The other day I got a letter from a guy informing me he wanted to come to Thailand. He wanted to come but was too shy, too inexperienced, and too self-conscious about Thais staring at him for being white as opposed to brown. Personally, I think this is pretty lame. For years I’ve been saying how men need to grow a pair and do what they want to do. Be the lion, take the bull by the horns, or to put it another way, just do it. Just go for it. Sink or swim, succeed or fail, it’s irrelevant in my book, especially when doing something as simple as traveling. Moving to a country is trickier but what's the point of laying down and giving up before trying?
It is the grey matter between the ear that makes traveling scary. Instead of thinking of a trip to Thailand as an experience in which we might be laughed at or looked down upon, perhaps it is best to look at it as an adventure. Thailand is extremely tame comparatively speaking. There are those who love adventure and those who shy away from it though and the trick is to turn the fear into something useable. Many times I have been nervous and downright frightened, but the main difference between a coward and a hero is how he decides to act upon those feelings.
One viewer commented that what this person is really afraid of is that the Thais will rip him off. Maybe, but preparation, a modicum of intelligence and some balls go a long way. Muggings in Thailand are far rarer than in the West and thus he is the only person who has access to his wallet. If he decides to be gullible and fall for every trick in the book, then he’s in serious trouble.
Just because some tout says, “Hello my friend, how are you!” does not mean he needs to allow him to drive all over town to jewelry stores. When I first came to Thailand I got in a Tuk-Tuk and informed the kindly old man of my destination. He promptly took me to a jewelry store. He begged me to go inside so he could receive the gas coupon. Being the nice guy that I am, I went inside. However, I had no inclination of buying anything. I knew better as I had done some research. When I came out I told him to take me to my destination. In a matter of minutes, it became apparent he wanted to take me to another jewelry store. He must have thought he had a live one.
Again, trying to be polite, I told him that I did not want to go to a jewelry store and to please take me to my destination. Again, he hemmed and hawed and stalled for time as he drove down the street. Once I realized he didn’t care where I wanted to go, I told him to stop and let me off. He kept driving. As soon as he slowed down I jumped off, threw him the 20 baht he quoted me as the fare and told him to get lost.
So when I hear a guy whining about traveling to a foreign country because he’s different, he’s shy, he feels out of place, I’ll tell him exactly what one other subscriber told him, “Toughen up princess!” Or in my own words, grow a pair little girl.