Welcome to the Hippy Trail Project!

Hello and welcome to our blog, the public face of our research project about the Hippy Trail. We’re currently writing a book about the trail, tentatively entitled Travellers to Nirvana: The Hippy Trail and the Counter-Culture, 1957—78. Some background: global travel boomed in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century as the steam ship and the locomotive allowed distances to be crossed quickly and cheaply. Most journeys were utilitarian and commercial, but these new technologies also enabled a new form of leisure tourism, and package tours quickly developed. While some tourist ventures worked hand-in-hand with the structures of imperialism, other travellers suggested different values. For example, T.E. Lawrence was celebrated as a man opposed to the new spirit of vulgar commercialism: it was claimed his journeys transcended cultural and political divisions, and he met ‘other’ people as equals. The hippy trail to Morocco, Afghanistan, Nepal, India and other points east, which flourished between 1957 (when Jack Kerouac published his influential road narrative On the Road) and 1979 (when the Iranian Revolution closed the land route from Europe to India), was one of the last great expressions of such alternative or dissident tourism: North American and European travellers used VW vans, motorbikes and Land Rovers to travel East and their exploits quickly became a media cliché. In popular consciousness, knowledge of the hippy trail is still based mainly on stereotypical stories and images. But who were these travellers? Why did they travel? What routes did they take? What impact did they make on the local population, and vice versa? How have their experiences been recorded and depicted? What is the enduring legacy of these alternative forms of tourism?

As well as attempt to answer these questions, we will also explore depictions, recollections and representations of the Hippy Trail, including autobiographical travel narratives (e.g. Barrett, Christmas in Kathmandu). inspirational literature (Hesse, Kerouac), archival material (e.g. Foreign Office reports, newspaper stories), critical literature (written after the event, and usually very critical e.g. Hideous Kinky, The Paradise Trail), films (Easy Rider, Zabriskie Point, The Valley, Hideous Kinky) and music (“Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf (1968), “Marrakesh Express” by Crosby Stills & Nash (1969), “Going Mobile” by The Who (1971), “Passage to Bangkok” by Rush (1976), and The Beatles’ turn towards Eastern music, dubbed by one critic as “Beatles Orientalis”).

Contributions are welcome, either to the blog or contact us at hippy_trail@yahoo.co.uk

 

Prof. Sharif Gemie & Dr. Brian Ireland

History Division

University of Glamorgan

 

135 Responses to Welcome to the Hippy Trail Project!

  1. ALBERTO MINALDI says:

    I appreciate your excellent project. I’ve been in the hippy trail to Kathmandu in 1973 with my VW minibus and 1975 with magic bus. I would like to contribute.
    You can see my trip’s photos in my profile on Facebook. I’m writing a book about my journeys, but I’m not a good writer.
    Thanks for your attention.

    Alberto Minaldi from Busto A. near Milan, Italy.

    • bireland says:

      Hi Alberto, good to hear from you. If you don’t mind I will contact you via email with a short questionnaire about your experiences. Please also feel free to share any of your experiences here.

  2. Dr Michael R Taylor says:

    Hi Sharif and Brian,

    I traveled to Kodari Pass in Nepal from South Brent, Devon in 1975, driving a LHD Type 2 VW Kombi van (a converted Dutch postal van). I then drove back to the UK overland in the same VW to live in just off the Kings Road, Chelsea. Each day I would then drive along the embankment to the City of London in the same battle scarred VW. I hope these experiences shaped, in a positive, much of what I have done since.

    I am currently sorting out my half frame 35mm colour transparency photographs from this trip which have been stored in my late parents house since around 1980. These have now been scanned into digital format and I am pleased to say they have lost none of their original impact. I have also discovered my original copy of the BIT overland travel guide and a mass of other memorabilia from this epic adventure.

    We were not Hippies but Travelers, wanting to discover new countries and cultures. One significant driver behind making this trip was the impression we had of the UK in the early 1970s (as relatively recent graduates), this was that the UK seemed to have lost its way and was imploding economically and socially.

