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Crossing the river before summiting 17,500 Pico Austria. Photo by Ella Williams (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest, 2nd Place), South America Semester.

Technology & Traveling

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Queridos estudiantes,

This is a brief note on the policies that we have for the course regarding tecnology use. Please read the following guidelines carefully and let us know if you have any question or concerns.

First of all, we want to tell you ¡Tecnhnology is amazing! It has the ability to connect people in the most remote parts of the world, it helps us to travel trhoug a world of information, its used to spread ideas and to inspire us. HOWEVER, there is an ugly side of technology.  Tools like smartphones and social media that are designed to unite us, often isolate us. The ability to acces the internet 24/7 can make ir so we are not present in the moment. One of the things that makes Dragons courses so magical is that without the tempting distraction of a smart phone lurking in our pocket we are forced to be present in our experience. We see South America and more importantly, we see ourselves in real time. Therefore, with the support of Dragons Admin we would like to present a list of approved and not approved electronic devices.

NOT permitted: Cell phones, computers, iPads, other tablets or iPod Touch.

Permitted: Cameras and music players only (none with phone/internet/Wi-Fi capabilities)

If you decide to bring any of the non-permitted devices, they will be collected on the first day of our course and held by the instructors until the last day of the course. Instructors are not responsible for items that are lost, stolen or damaged.

We encourage you to bring the permitted items, since you will be taking pictures of our experiences as a group and you will able to share pictures with people that we encounter on our journey. We do ask you to be mindful in the way that you are using your music devices, since it can be a way to not immerse fully in the experience thanks to it.

I (Itzá) understand it can be sound pretty “intense” to leave your cellphones back home, because we use them all the time, and we have basically born in an era where to have a phone is the most normal thing. But imagine how wonderful and different this experience will be in terms of disconnection and really living the moment, believe me, not having a smartphone will indeed improve your travel experience. I often do not like to have a phone with me all the time, so I just stay away from it for long periods, and I imagine as if I am living in another era, where this did not exist, so I encourage you to try it to live this experience like if this didn’t exist!

A COUPLE COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

  • If I deactivate my phone, can I still use it as my camera and music player?

Response: We acknowledge that smartphones can wear hats but we’ve found that even a deactivated phone has incredible potential to alter your experience. So to be clear; PHONES IN ANY FORM WILL NOT BE ALLOWED.  The same goes for iPod Touches, since they are basically the same as a deactivated phone.

  • I’m worried about my connecting flights before/afted the trip. Can I bring my phone for that?

Response: Yes, you can but we encourage you to try it without your phone because as soon as you meet us in La Paz we will collect the phone. 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 numer 001-303-413-0822).

For family and friends back home, know that the instructor team will be in regular communication with the Dragons Boulder office (even while on treks and in remote communities). Throughout the semester if you have questions please post them here on the Yak Board and we’ll reply as quickly as possible. Or contact the Boulder office and they will quickly forward questions on to us.

So unplug. Dive in. And get ready for an amazing adventure.

Your Instructor Team,

Raquel, Brian and Itzá.