148 Letter from Raquel Huete
Dear young researcher,
If you question everything that happens in our social world, you will discover the social sciences to be the pursuit you have been looking for. If you can think yourself away from the familiar routines of your everyday life and look at them with a critical gaze, or connect your personal challenges with larger social issues, then you are called to become a true sociologist.
If you like to travel consciously and meet people while being respectful towards the host society, you will find pleasure in looking for new ideas to develop a fairer and more sustainable tourism industry.
Then never stop enquiring how social life and tourism works. In this way, you will ask questions, look for data, talk to people, listen and read what other researchers have found out and, please, make your own hypotheses. It does not matter whether your research is a mainstream issue or not, you must try to write and publish your ideas.
Even if you are proud to be a sociologist, do not be afraid to cross the boundaries into other disciplines. It is always a good idea to explore the different perspectives that other sciences offer to understand human behaviour.
If you want to be an expert in tourism, you will have to be a tourist because you need to feel like a guest in order to comprehend tourists, while you will have to be a host in order to understand local society. You will learn a lot of things by travelling, but you will also have great experiences by being a host. So do not hesitate to host people at home, listening as they share their thoughts and discussing their perceptions of the place where you live. In both situations, travelling and hosting, it is worth making the effort to understand others, learning their language whenever possible and above all being open-minded. Finally, if you really want to be a social scientist, be very respectful of the different ways of being in the world.
I hope you will find your own way to become a brilliant tourism researcher.
Best wishes from Spain.
University of Alicante, Spain