We wanted to start off the topic of packing by addressing our technology policy for our time together in Nepal. Most of you must be already aware that these next 3 months, we will be having a no cellphone and no laptop policy. While this can initially sound scary or intimidating (as most of us are used to being able to communicate or be reachable 24/7), we want to reassure you there will still be plenty of opportunities for us to stay in touch with friends and family. In many communities we pass through there are Internet cafes and computers we can access. There will be time for us to get online and exchange emails with those back at home. In addition, the yak board is another great way for us to share photos and reflections from the field.
This brings us to Part 2 of the technology policy, cameras, kindles/e-readers, and mp3 players….
Cameras: If you are interested, please bring one if you want to take photos! It is a great way to capture your experiences to look back on later and share with friends and families. Also, Dragons has a photo contest for students which you can see more of here:
Kindles/e-readers: Similar to cell phones, many of us are accustomed to using these devices to help pass time; on the commute to school, on a long bus ride, or to wind down before bed. While the Dragons policy does not necessarily prohibit these things, we want to present you with a challenge, and that is to leave these things at home as well. The moments when you are bored and would pull out these devices to pass the time are the moments we want you to try and embrace this semester. Also if you are worried about having enough books to read, don’t worry. There are plenty of excellent bookstores throughout the valley and we have a good collection of books in our Program house library in Patan. We also make it a point to have a traveling library going on while on the move, where each student picks one book from the library and rotates it around. Also, as you spend more time in Nepal you may want to pick up literature on a specific topic you find interesting from traditional woodcarving to Buddhism to mountaineering.
MP3 Players: We will allow you to bring an MP3 player as long as it doesn’t have wifi capabilities. But we do encourage you on a long bus ride rather than popping in earphones, closing out the world right in front of you, and listening to music that might mentally transport you back home, we encourage you to be present and take in the sights, smells, and sounds around you (we assure you that there will be more than enough music on the bus for you). Or you could try chatting with the passenger sitting next to you, and learning their story and practicing your Nepali.
As a group, this also leaves space for us to be present with each other. There is so much to be gained from our conversations and interactions as a group, and these individual devices can distract from that. Leaving these things at home can also alleviate the stress that might be associated with damaging or losing one of these devices as we travel.
If you have any specific questions or concerns around this you can always reach out to us. We are happy to have a conversation.
Can’t wait to meet you all soon!