American Student in North Korea Sentenced to 15 Years: Opinion

There was an American university student on an organized tour in North Korea.  He was caught stealing North Korean propaganda.  He was just sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.  The United States government is pleading with North Korea to set him free but North Korea wants to make an example of him.


He admitted to stealing the sign.  As his defense, he said he just wanted it for a souvenir.  And he thought that because he was American and with a tour group that he could get away with it.  He thinks America runs the world so he was invincible.  And he wanted to go to one of the worst countries for Americans to visits to be a badass at the age 21.  And this is what happened!  I might sounds a bit cold but as a traveler I’m so sick of rude tourists (not travelers) causing havoc.

  1. I’ve said this in every other blog post.  Be respectful of where you are.  You play by the rules and represent your country with dignity.  People hate Americans when they meet asshole Americans like this.
  2. I don’t think it’s a good idea to go to dangerous countries when you first start traveling.  I think if you travel through Europe and Asia a bit, knock out like 10 countries at least, before you take on such countries as North Korea, Iran, Mali, and Tanzania. These countries have official travel warnings on them for a reason. If you want to travel to these places have a little experience first.  I’ve met people who have gone to all of these places but they had been to like 20-30 countries as solo travelers before they graduated to that type of travel.
  3. Don’t steal shit anywhere! Be careful buying drugs, don’t assault anyone, don’t break a law that you know is a law.  If you could get in trouble for doing it in your home country you are probably going to get in trouble for it in another country.kanye
  4. Just because you are American or from a Western country, that doesn’t mean you are better than anyone or above another country’s laws. Your country’s embassy can only do so much for you. They aren’t Superman who can break you free and fly you back home. Life isn’t that simple.drunk
  5. Research a few things before traveling.  I’m going to Morocco.  I looked up that I need to eat with my right hand, I must wash my hands before and after eating, don’t pour my own drink and I need to wear my hair up.  Now I know how to be polite in Morocco, thanks Siri! It’s not that hard!!!

This guy doesn’t deserve the sentence he is getting but he is an example for the generation that didn’t watch Brokedown Palace.  Travel is dangerous!  You have to be careful.


Just last weekend some girls were talking shit about my friend and I.  We had bought club tickets from a promoter and we were at the front of the line because we had been waiting for the tour to come to the club.  These girls come up to the hot German guys behind us and yell loudly, “Can we cut?  I need to piss so bad! Fuck I’m about to pop a squat.”  They were so lady like.  I turned to one of them and said, “They’ll let us in soon don’t worry.” And she responds with, “Was I talking to you?”  Now my friend and I had half a mind to jump her dumbass but we didn’t.  And when we got into the club the German guys ran away from those banshees so fast.  The rest of the night we were with a large group of people and no one would talk to these American girls because they were loud and annoying.  Don’t be those girls!

Locals see you and want to steal from you.  No one thinks it’s cute.  Other travelers are ashamed to be associated with you. Learn how to act appropriately!

I’m sorry for Otto and his family.  It’s a lesson he shouldn’t have had to learn but it’s a lesson a whole new generation of travelers needs to know.  Millennials are the most traveled generation ever.  They are running out of America so fast it’s a record.  But as all of these people strive to be nomads they need to be aware of the dangers.

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