    We had both studied long and hard, had worked for some 3-5 years and saved some money, but in the early 1970s the UK did not seem to be the place we wanted to live in. We were surrounded by social inequality, massive unrest, 3 day working weeks and our savings were melting away. So we decided to spend all our savings (circa £1,000) to see and experience as much of the world as we could before the opportunity was lost forever.

    The experiences we had were life changing and it has been my intention for the last 38 years to write up these experiences. They present a unique insights into the lives of the many extraordinary people we encountered when traveling through Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Afghanistan.

    In hindsight it is possible to identify some clear signs of the impending revolution in Iran, the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the growing tensions around the borders of Pakistan. I have spent much time wondering why the west was so taken by surprise when the Iranian revolution and the invasion of Afghanistan happened. My very simple conclusion is that that Governments, like people, only see what they want to see.

    Good luck with your work and do let me know if I can help in any way.

  3. bireland says:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. So many people are telling us they weren’t “hippies” I’m left wondering if “hippie trail” isn’t a misnomer! However, that’s all part of the attraction of writing about the trail — there were so many different experiences and easy generalisations don’t work.

  4. Paul Fraser says:

    Hi Brian, i already got in touch a while back when you were looking for Americans on the hippie trail facebook page,not cos i’m American but it was the first time i became of your project and wanted to know more.
    I got back from 3 weeks in Goa on Feb 26th . . . . there are still plenty of old hippies to be seen around on the Goa beaches and a new snazzy dance club at Anjuna called Hippies . . . . but back in the day, i first got to Calangute in December ’68 aged 18, the term hippies was mostly seen as a word used by the media and various elements of the business world. Americans referred to themselves as freaks and the English used “heads”, referring to someone who had gone inside their head, had a good look round and made some changes in their lives, re-actions to the 11 years enforced education system that Great Britain has, re-actions to straight family backgrounds, re-actions to having been brought up in Britain of the ’40’s and 50’s, based on the consumption of good quality hashish and the internal doors opened by the LSD that was being made at the time. But “hippies” is fine for your project, everyone knows exactly who you mean. Looking forward to any publication that will come from your work.
    All the best, Paul Fraser.

    • bireland says:

      Thanks for this Paul. It is becoming increasingly clear to us that the commonly-used “Hippie Trail” nametag is a misnomer: only a few of the people we’ve interviewed refer to themselves as hippies. Even in the early 1970s, Foreign Office documents tend to refer to “beatniks” rather than hippies.

    • Robin Marshall says:

      Hi Paul,
      Lovely to come across your presence here in cyberspace, and still up and at it. Also chanced on a freakily nostalgic photo (google images) of you on Calangute Beach, probably taken by Alex (maybe even me, I was certainly with you on the beach that day, larking about, and have a copy of the photo somewhere). Probably 1969? Remarkable, and great fun. Still in touch with Alex, but haven’t met up for several years.
      Keep well
      (I’m happy for you to have the email address that accompanies this, but guess that isn’t how it works?)
      Rob

      • Paul Fraser says:

        Wow . . . . . i thought that might be you . . .!! .. . . . . i’ll get in touch with the guys running this page and see if they’ll let me have your email .
        1979 i spent a very quiet winter in Scotland , i started to write it all down . . . .after getting as far as the first visit to Goa in 1968 i realised i had left it too long , didn’t have the detail that would have been there if i had kept a journal at the time . So the writing stops somewhere on the way from Goa to Varanasi , a few months before i met Alex . The photo exists cos i had sent a couple to my Mum who had kept them safely . . . so the writing i did , and the photo , finally got sent to FlowerRaj.org a couple of years ago , where Nico , who runs that site , put them up . . . my little story was totally eclipsed by Sean Jones , who let Nico have his brilliant story at the same time .. .but it all goes to make up the tapestry . I am keen to read your untitled fiction, i feel it’s sure to be based on what happened to us in those days , amongst other things . . . . .Paul . . .:)

        • Robin Marshall says:

          Yes, old friend, it’s me – such a long time!

          I hope they let you have the email address, as it would be great to have a few more conversations. If they don’t, we’ll have to think of something else.

          I spent much of last winter researching the ‘Trail’, primarily with images first, as jolts to imperfect memory and dodgy detail. I think I’m a few years older than you (I certainly used to be – ha ha) and I have very little in the way of souvenirs or reminders left – no bad thing, because the greatest joy of all during those years was having and carrying almost nothing – for most of those years I didn’t even have a passport.

