Dear future generations of tourism researchers,
It is an honour for me to write this letter and to contribute to this book. I have been working in academia in Italy and the UK for over ten years and over time I have identified some core elements that are at the basis of my daily work and that I would like to share with you in the hope that you find these words useful for your future career.
First of all, be passionate about your work. I believe that if you are undertaking a PhD now it is because you have passion for research and you would like to become an academic in the future, if this applies to you, embrace your passion and start your journey. However, remember that sometimes life takes us to different directions that we may have not planned (in the end it is what life is, unpredictable) and if one day you will decide that academia is not the place for you, then don’t worry and make sure that whatever you do, you do it with passion.
Work ethically! This is not something to underestimate: unfortunately, it will happen that you meet academics who do not know what ethics is or pretend to be ethical in their words, but through their behaviour they communicate the opposite (but luckily these people are a minority in academia). Thus, I suggest you stick to your work ethic and never change it for pleasing other people or for publishing more. Indeed, you should remember that the academic world is small, people talk, and I do hope that you do not want to be known to be an unethical person. In addition to this, remember to carefully choose the people you are going to work with, even if they work in different disciplines. From my experience it is quite easy to know somebody (even in a different discipline) who can tell you if an academic has a dodgy reputation for lack of ethics: stay away from them! At the end of the day, I think that one of the most important things is to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and be proud of you as a person. As a good friend of mine once told me: it is not important the number of publications you have, what is important is the type of person you are. Words were no wiser than these.
Don’t forget your physical and mental wellbeing by dedicating time to yourself, your passions (outside academia) and your hobbies (probably from my contributions you guessed what my passion is). You should build a weekly routine in which you dedicate time to yourself for anything that gives you happiness and satisfaction, whether it be spending time with friends, exercising, learning to play a musical instrument, or whatever you like. I perfectly know that sometimes this is not possible for lack of time, work deadlines, etc. and sometimes it happens to me as well, the issue is when this happen constantly, how do you expect not to feel overwhelmed if you do not take breaks? Put yourself at the centre of your life and do not take excuses for not dedicating time to you and ask yourself this question “do you live for working or do you work for living?”.
Finally, remember to believe in yourself! In your career you may meet people who undervalue you and your work, my advice is not to listen to them. As the photographer Cristina Garcia Rodero said “You have to believe in yourself. No one else will”. Keep those words in mind and do not get frustrated if other people do not believe in you, just make sure that you do it and your work will speak about you.
I wish you all the best in your future career.
The University of Lincoln, UK