Read all about our recent trip to Thailand from Lotus and Luna's Content Producer, Micaela Ideker!
Describing Thailand in words is such a challenge, because it’s really a feeling that you get when you’re there. A feeling of welcome and friendliness, of awe and wonder, and of humbling gratitude. It feels like a new perspective. The Thai people are truly the kindest people I’ve ever met. They don’t give a second thought to putting your comfort above their own. Right off the bat, I got to see it firsthand. On day 2 of our trip, I got the unique experience of visiting our friend’s remote mountain village, where they live off the land and rely on their community for all of their needs. We piled into Praweet’s 1991 Toyota in the pouring rain, and then in hopped his cousin into the bed of the truck wearing a 7-11 poncho. He rode back there for 3 hours in a downpour of rain, so that we could be dry. And he was so happy to do it! He was happy to see us be happy, and I ended up seeing this attitude everywhere I went.
While interviewing our head jewelry artisan, Rung shared with me how she would never want to be rich while her family and friends are poor. She would share with others first so everyone could be equal. In the short time I was there, I could see and feel this mentality in their village. They share their crops with one another, they help each other with child care, and Rung spreads jobs around the village as much as possible so everyone can have a steady income. She tailors jobs to people's skills and goes out of her way to make sure everyone in her village is happy. It seemed as if her real goal with her job with us was not to earn money herself, but to help the entire community.
The culture clash between us Americans and our artisans was full of laughter. I thought it would be difficult to communicate with the language barrier, but we all had so much fun together. Both sides learned new words, we showed each other pictures of our lives, and we blindly followed them on motorbike adventures. Our artisans really made Thailand feel like home for me. Strolling through the huge Sunday Night Market, I got lost in the rows and rows of beautiful handmade goods. Hand painted wooden elephants, colorful lanterns, hand stitched clothing, fresh Pad Thai, it was magical! After a while, I found myself actually lost and couldn’t find my coworkers. Suddenly the hustle and bustle of the market was overwhelming and I needed to find my friends. Rung’s sister, Nisha, was working a stall nearby and she immediately took care of me. She gave me a chair, a wifi hotspot, and had her family help me search. It took 3 of them going back and forth around the market, asking other Thai people for directions to find them! They didn’t give up on helping me and I felt so loved by these (at the time) strangers.
While Thailand itself is a beautiful, lush country full of jungles, beaches, and islands, it was the Buddhist temples that left the biggest impression of beauty on me. I was in awe with just how many there are, literally one every few blocks! Entering these intricate structures felt like taking a step back in time. I could feel the ancient history, the spirituality, and the deep respect of the Thai people. Every single temple grounds was like a work of art, all unique when you take a closer look.
I could see this level of detail everywhere I went, from themed decor to elaborate food presentations. The Thai people really slow down and take the time to put thought and extra effort into everything they do. I asked for coffee; Rung brings out a full tray with sugar, milk, spoons, and teacups. We asked for a fan while filming in the humid heat, and a team of artisans brought us a full AC unit with an extension cord over the fence, umbrellas, and vitamin water! I was amazed watching the thoughtful detail of our healing jewelry being beaded and our pants being sewn row by row. They were so focused on their meticulous work, but were still enjoying talking and laughing with their friends and family. Rung told us that our older artisans (70 years+) enjoy the social aspect of beading, and I could see the liveliness of the village while walking around the neighborhood. I heard laughing, I’d see an artisan pull up with lunch for everyone, and even after filming was done for the day, most of the artisans wanted to stay and chat! It felt like such a bonded community.
I went to Thailand to capture the people behind our products and share their stories with you all. While documenting their lives and their work, I ended up making new friends and finding a new found positivity inspired by them. Their stories and their outlook on life are inspiring and I’m so excited for our upcoming video releases this Fall where you’ll get a raw look into our Thailand villages and the artisans who are making your favorite products. Stay tuned!