          What writing I have done, has been a serene journey of its own, a slow waking up, and gently remembering names and places, and small precious things, moments, stories long forgotten, and amazing people I’ve rarely conjured up between then and now.

          So, generally this HT project of mine has been a way to keep the old head together, just like it always has been. All my sanity stems from having those India+ years to guide me.

          Hope we can talk soon (let me know if there’s a problem) – and I’ve just located FlowerRaj.org for future reading.

          Robin

          • paul fraser says:

            Yep . . . . i don’t think we can keep using the Project comments to cover more than 40 years of catching up . . lol .. . i’m on the Facebook Hippie Trail page . .well in with the chat on there amongst like minded people . . . if we meet there we can start a personal message conversation . . . i have asked Brian and Sharif who run this page for your email , but i think , understandably , they won’t be able to give it . . . .i’m based near Aberystwyth by the way . . . later , Paul .

        • Robin Marshall says:

          Apologies to the project for this personal stuff, but this should be the last message.

          Sorry, Paul, I can’t be doing Facebook, but if you visit a derelict blog page of mine: http://malagolasatlas.blogspot.fr/
          ..and follow your nose from there, we should be able to communicate thereafter?

          • paul fraser says:

            Yes . . .thanks to the Project for enabling these messages . . . looks like Robin and i are off down the chai shop for a chat . . . 🙂

  5. David Winterburn says:

    Thank you for initiating this fascinating project. I traveled the trail back in 1972 on the “Rainbow Express”, a bus purchased by a few Hog Farm members. I boarded the bus in Istanbul with 20 or so other “world travelers” from the States, Germany, France, Canada and Yugoslavia. The bus broke down numerous times in Iran and never actually made it to our destination, Kabul. We had to abandoned the Rainbow Express north of Ghazni, about 30-40 minutes on the main highway from from the Afghan capital.

    After three weeks in Kabul , I traveled via bus and train down the Khyber Pass through Pakistan to India, crossing at the Lahore-Amritsar boarder.

    Five years later, I returned to Kabul as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English at an all boys telecommunications school. By 1978–even before the April revolution and subsequent Russian invasion at the end of 1979–it seemed there were far fewer world travelers in the city than in 1972 and many of the hangouts (hotels and restaurants) had closed. Chicken Street was, of course, still the world travelers’ Mecca in Kabul where you could easily purchase Hashish or get high in any one of a number of shops.

    Let me know if you would like me to email you more details of my journey East on the Rainbow Express. . .

    Again, thanks!

    • bireland says:

      Hi David. Sorry for the delay in replying. Thanks for the fascinating info. I will take you up on your offer of more details! Email on the way 🙂

  6. Brooks Goddard says:

    Good on ya for starting this project. It will be fueled by comments by those of us “of an age” who clearly enjoyed an arduous trip that ultimately nourished us. We are all at a stage where lifetime memories have power and when realizing that our unique travels were part of an era often given over to sex, drugs, and rock n roll (let’s face it, we all inhaled, but that’s not all we did). “Hippie Trail” works b/c it has recognition. I have my 2 journals and ready to go. Our second journal is named “And the luggage is in danger” from a phrase from V. S. Naipaul’s “An Area of Darkness.”

