one of the most influential books I have ever read, particularly the section dedicated to its letters. I have read nearly all of them, and I am genuinely grateful for the powerful and beautiful women who wrote these letters sincerely and warmly for us. Some of these letters have been so inspiring to me that I have saved them for future reading.

Often, many of us assume that others have yet to encounter difficulties and challenges on their path to progress and success. We tend to believe that their journey has been straightforward. However, through these letters, the truth reveals itself—a truth that unifies us all: each individual, regardless of their station or circumstance, carries their unique set of trials and tribulations. And what a delight it is, what an unparalleled source of motivation, to witness how these incredible women have not only overcome but triumphed over these adversities.

Each letter I have read has been a great source of inspiration for me. From the depths of my being, I extend my sincerest wishes for the success and increasing happiness of every one of the authors who so generously shared their experiences. I am also immensely grateful to Professor Sara Dolnicar and Professor Antonia Correia for providing such an inspiring and valuable resource.

Now, I would like to share my academic journey with you. By sharing my story, I sincerely hope to offer support and motivation to all of you.

My academic life’s path has been far from conventional. Initially, my academic focus was on Solid States and Plasma Physics, immersing myself in the world of numbers, mathematical calculations, and formulas. The realms of marketing and tourism seemed distant and unfamiliar. However, driven by a strong desire, I boldly decided to switch my field of study during my graduate studies and delve into tourism and marketing. This transition was challenging. Overcoming the challenges of learning a whole new discipline was tough. Still, it paled compared to the daunting task of preparing for the highly competitive entrance exam for the master’s program. Achieving a high score in a field, I needed more prior knowledge of seemed almost impossible. However, my determination to succeed prevailed.

Against all odds, I secured admission to the prestigious University of Tehran _ the most highly regarded university in Iran_ with an outstanding result. Graduating with a perfect GPA of 4.0 out of 4.0 felt like a miracle. It was a testament to the power of passion, dedication, and unwavering commitment.

But the journey didn’t end there. Driven by my thirst for knowledge, I set my sights on pursuing a PhD abroad. The opportunity came when I was accepted into Sorbonne University in France, a whole new world filled with rich cultural experiences. Although I didn’t speak French then, I fell in love with the vibrant academic environment, the charm of the Sorbonne, and the aroma of French coffee by the Seine River. However, as you can imagine, it wasn’t all romance and tranquillity. Amidst the emotional challenges of being far from home, I faced the typical struggles and uncertainties of being a PhD student. Writing a doctoral thesis felt like an insurmountable task. Yet, with perseverance and the support of my mentors, I completed my studies in early 2021. One of my greatest regrets is not having a picture of my thesis defence ceremony in the “Salle Liard Sorbonne.” Due to the pandemic, my defence was conducted online, denying me the chance to capture that memorable moment.

I thought that after successfully defending my thesis, the path would be smooth, and transitioning into the job market would be effortless. However, that turned out to be a childish assumption. Finding an academic position during a time when universities were closed due to the global pandemic, or when there was little interest in hiring new faculty members, proved to be a tremendous challenge. I relied on teaching and hourly contracts to sustain myself during this period. My background in mathematics and physics proved valuable as I offered private tutoring to students at various levels. However, these jobs needed more stability, leaving me uncertain about how many teaching hours I would have each month. Consequently, I couldn’t fully rely on them.

Since April 2023, I have been employed as a university professor in France, and it has been one of my life’s best and most significant events. However, it was only sometimes smooth sailing to reach this point. There was a time when I felt discouraged and disheartened about finding an academic position. The period between graduation and employment was filled with what I thought were the darkest days of my life. Not only did I face personal struggles, but I also experienced the frustration of being unable to secure a job despite my efforts. I began to question whether I had made the wrong choices and embarked on a misguided path. Considering the six to seven years invested since changing my field of study, it was incredibly challenging for me to consider turning away from this path. Moreover, the financial and emotional costs were overwhelming.

During this period, I must confess that I didn’t take good care of myself and neglected my mental well-being. Personal issues and unemployment took their toll, resulting in a cycle of motivation and energy fluctuations. There were days when I woke up with great enthusiasm, hoping to have a productive and meaningful day. Yet, there were countless days when I couldn’t muster the drive to accomplish anything and wasted my time in apathy and idleness. Recently, I discovered eight unfinished and incomplete articles on my computer, left in limbo—remnants of tremendous effort and countless hours spent engrossed in their topics. However, due to my lack of motivation and despair, they were abandoned, and left half-done. I am currently working on completing those projects and articles. I have realized the importance of perseverance and determination, even when faced with neglect and indifference. I want to stress the significance of caring for one’s physical and mental health and well-being, regardless of the circumstances. Let my experience remind all of you to prioritize your well-being and not allow yourselves to go through a similar ordeal. Additionally, I encourage you to engage in group activities that foster motivation and combat procrastination. It doesn’t matter who you work with as long as the group is organized, determined, and has clear goals and deadlines.

There were moments when it felt like success would never come, and the road ahead seemed daunting. However, staying patient and persevering taught me that setbacks are temporary and that opportunities can arise when least expected. So, my dear friends, remember to trust the process, have faith in your abilities, and keep your hope alive, for remarkable things can happen when you hold on with patience and unwavering belief. It may take time, effort, and perhaps a few detours, but you will reach your destination with perseverance. Reflecting upon my journey, I am grateful for the lessons learned and the resilience I have developed. The challenges and setbacks have only made my accomplishments more rewarding. I am excited about the future and the opportunities that lie ahead.

So, my dear friends, never lose sight of your dreams. Be fearless in the pursuit of knowledge and personal growth. Embrace challenges as stepping stones to success. And most importantly, support and uplift each other, for together, we can achieve greatness.

With warmest regards,


Fahimeh Hateftabar

Ferrandi Paris, France



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Women’s voices in tourism research Copyright © 2021 by The University of Queensland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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