Reflections from our Passengers: Betsy Gailbraith

On our first day in Bangkok, our group overheard a rather free-spirited European man saying that the reason he came to Thailand was “to find his spiritual self”. It quite possibly could have been one of those situations that you just had to be there to rationalize the humor behind the exact setting/details of the encounter; but either way, this situation was something that stuck with me for the rest of our trip because spirituality is a topic that I find rather interesting. I wondered about what this man’s story was and if that had something to do with him choosing Thailand to find his spiritual self.

I have read that true spirituality is something that is found deep within oneself-it is your way of loving, accepting, and relating to the world and people around you.  After experiencing Thailand with TVE, I can better understand why this country would be at the top of this fella’s destinations to find his spiritual self. Thai people are incredibly kind and genuine. They are a people who have and/or are experiencing devastating circumstances (specifically pertaining to the 2004 Tsunami, human trafficking, poverty, etc.), but still manage to be living examples of what resilience looks like.  We all have our own stories that pertain to suffering/pain, but the Thai people I encountered were obviously passionate about expanding their hearts out by helping those around them to be strong with whatever the situation was. They are committed to living out their beliefs in Buddhism or whatever religion or enlightened path they choose to follow that encourages them to fully appreciate life and each other. The women, men, and children I met reminded me just how precious our lives are.

As humans we share the commonality of not fully knowing what tomorrow may bring. My experiences in Thailand made me realize I need to be more intentional about seizing each and every day. In the past, I have kept certain ambition about my life within for fear of failing. What use would my dreams, goals, and aspirations be if I did not act upon them soon enough? They would be worthless. Each day we are alive we have the chance to make a difference by spreading hope, awareness, encouragement, and love to fellow human beings. Regardless of where I am or what I am doing, I have a passion deep within that desires to use my energies to benefit others as much as I can. We should not allow self debt, fear, anxiety, or anything else to prevent us from fully living out all our capabilities. Overall, this trip opened my eyes to realizing that I do have the capability of being comfortable with living out the spirituality I have always had within myself.