  7. Dear Hippy Trailers,
    Thanks for your laudable project. I was referred by David above, with whom I travelled on the Rainbow Express. I am not adverse to the monicker hippie although some were indeed more world travelers and others less—essentially drug tourists. Regardless, the Journey to the East was a fantastic noble experience and more fun than should be allowed, hence the need to self-satirize as “hippie.” It was also a complex philosophical endeavor that both contradicts Said’s supposedly enlightened “Orientalism” of 1978 and the fundamentalist revanchism that started that same year. I remember making love to a Turkish girl in Athens and the fun of Turkey from its hash-smoking policemen to running with a pack of dogs through Istanbul at night. Yes, we did get stoned—literally—by teenage boys in Eastern Turkey after we, with sexes mixed, used a hammam (steam bath), and they got aroused peaking through the tiny, top windows, and yes the Shah’s Iran was a sad, repressed place. Nevertheless, many people were lovely throughout and generally overjoyed to see us—the first tourists since Marco Polo—and sell us their wares. This was especially in Afghanistan, which converted into a hippie paradise almost effortlessly since they were so anarchic and felt free to do as they wished. Where all those friendly people went and why the Taliban took over is a sad story. Sure, our drug use and states of underdress did contribute a little but mostly the old Sufi mediaeval intellectualism was exhausted, the society had become ridiculously corrupt and essentially polytheist—everyone for themselves and their own god and no unifying justice or civilization. Most importantly, there was the geography. They had the bad luck of being born on the front lines of the Cold War, a worldwide tsunami that led to Mosaddegh’s ouster in Iran in 1953, eventually the Iranian Islamist revolution, and the war for Afghanistan starting in 1978. After so much suffering, the poor everyman figures giving up music, alcohol and women’s faces (publicly, they still enjoy in private) is a small price to pay for some stability. But in our day, it was the last hurrah of those Sufis, who happily welcomed us, played their cassettes at top volume (b0th Hendrix and Turkish tunes) and smoked tons of hash while serving buckets of tea. Just imagine: the world was our oyster and Islam was our playground and I speak as a Jewish child of a Holocaust survivor mother (who expressed no fear that I was embarking on a journey across Islam, although I did get back in August 1973, two months before the Yom Kippur War). It was a true meeting of East and West enacted daily by average people right on the road, each inspiring the other, before the ideologues and manipulators could take over. Although whether we will see it again is doubtful but I once asked an Iranian my age (58) what they thought of the hippies traipsing by their doors in the ’70s and he responded, “We admired them. So far from home, looking for something, on a mystical journey.” When I reminded that he was pretty much doing the same here in California, he laughed, but it led me to thinking that someday, perhaps, we as old voyagers, or our kids, will lead a convoy of buses and vehicles, in collusion with the Ministers of Cultures from the various countries, replete with corresponding museum shows, to open up the hippie trail and its mystical, fraternal and commercial implications once again.

  8. Sue Smith says:

    Hi. How great to see your project. I traveled overland to India in 1977, by any means possible, bus, train, plane, pony, foot, pick up truck etc. It remained one of the most significant experiences of my life. I had traveled traveled around Europe with my family as a child and learned to love the excitement of arriving in unknown places, meeting people speaking different languages, trying to understand different cultures. The trip to India was all of this and more, more more… I loved the experience so much that 3 years ago, having raised a family and developed a career, I took redundancy and went back for 4 months. I wondered how I would cope in my 50s with the travel and facilities but it is much easier to travel around now, there is bottled water available (unheard of then) and what I lack in physical flexibility I make up for in patience and stamina. I came back to the UK because of family events but have been trying to get back to Asia again ever since. If all goes according to plan, my husband and I will be landing in Delhi in early October to stay in India and South East Asia for as long as we can manage it.

    “To awaken in a strange town…is one of the pleasantest feelings in the world”. Freya Stark.

  9. Simon Allen says:

    Hi, I first tried to get to India with my friend Keith in 1973 when we bought a Morris Minor convertible for £25 & set off. We had £50 each ! & made it as far as Istanbul when we realized we needed to ditch the car & caught one of the ‘magic buses’ instead. I ran out of money in Tehran & had to hitch a ride home. Keith, who was a mechanic, had got the bus working when it broke down so was offered a free ride to Delhi. I went home to earn money to make it next year. Keith returned 6 months later, borrowed some money from my Mum’s rich boyfriend & bought a bus. In 1974 we then set off from Amsterdam with a half full bus which was filled in Istanbul. He charged £30 from Istanbul to Delhi. I traveled with the bus to Delhi & then launched out on my own to Nepal & round India. Keith ran his bus back & forth for several years. Recently retired I’m planning to write up my experiences & will let you have them if they’re of interest and if you have any questions in the meantime I’d be happy to respond. I also have a couple of photos of the bus in action.

    • bireland says:

      Hi Simon. Thanks for sharing some of your experiences. I would love to hear more, and I’d very much like to read your stuff when it’s available (and to see those photos!)
      Brian.

