Let’s have our electronics talk!
First, our policies and guidelines:
Not permitted to use while on course: cell phones, computers, iPads/other tablets, and iPod Touch.
Permitted: cameras, music players and e-Readers (only those without internet/wifi capabilities)
If you bring non-permitted items, they will be held by the instructors for the duration of the course. We are not responsible for items that are lost, stolen, or damaged.
For permitted items, moderation is key. Please use them to supplement your experience while in country and refrain from using them excessively. If it looks to us that your use of technology is detracting from your experience, we’ll talk to you about that.
Of course we understand how important access to technology is. We want you to be able to do research, to read, to listen to music, and most importantly, to be in touch with friends and family. Of course we will be reasonable. We want you to have healthy communication with friends and family and be able to share your experiences with folks back home.
There will be a computer or tablet available for student use while on course. Instructors’ cell phones will be available for students when they need to be in touch with family.
Q: If I deactivate my phone or put it on Airplane Mode can I use it as my camera and music player?
A: We know that smartphones can be versatile, but we’ve found that even a deactivated phone can be a temptation to detract from your experience. So phones in any form will not be allowed. The same goes for iPod Touches or the equivalent, since they are basically the same as a deactivated phone.
Q: I’m worried about my connecting and international flights before and after the trip. Can I bring my phone for that?
A: Yes, you can. But we encourage you not to because as soon as you meet us in-country, we will collect the phone and then will have to carry it around for three months! To ensure that your travels go smoothly we recommend you carry a hard copy of all required flight information and a physical list of important numbers (i.e. your emergency contacts and the Dragons office’s number +1-303-413-0822). There are lots of people in an airport who can help you find what you need. Taking this first step of navigating through human interactions instead of smartphone tools is a great way to step into the kinds of experiences and interactions we cherish on Dragons courses.
Family members, please be aware that the instructor team will be in regular communication with the Dragons Boulder office (even while on treks and in remote communities). So if your family needs to contact you, they can get in touch with the Boulder office who will be able to get in touch with us. Watch our Yak Board for exciting updates every few days!
Why do we believe in disconnecting from technology as much as possible while in country?
We value the close community that develops when traveling in a tight knit group. We value silence, we value conversation over meals, we even value boredom as a mechanism to expand our awareness and develop new techniques to self-entertain.
Our modern portable electronics make it easy to distance ourselves from the here and now of our immediate surroundings. One of the best ways to understand a culture is to experience it fully in the moment– electronics often detract from that. There’s no greater opportunity to engage in the local culture and philosophy than to disconnect from the technology that’s largely a product of Western thought and globalized ways of living. Many Dragons students reflect that the absence of constant technology is one of the most valuable and empowering aspects of the course, allowing them to learn, connect, and experience in a genuine way.
Whatever your opinion about our minimalist-technology policy, we encourage you to read this article on the effect of phones on human interaction. As you prepare for the course and let your friends and family know how much they can expect you to be in touch, we hope that you will take the time to consider these questions for yourself and embark on your travels with mindful intentions toward technology’s role in your life. We can have a discussion about these questions together once in country!
Unplug. Dive in. And get ready for an amazing adventure.
Your Instructor Team,
Nikki, Siang & Parker