Quite a number of Thai Massage instructors teach here and there around the world, traveling about, and one perhaps gets the idea of them living the romantic, adventurous life of the Nomadic Teacher. The truth is actually a bit different, although there are certainly also Thai Massage teachers who have deliberately chosen this type of lifestyle because they can and simply love it.
Mind that I’m not talking about the touring “Super Star” bodywork and massage teachers like Master Mantak Chia (Chi Nei Tsang, Karsai Nei Tsang, and Qigong, and more) or Dr. Joseph Kramer (Sexological Bodywork, Orgasmic Yoga, and Lingam Massage, and such), who get invited abroad, all costs paid, and additionally earn a pleasant salary with it. No, this is about the regular guy or girl who wants to teach Thai Massage and make a living out of it.
So, now imagine a Thai Massage teacher who comes from a medium-sized city with about 200,000 to 500,000 inhabitants. As a Thai Massage therapist one could make a living, already competing with other type of massage and bodywork practitioners, but for a Thai Massage teacher such a population is usually way too small to make ends meet with teaching the art.
You see, people love to have a massage, but the number of individuals that wants to become a massage therapist is actually rather small. So, the only way for a professional who wants to teach, is to expand the region of where he or she would be prepared to go to have enough Thai Massage students all year long.
Now, it depends on the size of the country and/or the size of the population if it’s possible to have a nomadic teaching career in one’s own country. In the USA it could be done more easily (about 330 million people), but if you are, for instance, from Malta (about 500,000 people) it would be hard to make a living out of teaching Thai Massage if you would stay there.
Of course, the nomadic teacher is much, much less common in Thailand. Not that Thailand has such a large population (about 70 million), but the influx of tourists and prospective students taking Thai Massage training courses is large, and Thai Massage teachers from Thailand generally don’t need to travel across their country or abroad finding students to have a good income.
Regularly traveling around, teaching in various places and/or countries is strenuous, to say the least. Of course one gets a lot of experience and it’s interesting to see other cultures, but it’s tiring, for body and mind, and it takes a lot of preparation and organization.
Some of the things that really take more effort than usual are questions like where exactly to teach, when to go, what to bring with you, what’s the best time of the year to be there, what venue, connect with whom, how to promote the courses or workshops, how to deal with working permits, taxes, different cultural attitudes, and such.
And what if you have a family? That can make things even more difficult if you’re not able to be around your loved ones, those who perhaps need you to be there regularly. In many ways, there is or can be a significant price to pay when you live the nomadic teaching life.
You see, on the whole — seen from an outside perspective — the nomadic teacher perhaps seems to have an adventurous and exciting career, but when lifting the curtain it’s often just another hardworking and sometimes lonely job, with its usual ups and downs.