    • Rob Smith says:

      Hi Simon
      Keith and I bought a Setra S12 bus in Ulm,West Germany and then drove up to Holland to stay with Alex and Dick while trying to book passengers. You came over from Cheltenham with Vicky and Karen to join us and then we set off to Turkey.
      I met Keith shortly before he died and went for a drink with him in The Leigh.
      I’ve still got several photos from our first trip to India so get in touch.
      Rob S

  10. Bruce Thomas says:

    Dear Sharif and Brian,

    I am pleased to see that the subject of Asian overlanding is now being properly documented and seriously studied. Considering the number of such travellers, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s, there seems to be a relative lack of authentic, first hand accounts published to date. It is also important, I think, that a balanced account is presented for posterity.

    My interest arises because I was one of those overland travellers, driving with a friend from Colombo to London in 1969, and spending four months on the road. I first took an interest in making the overland journey in about 1960 (as a school boy) after reading several books by people who had already made the trip. For some Australians (and New Zealanders) like myself, the overland route was an interesting alternative to a long and boring sea voyage to or from Europe on the traditional pilgrimage ‘home’. Air travel at this time, of course, was still very expensive.

    When we drove overland to London, it was already a popular thing to do. For example, on our ship from Sydney to Colombo, there were seven vehicles intending to do the same thing. We met many more on the road coming out the other way from Europe or the UK, and of course there were commercial bus services running from places like Kathmandu or Calcutta to London (and back) at the time. At border crossings there were yards in ‘no man’s land’ full of the wrecks of cars which had failed along the way (they had to ‘export’ the vehicle in this way, I think, to get back the deposit on their carnet). Many overland travellers also used local bus and train services, of course.

    I have read several recent books purporting to describe life on the overland route in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In my opinion, the Hippie aspect of these times has possibly been overemphasised, perhaps because it makes for more exciting reading and sells more books. Certainly there were those travelling to India, as the Beatles did in 1968, seeking some sort of spiritual enlightenment and a more satisfying alternative to Western materialism. Even more were lured by tales of cheap and abundant supplies of hashish, especially in Afghanistan and Nepal (where it was legally available). Kathmandu and Goa in particular were havens for hippie dropouts. However, the majority of overland travellers, at least in my experience in 1969, could not be described as Hippies – they were simply quite normal young people taking advantage of the open borders of the time to explore a truly exotic part of the world. These were, of course, the antecedents of today’s backpacker generation (before the term was coined).

    I am not so sure about the influence of the Beat Generation either. Ginsberg visited India in 1962-3 but his ‘Indian Journals’ was not published until 1970. Asian overlanding was already well established long before this and the Hippie era (late 60s, early 70s), and extended back, in fact, to before the Second World War.

    The increased popularity of overlanding to India may well have been encouraged by the Beatles’ interest in all things Indian. Another reason, however, was the opening of good roads in Afghanistan, which was previously very difficult to travel through. In the early to mid 1960s, the Russians and the Americans, competing with oneanother through foreign aid, built superb roads across the Afghan desert linking that country with Iran and Pakistan (as well as the USSR). These were finished by 1967. (Before that time most travellers went through southern Iran to Quetta, in Pakistan, completely bypassing Afghanistan). Then in 1968, an overland car rally, the London-Sydney Marathon, created enormous interest in Australia and Europe and demonstrated that the roads across Asia could be traversed in normal passenger cars.

    There was also a lot of interest at this time in creating a Pan-Asian Highway, much like that in North and South America, to facilitate development of the continent. During the 1960s, the Australian Automobile Association published a little booklet entitled ‘The Overland Journey from Australia to Europe and the United Kingdom’ and issued mile by mile road books of the route (I still have my copies). Overlanding was clearly a mainstream, as much as a counterculture activity.

    The term Hippie Trail is indeed a misnomer. The hippies did not pioneer the route and in my experience in 1969, they were merely a small, if colourful, part of the total travelling community. The rest of us, incidentally, referred to ourselves as ‘overlanders’.

    I have recently posted a selection of my photographs from the journey on the Flickr website –
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/96982658@N05/sets/72157633942678814/
    and would be happy to correspond with you further if you wish.

