December 04, 2022
Features

“Run-Away Crab Needed to Enter North Korea”

When most think of celebrating their 23rd birthday, eating out, nights on the town, or a weekend trip to a relaxing beach treat might come to mind.  However, my 23rd was to be different – a secluded celebration with a trip to North Korea. Reflections, acquired wisdom, aspirations and new adventures often accompany another year of one’s life; so, to bring in my new year, I strictly started with the later of these – an adventure! Having just arrived back from several months living in the Middle East, I wanted to start my 23rd year with a trip to a place I, like many Westerners, felt to be light years away (or rather, behind,); to a place I have been fascinated with for over a decade, to a place where very little is understood – North Korea.

You can imagine the shock of family and friends to my proposed trip, alone, to the DPRK.  Just days after arriving back to the United States, I would be heading East again. No one really understood. With South Korea's naval corvette the Cheonan having been sunk just months prior to my trip, and with tense foreign relations between my country (the U.S) and theirs, many tried to dissuade me. They continually mentioned that North Korea would be there tomorrow and that there would thus be other opportunities to travel there. However, I knew for me the time was now – I wanted to experience a Soviet-style way of life that never existed in our Western world. So, on September 9th, 2010 I flew East – first stop, Beijing.