Thailand- The Land of Smiles, Massages, and Motorbikes.
In the last few years, I have visited Thailand several times. I have experienced yoga retreats in the Phi Phi Islands, hiked through Khao Lak jungles, stayed in jungle treehouses, gotten covered by leeches, and studied all sorts of massage modalities. However, there was one city that got me hooked, mesmerized and engulfed in its heavenly vibes- Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai is a city full of "digital nomads"-or people from elsewhere working remotely- expats, foreigners studying Thai massage, acro-yogis slacking-lining in the parks, Chinese tourists, and happy smiling Thai people. As it is comfortable to get around not knowing a lick of Thai, most people find it easy to relocate here. There are plenty of "western" amenities and a massage costs roughly six dollars an hour! You really cannot beat that.
I, myself, as a body-worker, charged literally 20x that price in the States, where I once had a prolific practice.
In Chiang Mai, you are able to try fruits and vegetables that you have never even gazed your eyes upon. The abundance of vegetation is overwhelming and intriguing! You have the choice of being thrifty and eating street Thai food for 35 baht (one U.S. dollar) or you can go to a fancy organic restaurant and spend roughly 7-10 dollars a meal fit for a queen. If you are feeling even more extravagant, you can do buffet style at $25 a person at one of the exclusive hotels. It is a Buddhist country, so finding vegetarian “jay” food is stress-free and easy.
Chiang Mai and most of Thailand, is known to be the country of smiles and I learned promptly how tender a country it is. Thai people do love when you attempt to speak their language, smile a little, and carry a gentle disposition.
Nothing is meant to be a big deal here, walk slowly, take your time, and just try to enjoy your life.
During my massage studies, I sampled a new massage place every week. There are as many massage places as 7-11's and there is a 7-11 on every block, sometimes two!
One that fascinated me was Lila Thai massage, a woman's prisoner Thai massage clinic. Thai massage, “a.k.a. Nuad Boran”, roughly translates to "compassion in action".
The Thai believe that most of the people who become convicts or prisoners, in essence, were criminals due to the lack of love and compassion in their lives. Consequently, in an effort to change their mindset and heart, the Thai women study Thai massage in prison and when they are free, they are given occupations to become Thai body-workers. This not only gives them a career but, a new way of examining touch and compassion.
It is a mecca of effortless healing.
I moved here recently with the intention to be a coach for others who live a travel lifestyle and are finding adjusting not as easy. I want everyone to realize their own personal opportunities and the limitations. I felt that Chiang Mai was the exact stomping ground to witness all the bounty of greatness we can conceive.
I also noticed a flux of new remote workers in the last few years. They appeared to not be fully investigating the culture they chose to live in, but instead residing on top of it. This type of lifestyle is limiting to both the Thai people and the new long-term visitors.
As a longtime traveler, I have seen more prospects arise when I am genuinely trying to learn, share, and grow. I know that I would not be here right now if it was not for the involvement and studying that I have done.
Here's an example of Thai compassion:
A few years ago, I was the passenger of a motorbike traveling from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai (about two hours away). My travel buddy and I were traveling through the mountains at night, coming from a Japanese hippy music festival carrying my ukulele in my backpack.
We hit a lip in the road and skid, heaving for about a hundred feet as I rolled over my friend and we both kept undulating. As soon as we came to a halt, I asked my friend if she was okay and I immediately told her to get off the road. We ran without our shoes- they whooshed off in the accident- to the outside of the highway. Surprisingly, my ukulele remained intact.
No more than two minutes later, a magical Thai family appeared, they called an ambulance, got our bike off the road, and remained patiently with us till the ambulance arrived. We then were accompanied to a hospital, had a full exam, and our bike was driven to the neighboring police station. People from the ambulance waited for us to be completed with our check-up from the hospital and took us back to our motorbike. Luckily, we only had a few scrapes and bruises and angels were among us that evening. When we explained we were too anxious to ride, as we were still in some genuine shock, the police obtained a place for us to sleep for the night.
This was all FREE! We paid nothing. We gave nothing but smiles and thanks. They gave us shelter, nurturing, and true compassion. They gave us hope for humanity and our own safety.
I am forever grateful and vested in this country. I want to give love to this beautiful country like it has performed so graciously for me.
How do I review this country's sweet elixir of remarkable awesomeness?
Smile more, because it’s easy.
Be gentle and patient, because it’s worth it.
And let yourself get pampered because you deserve it.
With Infinite love and Gratitude,
The Snarky Spiritualist
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