Nature Escapes

Secrets Of A Happy Traveler on How to Win World Peace

A Happy Traveler Massages The World's Troubles Away

By Rick Gregory

On a trip to Thailand, I found the secret to being a happy traveler and possibly world peace.

Well maybe that's stretching it a bit, but at least it's the secret for a peaceful state of mind.

During my time in East Africa, I used to tell people that the world would be at peace if everyone could wake up to a hot shower every morning.


This refreshing start to the day would put everyone in a good mood and, therefore prevent any bad feelings from prevailing.

OK, I realise there are a few flaws in my happy traveler hypothesis, but bear with me because we're talking about world peace here. After living in Asia though, my theory has been revised.

The new improved World Peace Theory (WPT) combines the hot shower concept with a traditional Asian body massage, not necessarily in that order. Bite your tongue and let me explain this first before you create another unneeded global conflagration.

Lying on the beach in Ko Samet, I was soaking up some sun and doing a little research. After splashing in tropical waters and frolicking on the beach all day, I booked a massage with one of the blue-vested masseuses scouting the shoreline for customers. (Little did I realize at this time that global peace was at stake.)

Although expecting a straw-hatted woman to take on the task, a change in plans resulted in her male assistant performing this stress alleviation art form. Who could have predicted that this quiet man in a pale brown shirt held the key to harmony in his strong, soft hands. (And it cost just 100 baht or US$3; defence spending what a waste!)

Expecting nothing I watched the masseur spread a thin blanket across the sand and set up a few small bottles of liquid. As I laid on my belly and proceeded to let my mind free fall, the masseur rubbed his hands with his special blend of mentholated oils.

A coconut palm blocked the sun and the wind began to move the slender clouds. Pushing his thumbs along my spine, the masseur worked his magic to expel the tension and strain built up in my back. Placing a towel over my buttocks, he twisted and turned his hands to loosen the muscle mass.

Next, the backside of my legs were kneaded hard to reduce the aches of everyday motion. The sound of swimmers emerging from the water became faint with each firm stroke digging into my body. My concentration drifted away, leaving thoughts of the real world behind to enter into a surreal state of silence and satisfaction.

Bent over from the waist, the masseur gathered my feet into his lap and reached forward to stretch my long legs. Slick with oil, his hands gripped my neck, immediately sending sensations of relief to the base of my brain. While smelling the sweetened ointment, I floated into a sense of serenity as the sun lowered on the horizon.

By using the palms of his hands in a rotating action, my shoulders and arms soon felt numb and slumped motionless. At this point in time, however, no thoughts of world peace came to mind. As a matter of fact, I was feeling quite selfish and self-absorbed with my own contentment.

Turned over on my back, Mr. Magic Fingers concentrated on my upper thighs, which were tight from playing tennis and basketball. Working his way down the legs and to my toes, he stood up and bent my long limb until the knee touched my chest.

He then pulled the leg straight out and continued on to other wrestling-type positions, pushing my body parts in all directions. To the onlooker it must have seemed like an attempt to promote the World Wrestling Federation, which is extremely popular in Southeast Asia.

With my head towards the heavens, a hawk glided in and out of my view and several palm fronds swayed in the breeze as the world became very calm. Then my personal pain reliever sat me up and pounded my whole back rapidly with karate-style chops, helping to knock the kinks out and soothe the relaxed muscle tissue.

The next step put this happy traveler into a state of eternal bliss and paved the way for new theoretical ideas to solve global conflict.

Cradling my cranium in his healing hands, he targeted my temples with his thumbs and rubbed them into the grey matter. His deft fingers extended around my head, squeezing my skull back and forth to clear away all memories of pain.

As brain waves transferred the feeling to the lower extremities, a tingling sensation ran through my body. Finished with his task, the massage master allowed me to lean back on the sand with my eyes closed for a few moments.

In this altered state where the world was full of serene nature sounds, cooling breezes wafted over heated bodies, and the sky was a perfect hue of blue. Peace was all around.

My mind felt like it was inside a pulsating piece of putty, where the means to end a world at war seemed possible. Thus was born the new and improved World Peace Theory .

OK, now you can criticise.

So I didn't account for traffic jams and tax payments and children going through the terrible twos. Hey, it's just a theory. A true believer can take a little feedback and revise his original analysis.

I mean did Galileo Galilei give up trying to explain the Copernican theory of a solar system even after the state put him under house arrest? No.

In any event, take my happy traveler advice and opt for either the hot shower approach (though usually more effective in colder climates) or try to find a masseuse without the sexual connotations attached.

My theory is based on the multiplier effect, you know, one at a time compounded by one at a time equals a lot more.

Granted, people around the world may not suddenly lay down their weapons or stop running through red lights, but at least you'll feel good and forgive some of the trespasses of others.

And that's a good start for this happy traveler.

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