Let’s talk about electronics. This brief note is to remind you that you won’t need any electronics on this course. Technology can be amazing. It has the ability to connect people in the most remote parts of the world, to spread ideas and to inspire us. However, we’re sure you’ve seen the ugly side of technology as well. Tools like smartphones and social media that are designed to unite us, often isolate us. The ability to access the internet 24/7 can make it so that 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 smartphone lurking in our pocket we are able to be fully present in our experience. We see Guatemala and more importantly we see ourselves in real time. So with the support of Dragons Admin we’d like to present a list of approved/not approved electronic devices.
If students arrive on course with any of the non-permitted items they will be held by the instructors for the remainder of the course. Instructors are not responsible for items that are lost, stolen or damaged. We prefer not having to lug your stuff around all summer, and you won’t be able to use those items at any point during the course. That said, we understand that some students and families want students to travel to and from Miami with a cell phone to contact home, and we’re ok with that, as long as you’re ok with us holding on to your device once we begin the program.
A commonly asked question is: If I deactivate my phone can I still use it as my camera and music player?
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, phones in any form will not be allowed. The same goes for iPod Touches, since they are basically the same as a deactivated phone.
Students often make the point that it feels like a waste of money and resources to buy new electronics that meet these requirements since they pretty much use their phone to do everything. And yes, we realize that not everyone is going to have an old MP3/Music player or point-and-shoot or DSLR camera sitting around since smartphones have replaced most of those devices. However, many past students were able to borrow music players, eReaders, and cameras from friends and family for use on the trip. Ask around and see who can lend you one! Or, you could purchase a used or refurbished one for pretty cheap.
For these permitted items moderation is key. If students are using permitted items to remove themselves from the experience the instructors will talk with that student. If the action continues the item(s) will be held by the instructors. Music players and electronic/regular books are for that sacred me time when the group isn’t doing something together. We’re not going to listen to music on treks or during group activities. We understand and respect how important access to technology may be for you. However we ask that you trust the process.
After a year and a half of Zoom school and Netflix binging we’re going cold turkey on technology! Tell your family and friends that you’re going to be off the grid for July. You’ll miss some birthdays and all the hot gossip but it’s just 4 short weeks. Disconnect from the stress of the technological world and connect to the mountains, lakes, jungle, and each other. Try to get all of your work/school related emails squared away before you leave.
Family & Friends – Having your loved one head to Guatemala for 4 weeks is an emotional experience not just for them but for you as well! Know that we’ll be posting updates here on our Yak Board every 4-6 days and the instructor team will be in regular communication with the office, even in the jungle and on our trek. If you need to articulate anything important to your loved one please send a message to the Dragons office and they will pass it on to us promptly. Students will have access to email about once a week on the program.
At the end of courses students always mention how thankful they were to be disconnected from technology. This may be one of the few times in your life where you’ll be disconnected for an extended period of time, cherish it and use it for undistracted self reflection/personal growth!
So unplug. Dive in. And get ready for an amazing adventure!
Teto, Mónica, and Jochen