In this age we live in of constant connectivity, a world of data roaming, wi-fi and the like, the prospect of a near complete technological de-tox, of separating from ones telephone near surgically attached to the palm, leaves many people looking aghast in horror. Should an e-mail go unanswered for more than a few hours, or an amusing Facebook photograph not even receive a cursory “like” within a day of being posted some individuals will be concerned – sending follow up messages and e-mails along the exciting lines of, “did you receive my e-mail,” “are you OK?” or “I hope you got my message?” My answer is of course normally “yes” to all three – I have just been busy. But of course there is in this world an exception, one place where I can switch off from the outside world and e-mails, forget about ring tones, downloads and the tedious celebrity rumour mill. North Korea!
In North Korea I can switch off completely, only making contact with the outside world if I actively go out of my way to seek to do so, and here still only by telephone. With no internet access at all, dinner conversations are far more interesting, uninterrupted by blips and buzzes. The world is set to rights by the group and guides every night, without access to Wikipedia to check on “facts” or dispute questionable statements. With a smart phone to hand one can normally find the answer to almost any question in seconds – without it I find in North Korea that we speak more with each other, and have more intelligent conversations as a result. Remember those?
I suppose in a way that it is like 1984 (the year), but it is lovely to get away from touch screens and keyboards, to truly switch off from the outside world. It is an added bonus of a visit to North Korea, that leaves me feeling charged and ready for another winter back in the office at the computer.
Once I have ploughed through a fortnights worth of emails that is…