Swadeka, well it is here at last!!! I can hardly believe that today is the 10th Anniversary of me opening the Thai Massage Room & Spa in Millisle, Dalbeattie as it only seems like yesterday!
Today I am delighted to share with you the first brief part of how I ended up living in Scotland and why I made the massive decision to open the Thai Massage Room and Spa, 10 years ago next month. I hope that you will enjoy my story.
When I look back all of these years ago to when I lived and was brought up in Thailand, as a female child in a large family, from a very early age I was expected to massage the older members of my family when they returned home after a long day working on the land. This was our culture and at that time I thought nothing of it but this humble beginning was to lead me into a career in Traditional Thai Massage. Back then we were a relatively poor family and times were often difficult and fairly dangerous as we lived near to the war torn Cambodian border.
However these early years firmly Traditional Thai Massage as part of me and after a number of significant events that are described in my Blog – ‘Noi’s Journey – From East to West’ Noi’s Journey | From East to West - Part 1 (thaimassageroom.com)
After a somewhat difficult and at times varied early life, while living in Thailand, I went on to train and qualify in the art of Traditional Thai Massage at the world famous ‘Wat Po Massage School' in Bangkok. Please take the time to read ‘Noi’s Journey from East to West' when you can, as it describes the early part of my life in more detail often in a sad way :( but also at times with humour.
When I look back to my childhood and adolescent days living in the rural of Northern Thailand, I can see how much my life has dramatically changed over the years. Not for one-minute back then did I think that I would eventually travel almost 10,000 kilometres and end up living in Scotland.
I hope that you will now join me while I look back over the brief history of how my life here in Scotland has changed since I arrived way back in Scotland in 2004,and how and why I decided to open the Thai Massage Room and Spa some10 years ago. I really hope that you will enjoy my story.
When I look back all of these years ago to when I lived and was brought up in Thailand, as a female child in a large family, from a very early age I was expected to massage the older members of my family when they returned home after a long day working on the land. This was our culture and at that time I thought nothing of it but this humble beginning was to lead me into a career in Traditional Thai Massage.
In time I met a Scotsman called Brendan through an international dating website and after a brief and at times a long distanced courtship, we were married and in 2004, I travelled to Scotland to start my new life here.
Initially after my arrival here in Scotland, I felt very alone and isolated as Brendan often worked away from home and I spoke very little English. I wanted to build a career for myself in Traditional Thai Massage but I soon realised that this could only be a dream at this time, as I could not communicate with anyone.
I wanted to be self-sufficient but initially I could not get a job anywhere, not only because of my language difficulties but also because everywhere that I tried wanted work-related references and I did not know anyone.
Early in 2005, I then felt that my world was falling apart, not only because of loneliness but because I was told that my mother had died suddenly in Thailand. I realised that I would never see her again and I knew that I could not go back for her funeral as I may well have difficulty in regaining admission to the UK, as immigration was strict. This was a very sad and traumatic time for me.
Despite the sadness of losing my mother, I battled on with my life here in Scotland and I eventually managed to find work as a volunteer with the Multicultural Association and the Red Cross. After some time working with them, I then managed to get a few hours paid work in a local nursing home although this proved to be fairly difficult as living in a small rural village, the buses did not run frequently.
My real passion and wish of course was to start my own Traditional Thai Massage business although that still presented significant problems, not the least of which was my lack of English and the poor public transport connections.
It was a strange and worrying time for me as due to Brendan working offshore for long periods of time leaving me alone and unable to meet and speak to other people, as my understanding of the English language was so poor. Although I did drive in Thailand it was mainly on unmade roads and I was in no way able to drive of the busy and unfamiliar Scottish roads and this added to my feeling of isolation.
I had a deep desire to start my own massage business but it seemed an impossible task for me, due to the language, social and transport difficulties. I tried and tried to find a way forward but became very frustrated with the huge and what appeared to me difficult challenges ahead of me.
