“I have never traveled outside Thailand,” the girl said.
I was sitting inside a Chiang Mai massage parlour, drinking tea. The girl was in her early 30s and had been a masseuse her whole life.
Reeling from what she’d told me, I asked why she hadn’t traveled.
“There are so many interesting countries near you! Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Malaysia. You could go there?”
The girl wrinkled her nose. “I don’t want to go to those places. Hopefully, Australia one day.”
Her body language signaled that the conversation was over.
I drained my tea and stood up to pay.
But I felt an urge to have the final word. Enlighten this girl about the importance of travel. Explain that it teaches us about other cultures and broadens our mind.
Opens us up to new ways of living.
Then I realised that this girl didn’t need patronising. Her attitude wasn’t born from a closed-mind or an unwillingness to try new things.
Instead, what she needed was a lot more than the paltry $8 I was paying for her hour of tiring massage work.
One of the reasons why so many tourists visit Thailand.
Feeling ashamed, I shut my mouth and walked out the door.
Have you ever had a similar conversation with a local? What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt? Leave a comment below