As you’re getting those bags packed and ready, there’s a few things you need to remember to leave behind….dogs, cats, the occasional goat and electronics. Rather than telling all your friends and family about the great time you’re having, we want you to have a great time. By unplugging from our world at home we can plug into a whole new world (even in Aladdin they had a magic carpet, not an electric one). If we try to keep up with social media and our friends back at home then we won’t be able to immerse ourselves in our environment. Without using our electronics think of the energy we are going to be saving and all of the things we will be able to tune into.
We spend so much of our time looking down on our phones we don’t always notice the things going on around us. Ladakh is something you don’t want to miss. In the areas we will be travelling to, many of the people in the communities won’t have these electronic devices. These communities thrive without the gadgets as they prioritize interpersonal communication. Having these gadgets could draw unwanted attention and exhibit wealth disparity.
We ask that you don’t bring electronics. It is Dragon policy that students do not bring any electronics devices along with them. This policy is taken very seriously, as it was created with the mission to help you become immersed in your new environment. Electronic devices include: droids, phones, i-pods, MP3s, i-pads, etc. Frequent contact with home can interfere with your adaption to your new environment. We encourage our students to be as engaged in their surroundings as possible. This means being in the moment, without having to worry about documenting the moment. While traveling to us, you and your family might decide it’s best for you to hang onto your phone. That’s OK! However, once we are together, your instructors will be collecting all of the electronic devices and holding onto them until departure.
Cameras: A picture is worth a thousand words, so feel free to bring a camera! However, we recommend a small, durable camera that is replaceable. We will be on the road with bumps, rain, dirt, and everything else Ladakh has in store. Rather than worrying about your camera getting ruined, we recommend you don’t bring it or pack it very carefully. Phones for the use of cameras will not be permitted. At the end of our trip, we will create a photo-share album so everyone can exchange pictures.
Emergency: In case of an emergency, and we need to contact your family or they need to contact us, your instructors will have a phone. We will keep your families updated so they will know when you have arrived safely and any other important information.
Free time: We will have some downtime as we recover from our treks and travel. We strongly recommend that you to bring a book. Once you finish that book, you can trade with someone else. You can also bring things like cards, hacky-sack or any other simple activities. Feel free to add some book recommendations to your yak introduction (such as: The Hotel on the Roof of the World or Seven Years in Tibet)! If you have any questions or concerns, let’s yak about it on the board! There’s a good chance you aren’t the only one thinking about it.
E-books: In general, we prefer real paper books that can be swapped in the group, but you may bring an e-reader/Kindle on the program. Be wary of the risks that the rough landscape poses to these any kind of electronics!
P.S. Don’t get rid of that phone too soon, because this week we will be in touch!
Uttara Hemant and Alena