    • bireland says:

      Great to hear from you Bruce. Your pictures are great and are still really vivid all these years later. I particularly like Everest and Kathmandu. Thanks for your offer to help out. We might take you up on that. We’re putting a bibliography together for our forthcoming conference and I’ll share it here when it’s ready. Thanks again — Brian.

  11. travelled overland hitched to athens alone then met a canadian and took local busses and trains to india stayed away 7 months eventually hitchhiking home with 2 canadians since 18 years going back to india each year working with textiles and ghandi co operatives have written up the journey and can send the manuscript if you want no fotos no money for camera live since 40 years in a forested 500 acre co operative village we have built in the north of sweden no benders and tipees for us it goes down to -30 in the winters and l metre of snow sarah

    • bireland says:

      Hi Sarah. Thanks for contributing. I’d be happy to read your manuscript. Do you have an electronic copy you could sned by email?

  12. constance rivemale says:

    I read about your conference and I wondered if you had heard about “A Season in Heaven” by David Tomory published in 1995 by Thorsons and later by Lonely Planet.It is an oral history of the road to Katmandu 1965-1975 containing the experiences of around thirty travelers, both male and female from several different countries.
    As far as I know its the only objective account of the hippie trail
    .

    • bireland says:

      Hi – thanks for contacting us. Although we are aware of this one already, your comment reminds me that we really need to put a bibliography of sources up on the blog. I’ll get to that asap. Michael Hall’s ‘Remembering the Hippie Trail’ is also very enjoyable and very useful for our purposes. Of course, there are many more.

    • Michael Wildgoose says:

      Never heard of this book but sounds very interesting. Can you explain what makes it an “objective account”? I’m starting to type out my 600 page trail journal and concepts like true/accurate/objective/highly personal/drug-induced fantasies/prompted recall are jostling for control of my mind and memory.

      • bireland says:

        Hi Michael. Thanks for contacting us. I don’t think there is any such thing as ‘objective’ history: the researcher/writer always interprets and tries to make sense of events and experiences and to some extent that will always be open to multiple interpretations. When you write up your experiences it will be exactly that – your experiences. Of course, there is context for all of this — the conditions that motivated people to travel and what they found on their journeys. We’re in a good position to record, interpret and draw conclusions about that as we have read multiple accounts from a variety of travelers who have differing backgrounds, modes of travel and experiences. Hope that makes sense?

  13. I hope to send you more details of my overland journey to India in 1974. I travelled from the UK, gathered with other travellers in Amsterdam, boarded a bus called THE BUS (driven by Don) which broke down in Yugoslavia (as it was then called) and made my own way along the trail taking a month before arriving at my destination. I spent about a month and a half in India before returning to the UK, taking another month to travel back and arriving home a day before my 21st birthday.
    In my experience the travellers fell into several categories. 1) Hippies travelling to India obtain cheap drugs, mostly hashish, for personal consumption and/or smuggling home to sell at huge profit. This was a minority in my experience. 2) Hippies travelling to India to find a Guru or see a Guru they already followed. These were people, mostly Hippies, who were on a spiritual path or spiritual search. They were the majority of those I met in 1974 and I count myself among them… which is probably why they seemed to be the majority of travellers. Some of these people were not Hippies but ther were a minority. 3) Travellers – people looking to experience different cultures and landscapes to expand their knowledge and experience of the World. They were a minority, in my experience. Some were Hippies, some not. I
    I paint this picture with broad brushstrokes and it is a totally subjective observation and the lines between the categories were blurred. For instance, I was a hippie type, going to see a particular Guru and yet open to the influence of other gurus or teachers. I was searching to deepen my spiritual awareness following awakenings that preceded my journey. The journey to India was an outer journey and also an inner journey. Along the way, I read Narziss & Goldmund by Hermann Hesse (as well as The Glass Bead Game and Journey to the East) which describes the and ner/outer Spiritual Journey and which reflected and enhanced my own journey. I met many people, mostly young Hippies, on a similar path, travelling for similar reasons. I and many of them also partook of the local hashish but this was as an adjunct and catalyst for the heart and mind expansion we sought.
    The Hippie Trail was very much a path of pilgrimage. A journey to oneself. The spiritual significance of India as a goal and the wonders and difficulties of cheap travel and accommodation through very unfamiliar cultures, people, territory, villages, towns and landscapes reflected the twists, turns, pitfalls and revelations of the inner journey. The overland journey to India remains to this day, as I approach 60, one of the most importan, significant and poignant experiences of my life. Approximately 4 months at the age of 20 stands out as a foundational, formative period of my life that underlies my continued life path. Many people whom I’ve spoken to who made this journey or know someone who did speak of how it changed the traveller. Even after a relatively short time (chronologically speaking) spent on that journey impacted our lives so much that life was never the same again. For some this sat a good thing and for others it was an inability to fully return to the life they knew from before they travelled.
    We were lucky to be able to make that journey and share it with so many people of a similar age. The intensity of the travel through, for us, alien territory, opened our senses and minds, making time stretch so that a day was more like a week and a casual meeting with another traveller quickly became a close friendship. Meeting someone and spending a few days with them in, say Herat, and then bumping into them again five days later in, say Lahore, felt like bumping into a long – lost friend and the experiences of the last few days you spent apart felt like a month of rich living which you tried to catch up with. Truly, I don’t exaggerate and I’m sure visitors here would tell a similar story.
    The journey was full of synchronicity and felt as if it was orchestrated by by a higher power.
    While travelling back the bus I was on collided with an army tank carrier in the Afghan desert between Kabul and Kandahar. That was a story in itself and I’ve written an essay on it which I hope to be a chapter in (again hopefully) a forthcoming book about that special time in my life and our collective history.
    The Hippie Trail was a unique period in history and culture and there should be more documentaries, books and cinematic dramas depicting it. The confluence of the different types of traveller and how they influence each other is an interesting and significant part of that journey. Thank you for your interest

