South Koreans are workaholics, working more than 2,000 hours per year on average. Add cultural and social expectations to the mix, and you’ve got one stressed-out nation.
To escape the pressures of everyday life, some Koreans are paying to voluntarily go to prison.
“The Prison Inside Me” relaxation center in Hongcheon is a popular vacation spot just outside of Seoul.
Visitors wear blue jumpsuits, sleep on the hard floor of a tiny prison cell, and eat rice porridge delivered through a slot in the door.
They also give up their cell phones and any connection to the outside world when they enter.
Guests are sent to solitary confinement for up to 24 hours and participate in Buddhist and Zen meditation programs.
Visitors say the experience gives them a sense of freedom and helps them reflect on what’s important in their lives.
“Locking themselves up in solitary confinement here is not a prison; the true prison is the world outside.” — Jihyang Roh, Prison Inside Me co-founder
In 2017, President Moon Jaein introduced a campaign to slash the work week from a legal maximum of 68 hours to 52 hours, called the “right to rest”.
Hopefully, Koreans get a chance to relax and celebrate the Pyeongchang Olympics this month!