In 2009, I realized that I had forty days of unscheduled time in Thailand between the seventh mission trip I had helped lead in the "Land of Smiles" and an international conference in Pattaya on the Gulf of Thailand. I was at a point in my life where I felt the need to test my two primary relationships: with God and with my self. I grabbed the opportunity to test these two relationships by traveling around Thailand alone-with my limited Thai vocabulary and my neurological disorder--to plunge into the deep end of the cultural pool, if you will, and see if I would sink or swim. Before leaving I joked with my friends and family that my only traveling companions would be my self and God, and I didn't know if I would get along with either one. I wrote Forty Days Alone in Thailand partly as a spiritual travel memoir, but partly as a way of encouraging readers to risk moving out of their cultural comfort zones as a way of meeting themselves again as if for the first time.
About the Author
Tom Holmes has worked in multicultural situations for most of his adult life. He was a student at Tuskegee Institute when Dr. King was killed and taught for two years at Colegio San Antonio Abad in Puerto Rico. An ordained pastor, he served in a multicultural congregation in the near west suburbs of Chicago for 25 years and has been working with St. Paul Thai Lutheran Church for the last 22 years. His Doctor of Ministry thesis explored the role of identity in the transformation of congregations in changing neighborhoods. He has been to Thailand ten times. At present he writes on religion for two local newspapers.