As we are preparing ourselves to go to a land that is so incredibly unique and special we want you to know that we understand the short time that we have there and want to make sure that we can immerse ourselves in Bhutan as much as we can. We want to help cultivate the culture of mindful and respectful engagement with Bhutan and its people and our small community. One of the ways we can empower ourselves in this is through unplugging ourselves from the virtual world and plugging ourselves to the world that we presently exist and engage in.
This is a yak to help you gain more clarity on the electronic policy and our intention behind asking you to adhere to these in our course. These policies are in no way meant to be constrictive but to ensure that the powerful distractions of technology are minimized.
If you bring laptops, cell phones, or music players they will be held by instructors for the duration of the program. We will keep them safe with us and will hand it to you as soon as the course ends. Please understand that you won’t be able to access these devices during the course as they won’t accompany us everywhere we go. We will very likely leave them safely locked in Nepal during orientation and access them during transference when we fly back to Nepal.
At the end of programs students always mention how thankful they were to be more disconnected from technology. You’ll have sufficient opportunities to connect with friends and family via wifi, cyber cafes, Skype calls, etc., though connections will not be as lightning-fast as back home in the U.S. On average students are able to connect to the internet about once a week.
Q: If I deactivate my cell phone can I still use it as my camera?
A: We acknowledge that smartphones can wear many hats but we’ve found that even a deactivated phone has incredible potential to alter your experience. So to be clear, smartphones in any form will not be allowed.
Q: I’m worried about my connecting flights before/after the trip. Can I bring my phone for that?
A: Yes, you can, but we encourage you to try it without your phone because as soon as you meet us, we will collect the phone and then have to lug it around for months. To ensure that your travels go smoothly we recommend you carry a hard copy of all required flight information and a written list of important numbers (i.e. your emergency contacts and the Dragons office’s number +1-303-413-0822).
Q : How about music players and iPods?
A : We understand the importance of music in all our lives. And so we as an I-team as really excited to introduce you to a lovely music scene from Nepal and Bhutan. Bhutan has some pretty awesome hip-hop, rock and folk music scene and we are so stoked to dive a little deeper in it together. However we ask that you don’t bring any kind of music player with you. With our ears plugged, with our iPods and earbuds it’s a really easy way to escape and check out from the present and Its a common pattern that we all can fall into. The moments where you are sitting with your family by the fireplace in a state of “awkward silence” or the moments you feel bored and staring at the fields is all that you have can be incredibly powerful moments. We want you to embrace those rare moments of “BOREDOM”.
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). If family needs to contact you, they can contact the Boulder office and we will receive forwarded questions. Watch our Yak Board for exciting updates every few of days.
We want to share our philosophy: the reasons why we ask you to disconnect from phones and computers.
As an instructor team, we value the close community that develops when traveling in a group. We want to give you an opportunity on this program to experience the world through different eyes and to be fully committed to each moment. When humans encounter something unfamiliar, something challenging, or something that just doesn’t fit into our worldview, it’s easy for us to initially step out of that experience and look for something known and comfortable, like a familiar smartphone, in order to disconnect.
Our modern portable electronics make it easy to distance ourselves from our immediate surroundings, whether it be people, places, or unfamiliar language. One of the best ways to understand a culture not your own is to experience it fully, to see the intricacies of everyday life, to feel its joys and sorrows, to see how the people pass idle moments and experience that with them. There is no greater opportunity to fully engage in the local culture and philosophy than to disconnect from the technology that’s a product of Western thought and globalized ways of living.
We encourage you to read this article on the effect of phones on human interaction. As you prepare for the program and let your friends and family know how much you will be in touch, we hope that you will take the time to consider these questions for yourself so that you are embarking on your travels with mindful intentions towards technology’s role in your life.
We wish you the best as you prepare for our upcoming program. We hope that you are able to intentionally prepare yourself and your friends and family for what will surely be the adventure of a lifetime and a an exploration of all that the world has to offer. Unplug. Dive in. And get ready for an amazing adventure.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any of us if you have any questions about technology.