  14. I’ve just sat down with a nice cup of chai, boiled with milk and cardamom. This must be a time of life for us to remember and reflect, back to 40 years ago. I have just published a book recalling my own adventures overland to India in 1973, titled The India Traveler, can view excerpts on (www.theindiatraveler.com) and order through Amazon websites (.com, co.uk, .de, .fr, .es, .it) and India. I returned to India two more times in different decades, for love of the people and place. I feel an attachment to Afghanistan and Iran, too, and am dismayed at what all has happened to the people in those regions in the decades since our visit.
    Very pleased to read these blogs from those who were also there! Thank you, Bireland, for this project and Bruce Thomas, for those beautiful photos. I know just what you mean, David Sumeray, about how quickly we formed close friendships, and long for those times of innocence and trust. I traveled alone at age 22, but not really alone because I found so many companions. In the process of writing my book, I’ve been able to find most of my fellow world travelers, except two who I hope will one day find me through blogs like this, Martine W., a nurse from Paris and Anne M., originally from NSW, Australia. I now live in Oregon.
    I am remembering the long hair of the silver wolves shimmering on moonlit slopes of eastern Turkey as we drove like mad to get to the Iranian border in time, our unfortunate accident in the astounding cliffs and curves of the Kabul Gorge, the gigantic flying insect and vultures roosting in a tree, waiting for us as we crossed the border into India, the trailing series of harmonic notes as the pack ponies clopped past me on a stone path headed to Jomsom, my astonishment seeing Annapurna from Poon Hill, the star-studded night walking through tall pine on the hills of Darjeeling. Ah, those were the days and the times and we were so lucky.

  15. cb says:

    It is not a nice subject and some may be tried of the almost excessive media coverage, but…If I may ask: in light of the recent rape cases in India, one becomes really astonished about how fearless the hippie travelers underwent these journeys. Contemporary footage and writings by women (and a few caring boyfriends) do mention a culture gap, lots of unwanted attention, sleazy offers and a good deal of groping. However, I have never read any accounts of brutal sexual assaults (and I know most of the hippie trail literature).

    Was this not happening back in the days, or was it a taboo and never talked about? If any of you real old time-hippie trailers read this, please share what you know, remember or where told by the girls and women you traveled with. I cannot believe that this part of the world was LESS patriarch and traditional back then. I tend to believe that the access to internet porn is really hazardous to the minds of uneducated men in a brutal society, but still…what about rape in the hippie trail era?

