How often do you get lost? When I go on road trips to new places, I always print out a map from Google Maps or Mapquest, but then neglect to use it until I’m completely entrenched in foreign surroundings. I guess you could say that I like to get lost; it helps me find my bearings in a new place. But even I know when to pull out my map and reorient myself.
Cartography has been a field of study for over 8,000 years, and there are detailed maps for nearly every corner of the globe. With technological advances, it is now even harder to get lost with Google Map applications on the iPhone or web access on other [3g] networks. Despite all of these tools to help avoid getting lost, several Americans have been the talk of the media and foreign relations officials during the past several months. How? By getting lost in forbidden territories.
The notion of Americans being held captive for getting lost came to the forefront of the media last spring when two San Francisco-based journalists were jailed in North Korea for crossing the border from China. Tourism in North Korea is severely limited, and Americans are only admitted under certain circumstances in tour groups with guides. While held, the women were allowed little communication with the outside world. Their families and the U.S. government attempted to persuade North Korea that the crossover was an accident and that the women were sorry. In June, the two women were sentenced to 12 years of hard labor, but they are currently being held in a confined house while Secretary of State Clinton and former President Clinton work to gain amnesty for the lost journalists.