Eventually, I rented a room in a holistic centre in Newton Stewart that took me an age to travel to and from my home in the Haugh of Urr. When I arrived on my first day, I found that the room had no furniture and this was hardly the perfect ambiance for a relaxing massage experience!
My first customer there was a man who was obviously bemused by this Thai-speaking lady with no English or furniture in her room. He very quickly made the excuse that he needed to go to his car to collect his shorts...…….never to be seen again, although I cant say that I really blame him because I was terrified too!
I continued operating there for a while and eventually I rented a room in Castle Douglas as it was much nearer to home. However the facilities there were no better than before and on top of this, the proprietor of the building wanted a large percentage of what I earned on top of the rent so I didn’t stay there long either.
Eventually, while still working in the Care Home and with Brendan’s agreement, in 2006, I set up a room in our house and started running my own Thai massage business from there. It was a fairly successful venture although I tried to operate only when he was working away from home so that it would not invade his privacy or freedom. I am delighted to say that a number of customers including Pam, Nigel and Ian who came to me back then, still come to me now for treatment some 14 years on.
While still working from home, a lovely lady called Holly came to me for a Traditional Thai Massage and at that time she owned and ran the ‘Pure Beauty' Salon in Kirkcudbright. This meeting was to be one of the main reasons that my career in massage was to develop as she offered me the opportunity to practice my skills in 'Foot Massage' in her Salon once a month and she would arrange to book customers for me. This was a fantastic opportunity for me as I saw how professional her business was and how good the facilities that she provided were. I cannot thank her enough for her support as this encouraged me to develop my own business.
For some considerable time, I kept on trying to promote the benefits of Traditional Thai Massage in every way that I could. On one occasion I was asked to speak to a Well-being Group in Sanquar and demonstrate Thai Massage to them. I would like to express my gratitude to another lovely lady called Catherine who lived in Dalbeattie who offered to drive me to Sanquar as I had no means to get there. As my English was so poor, she also translated what I was saying so that the members of the group so that they could understand me. I was only meant to speak for a short time to the group but I ended up talking and giving a massage to all 15 members of the group!
Throughout this time, I still wanted to promote my idea of me offering Thai Massage so in 2007, I advertised for the first time in the ‘Bulletin’ monthly publication that is delivered to households throughout Dumfries and Galloway. As a matter of interest, I still advertise them every month, some 14 years later!
Some time later, I met a lady called Lisa, who now runs the Gents Barber’s shop in Millisle and she introduced my to Johnston who is the owner of the Millisle business units. This introduction was to lead me into taking the huge step of opening the Thai Massage Room & Spa in July 2011. The big day then finally arrived when I opened my doors to customers for the first time and this was a decision that I have never regretted.
This venture proved to be the best decision that I have ever made and without doubt it was aided by the fact that I was fortunate enough to have such a wonderful Landlord who has helped and fully supported me during my 10 years in Millisle. Thank special to Dinnis Johnston for all of your help throughout the years that I have been there.
Over the years and while running the ‘Thai Massage Room & Spa’, I have continued to develop my own skills and qualifications in Thai Massage and other related therapies and over the years I have treated clients from all over the world. I now have a large customer base, including some that have been with me fro the beginning and I absolutely love my work and take pride in the benefit that it brings to my clients.
May I take this opportunity to thank all of you that have supported me over the years and for the friendship that you have given me. I feel honoured and fortunate to be able to run a business that I am passionate about and that I love dearly. Seeing my clients improve their movement, mobility and quality of life gives me great pleasure and a true sense of achievement and fulfilment.
I am proud to own and run the ‘Thai Massage Room & Spa' in Dalbeattie and to have received so many wonderful reviews from my clients who speak so favourably about the professionalism of my treatments and about the peaceful and tranquil ambience of my room.
Thank you again for your support and I look forward to treating you all in the years to come. Please remember to check out ‘Noi's Journey from East to West' on my website thaimassageroom.com and also the sequel ‘Noi’s Destiny' that has just started
Posted by Noi McIntyre on July 28, 2021