My trip to North Korea was an eye-opening one which showed me how different from expectations a place can really be. North Korea, however oppressed its citizens might be, is a country filled with kind and caring (although generally very shy) people like you and me. Children wave and play games, soldiers point at you curiously and smile and girls blush and shy away. They’re human, but living in the past and cut off from the outside world.
There were some sad scenes I wasn’t able to take footage of – skinny naked children in the countryside, power blackouts or men carrying absolutely huge boulders with their bare hands.
“NO PHOTOS! NO PHOTOS!”
The real North Korea is somewhere in the middle of the picture their government is trying to portray and how most people see the country. Its people are certainly, absolutely not brainwashed, but trying to live their lives the best they can while genuinely revering the very people who will eventually cause the collapse of the country.
At almost no point did I feel threatened, and I had a great time overall. I feel my actions made a small change in people’s lives: showing Koreans games on my phone and pictures from back home, dancing and drinking with them and waving at the little kids and college students.
This has been an impressive trip and I will certainly come back here one day. Here’s to hoping there’ll be a change.