I have had a few weeks now to really reflect on my journey to Thailand and I thought I would share my experiences and the conclusions I came to. Right off the bat, I can say that Thailand is an incredible country filled with wonderful people and breathtaking views.
The kindness portrayed by practically everyone I came across was truly unbelievable and extremely refreshing. I felt so comfortable traveling alone. There was never a moment where I questioned being by myself. I truly fell in love with the culture and how individuals treated one another with such respect. I can honestly say I came home with my heart filled with love and happiness.
(Top of the White Buddha in Pai)
The more thought I put into my trip, the more I realized that the reason this country was so amazing was because of its people. Regardless if I was in a huge city like Bangkok, the small town of Pai, or on one of the many islands, kindness was felt everywhere. Thailand is not the wealthiest of countries to say the least. You can buy a meal for less than $2 and get a one-hour full-body massage for $4. Most homes in the towns I visited had no air conditioning (in 95+ degree weather WITH humidity) and many families lived in small huts or run down shacks. You could see the living conditions were not great. However, despite poverty, everyone would smile, bow their heads, and greet you.
It was truly refreshing to walk around experiencing kindness and love each day. One day in particular I ended up meeting the owner of the Brick House Hostel that I stayed at. She offered me Indian tea, ended up taking me out to dinner that night and showed me around the town of Chiang Mai. At the end of the evening, she invited me to stay with her and her family at her home in Bangkok when I would be passing through on the last two nights of my trip. I graciously accepted the invitation and did in fact stay with her in her home during my last nights in Thailand. This extreme generosity completely blew my mind! On the last night, she had even flown out of the country and let me stay in her home with just her live-in housekeepers. I thought to myself, this would NEVER happen at home. No one would open up their home to me after meeting me five hours before. It was incredible and I still feel so lucky and grateful every time I think about it.
(After our workout together at her condo!)
This trip was truly life changing and it opened my eyes to how other people live around the world. Simple acts of kindness truly can go so far. My faith in humanity was completely restored on this trip because unfortunately, where I live in Orange County, materialism and narcissism is a common theme. There are absolutely kind and generous people around don’t get me wrong, but as a whole, our society’s values affect how people treat one another and it is nothing like the Thai people. After visiting Thailand, I was able to see these people genuinely are happy and peaceful and they do not care what brand of clothing you have on or if your eyebrows are perfectly sculpted. They treat with respect no matter what.
If I could take one thing from my trip, it is to treat everyone I meet with kindness. I make it a point to acknowledge every person I walk past and to smile and say hello. Some people are so taken aback because we have become so accustomed to everyone looking down at the floor or at their phones and not making eye contact anymore. I also have started to realize that if you greet someone and smile, 9 times out of 10 they will greet you and smile back. Even if they first appeared to be angry about something or not very friendly, their demeanor changes. It might seem cheesy but a simple smile and hello can really turn someone’s mood around. I think our society would be much happier if we all started to acknowledge one another’s existences and show just a little bit of kindness.