The experience of a lifetime.
by Brian Campbell
(Yongin City, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea)
Myself at Myohyangsan (Mt. Myohyang)
My story is a rather unusual one, and traveling to the DPRK is certainly an unusual experience in itself! I went there for the Mass Games, got to see the very first performance of the year on August 15th, 2009(Liberation day).
I live in South Korea, which makes my visit fall under more scrutiny then others, so I almost didn't get to go. But there are advantages to that, most notably that I can speak, read, and understand a fair bit of Korean. That allowed me to have a chance (however infrequent and rushed) to speak to real people, which was one of the most deeply felt impacts of my trip. People are people wherever you go.
Of course, given the political situation, relations between North and South have their fair share of tension, and my trip was no exception. Upon returning to the South I was detained and questioned by agents of the KCIA to ascertain my intentions and feelings about the trip, which though a rather unpleasant experience, puts the entire exercise in perspective.
Still, even given the aftermath, I do not regret for one second my decision to travel to the DPRK, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who wishes to experience life in a world very different from many of our own.
I hope my story finds an interested audience, and I hope you consider a trip yourself.