I would be lying if I said that my trip to Thailand wasn’t – in part – an attempt to escape West Texas. It wasn’t the whole reason. And it wasn’t an escape like the kind I talked about in my post “Escape to Atlantis“. I just needed a reprieve from the dull, rolling plains and the reminders of heartbreak. What better cure for emotional and mental stagnation than an adventure full of inspiration?
So when I think of being unable to leave the States, it’s difficult to grasp. This trip has been so rewarding. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It was so easy for me to do! Hop on a plane, fly around the world, pass through customs, and voila! But my best friend (Venezuelan) can’t leave the States. And the girls I met in Mae Hong Son (the Karenni girls from left above, Ida, Dima, Mimi, Mithi, and Symmetweh) can’t leave the border of the forests that surrounds them.
It’s been over a week since I left their peaceful, humble village in the mountains and I miss them so much. I could go back to visit them, of course. But they can’t visit me. They are refugees who crossed the Thai border from Burma and now live in the mountains. They are wonderful young adults who stayed up with me every night to laugh and swap stories. Then they showed us city-folk how to bathe in a stream. They demonstrated using rocks to exfoliate and teased us when we tried to rub our faces with them. And most heartbreaking of all, they cried when we left.
These girls hardly dare to dream beyond the surrounding trees. It almost makes me feel guilty for daily pursuing a dream to write. My feet ache to move, so I travel. My fingers itch to type, so I write. For the girls, they settle on a future within the camp. They have so many dreams and wishes, but so little hope that they will come to fruition.
Since this was more of an open-ended thought with no real conclusion, I will end with a few words of encouragement:
To those who wish to roam, don’t take your leave for granted.
To those still stuck at home, don’t forsake your dreams.