Last week I was fortunate to talk with author Travis Jeppesen about his new book about studying and venturing about in a Pyongyang, North Korea, while under the watchful eye of current leader Kim Jong Un. Conveniently, that very book is called See You Again in Pyongyang: A Journey into Kim Jong Un’s North Korea. It’s pretty great and you should definitely read it – which you totally can because you (probably) don’t live in North Korea!

I’m taking the path more traveled with this one and suggesting you head over to to check out the original interview + carefully curated text written to make the podcast episode come alive; it’s a good listen (and passable read). For the sake of the Safe Spaces Podcast edition, of course, I’ll add that we didn’t spend that much time talking about the country’s forced labor camps or feeding unlucky family members to hungry dogs. There’s more to North Korea than what you’ve read online; how much is – or isn’t true – is the question.

Instead we focused on areas that played to Travis’ strengths as both student and writer, namely his huge appreciation for art (specifically “epic kitsch” art on an equally epic scale), blessed with a mind more open and inquisitive than all the pundits at CNN and Fox News combined. Yes, we touch on some of the nation’s nastier moments, as well as the recent Singapore Summit between President Trump and NPRK’s Kim Jong-un.

Recent events/hysteria in the United States regarding the separation of children and need for immigration reform – nearly all of which based on photos that have subsequently been discredited, completely manufactured or misappropriated – reminds us that propaganda comes in all shapes, sizes, and glossy prints. Who can you trust when you can’t even trust your own eyes anymore?