While packing you might find yourself wondering what you should and shouldn’t include in terms of technology. As discussed during your phone interview with the Dragons office, personal cell phones and laptops are not allowed on course. We know that it can be a challenge to leave behind the technology you are accustomed to using regularly, but taking a break from these devices is a great opportunity to be fully present with the group and everything else we will be experiencing this summer!
This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to stay in touch with friend and family while you are on course, there are still a number of ways for you to do so. Whenever we are in a location that has wifi or internet cafes, the group will have time to access email/facebook to check in with home. Your friends and family can also follow along on the Eastern Himalayas Yak Board, as we will be regularly posting photos and reflections from the field. If you click onto this page you will see a box on the upper righthand side of the screen that says “subscribe to updates,” by doing this you can receive an email once a day with any new content that has been posted.
This brings us to part 2 of the technology policy: cameras, kindles/e-readers, and i-pods….
Cameras: definitely 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. There are obviously a lot of different types out there, and it is really up to you as to what kind to bring.
Kindles/e-readers/ipods: 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 necessary 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 summer.
On a long train 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 take in the sights and smells around you. Or maybe you are chatting with the passenger sitting next to you, and learning their story. 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.
You are encouraged however to bring a book. Courses generally find they have successful book trades if all members of the group bring something to read and then pass around. We will also have access to a small library at the Dragons program house in Kalimpong (where we will do our urban homestays).
If you have any specific questions or concerns around this you can always reach out to us. We are happy to have a conversation about any of this.
Sharon, Vincent, and Hilary.