My Holiday in North Korea

Most people want out of North Korea. Photographer Wendy Simmons wanted in.


A born explorer, she is thrilled when granted a rare entry visa—despite the country’s penchant for detaining tourists.


In My Holiday in North Korea: The Funniest/Worst Place on Earth, Wendy offers readers a glimpse of North Korea as it’s never been seen before.


For ten days, she hurtles through a “North Korea is Great! America is Not!” tour while attached by a virtual shock-collar to two female handlers—and Wendy’s pretty convinced one of them is crazy, even by North Korean standards.


Before long, she learns the essential conundrum of “tourism” in North Korea.


“Travel is truly a love affair. But, just like love, it’s a two-way street. And North Korea deprives you of all this. They want you to fall in love with the singular vision of the country they’re willing to show you and nothing more.”


Through poignant and laugh-out-loud essays accompanied by stunning photographs, Wendy chronicles one of the strangest vacations ever. Along the way she bares all while trying to befriend her enigmatic minders, and undergoes an inner journey as convoluted as the country itself. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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