Shortly before starting her freshman year at college, my informant noticed a mole on the back of her left foot which she was sure hadn’t been there before. She mentioned the mole to her mother, and it was then that her mother told of her the Thai belief that when you get a mole on your foot, it means you’ll travel far. (My informant’s mother is from the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand.)
My informant strongly believes that this belief is accurate, because she moved away from home and into a college dorm a few weeks after noticing the mole. She told me that the belief was bo-lan, a historical saying, or ancient/common knowledge, and that you have to respect bo-lan. Though she didn’t move far (her home is about a half hour drive from her college), she believes that this is because her mole is fairly small, and the size of the mole either determines or predicts (she’s not sure which) how far you’ll be traveling.
The location of the mole on the foot is probably significant. The feet are associated with walking, and therefore travel. This belief reminds me of another bit of folk speech: the “travel itch,” the desire to travel. Moles can itch, prompting the desire to walk, which could be a metaphor for travel.