So often the familiar phrase from travellers is ‘I am leaving to go and find myself…my path…my life’ (*delete as applicable)
As we were sat in a wonderful canal/roadside cafe for lunch we were pondering this phrase, based on what we witness during our wanderings each day.
We changed our original plans to go from Cambodia to Vietnam and instead came to Chiang Mai to add to our ever-growing list of personal skills, and do a Traditional Thai Massage course. We opted for the dormitory at the school as a way of saving money while we studied for a month, as this was free accommodation, but after 2 days I was fed up with stupid girls opening windows in the dorm at 2am and letting all the mosquitoes in, which I then had to get up and close (leaving me with sleepless nights and countless bites); and in a week we got fed up with the amount of pretentious arseholes using this exact phrase all around us.
The study class and dorm’ situation lets you have an up-close-and-personal insight into these peoples heads, and let me tell you, it aint pretty!
It seemed they were all vying with one another for supremacy – ‘I’ve done this’…’I am that’…’I can do this/that better than you can’…’I am better than you’ – and they would compete in any way possible in order to prove they were Top Dog around the place.
Come on people, simmer down, and relax…you really are not that important!
Being Reiki Master Teachers, we work with energy all the time, and in a closed environment where you are meant to relax and practice the massage it is incredibly difficult to guard your own energy and not be bombarded by everyone elses. Traditional Thai massage is all about energy flow as well as a physical manipulation, and sadly these ‘enlightened travellers’ didn’t have a clue about anything other than a straight physical technique – because they don’t cultivate their own energy in the first place and have no concept of how to generate energy in order to heal. It’s hard to really learn something with phones going off for texts and emails during class because people think they are far too important to turn them off and listen; checking/updating Facebook when they should be watching a demonstration; or doing handstands or yoga poses when everyone should be practicing what they were shown that day.
The phone thing just seemed to be another extension of their arrogance and ego – which one of us is most popular today? Their other competitions seemed to be with their personal skills or qualifications; what country or state they came from; how skinny/flexible/pretty/fit (blah, blah, blah) they were; how quick they were learning/practicing (massage isn’t a race!);and who could flirt/come on to with as many people in one school.
We couldn’t stand being in the midst of all that angst and ego, so after the 1st week, we found an apartment hotel and rented a room. It was doing our heads in sleeping apart, because we are one of those couples who hate to be away from one another, and the people surrounding us were doing our heads in even more!
We also then came down with Malaria, so we conveniently didn’t have to put up with them anymore anyway! Thanks in some ways for small mercies but not so thankful for how it was facilitated and how much the bathroom had to be visited for the next 3 weeks.
During illness, you still have to function, so we were out and about when able, trying to shrug off the perpetual feeling of lethargy and nausea by walking it off in the fresh air and getting some sun on our skin. Pasty-white isn’t a good look and tends to make people a little scared that the zombie films may be real after all, but we got away without anyone trying to shoot us in the head 🙂
On our wanderings we frequented our favourite juice stall, (against all good medical sense as the Malaria parasite likes sugars) and sadly so did some of the class…
Now, they could genuinely like us and be concerned with our wellbeing (cough), or they could still be vying for that supremacy over other human beings, but every one of them had to come over and ask why we hadn’t come back to the school. Do we have to account for our movements to strangers now, just because we spent a week keeping pretty much to ourselves but sharing the same air in a room? Obviously to these people, it means they have the right to invade your life, question you about where you have been for the last week, why you left the dorm’, and what you plan on doing now – ‘are you guys coming back?’
Note to self – I would rather gouge both eyes out with a blunt spoon than be in the same room with you lot for another 3 weeks…
‘I don’t think so…’ was the actual polite reply we repeated to each of these self-important interrogators.
We did find out some interesting details from one person (who had equally kept himself out of the loop while studying) about the antics going on after we left…
It seems that while they were busy being energy vampires and sucking the life out of each other in class, they also started sucking on more physical parts out of class. Perhaps our married older (yikes! only by a few years, honest) presence in the dorms stemmed these tendencies, but once we were gone, apparently, girls were in boys dorms and vice versa – despite there being other people to consider, it seems their egos didn’t show any respect for the privacy of those who didn’t want to cop off or have the opposite sex in a dorm which was meant to be segregated. They were also out getting drunk and not turning up for class the next day, preferring to lie listlessly in the dorm or vomit in the shared bathrooms.
Now, these same individuals all professed to be spiritual travellers, on a journey, exploring the world to find new experiences, new paths, enlightenment…and you find those things with your head buried in another persons crotch do you??
You seek forgiveness for your skanky ‘slept with both French girls’ self in a Buddhist temple by taking your shoes off, bowing your head and praying at the front, on a holy ceremony day? Or attending a meditation morning at sunrise at another temple?
How about disrespecting another culture by showing up at their holy sites in next to nothing; walking around a city that has no beach in a bikini top when the Thai people are inherently conservative; or just parading around like you are wonderful?
Do none of you pretentious arrogant egotists actually realise that Buddhism has nothing to do with the lifestyle you are leading? Whoring, drinking and smoking Opium just because you are in Thailand and want to say you have, are not the ways of enlightenment…although your Opiate hallucinations may seem like a message, it’s only to tell you that you are behaving like an arsehole! 😉
Has it shattered your fragile sense of self to realise that when you come travelling to somewhere like this, you are not the single quirky spiritual eco-warrior that you were back home in your town/city, but one of many many others who see themselves as just as ‘individual’?
You all have the same stupid top-knot hairdo, the same ‘quirky’ dress sense, the same arrogance, ego, self-importance, lack of respect for another culture and each other; you are all out looking for the next conquest/easy lay; you are all loud and obnoxious.
And you haven’t yet realised that your competitions with one another are pointless, because you are all the same lost puppies trying to ‘find yourself’, when all you really do is lose yourself in a sea of sameness with others who act and look just like you. In the grand scheme of things you are not important, and you need to cultivate something more meaningful than the mask you currently have to hide the feeling that you have no self-worth and little importance.
Your mother may have told you you were special, but don’t expect everyone else to think so too.