    • I am glad you brought this up, cb. We continue to be shocked by news of rapes in India, of both Indian and foreign women. For instance with a little research, I found gruesome reports of foreign women travelers being attacked, often in the company of a boyfriend, husband or co-worker who was also beaten, 3 from January 2014; Aug., June and Mar. 2013, etc. I read that cell phones are often used to call a gang together quickly, once a woman is spotted in an isolated area.

      I have to say I think things have changed, a lot. I can’t speak to the situation of rape among Indian people in the past, but I know when I traveled to India as a 22 year old foreign woman in 1973 (and again in 1983 and 1997), I experienced nothing like this, not even close. I wrote in my book how safe I felt traveling in India during all three trips, walking the streets alone, or in the company of one other woman or man. In fact, I felt more comfortable in India in those decades than in parts of cities where I lived in the US at the time. Indian passersby were willing to help if there was the slightest issue in the street, such as a dispute with a rickshaw driver over price. Once a guy was following me around saying crazy things (but never touched me) and when I raised by voice for help drawing attention in a crowd, he quickly fled. In 1973 in the close quarters of cheap hotels, word got around quickly among world travelers about illness, death and mishaps; I am sure I would have heard of anyone getting hurt or raped. In 1983, I was warned by an Indian woman on a train, “Young lady, you have to be careful here, someone may steal your wallet! I am telling you, because in your country, everyone is rich and there is no crime.” (That led to an interesting conversation.)

      Despite these changes and increased violence throughout the world, certainly it is also happening in my country, I think it is important to keep traveling, not give in to fear. We owe it to ourselves and younger people, to impress upon them that the world is still a friendly place, to be explored and observed. Read up and be aware of what is going on, ask around when you are there, and take good advice to heart.

  16. John Greeves says:

    I’d like to write an article about the Puddingshop in Istanbul for a magazine and relate some experiences of UK people had at the time. How did they view the Hippy experience then and what followed in their life. In their 60s or 70s, how do they reflect or look back on this period of their life. Has anyone got any images of those times I could freely use? I am now living in South Wales

  17. Gordon says:

    Hi Sharif and Brian,

    I was ten years old when my parents drove me and my brother and sister over land to India. It was 1976 and the journey lasted three years.
    Dad had converted an old (1960) Bristol Leyland bus into a home.
    As they left Britain with very little money (378 pounds), they had to take passengers to pay for food and fuel. I think Mum and Dad charged something like $15 from Kabul to Delhi.

    Anyway, I would be interested in finding out more … who were the people that rode with us. I shared the roof rack of the bus (as a boy with several travelers). One was a German man called Selly, another a Brazilian named Anand, an Italian woman, Frachesca, who rode with us to Goa. My schooling was looking out of the window and exploring stuff on route, essays, poems and maths were all a part of the trip.

    I have a lot memories though few photos but am keen to find out more about your project.

    Our bus was black and yellow (also called the black and yellow magic bus).
    My parents later shipped it to the USA. It is now in Mexico city.
    Gordon

  18. James Stevenson says:

    Hi Sharif & Brian,
    This site sure brings back memories. Many thanks for that.
    I did the route (maybe one of the last) from Oct-Dec ’78. Although it was referred to as a ‘Magic Bus’ it was a private owner, a Brit named Rick, who owned & drove the old Bedford. Met him from a posting in Hotel California, Athens. Cost was $100US. We had serious brake problems north of Tehran, in Amol. It would be a long wait for parts, but we eventually had to throw the wheel on and make a run for it, as we not only heard the commotion getting louder, but were informed by the owner of the garage where we were parked that we were the target of a rioting mob. No room here for the whole story, but suffice to say we all ended up having to abandon the bus and make our own way out of Iran. Met up with a dozen others in Mashad and, since the border vrossing was closed for the night, all 14 shared the same room for safety, before heading for Afghanistan the next morning. All bus people eventually met up in Kabul, where the bus, with mended brakes, caught up to us and we continued on. The danger, in retrospect, I suppose was also part of the allure. I have managed to locate 2 Americans (I’m Canadian) from that bus and we have all shared copies of our journals from that time frame. That was incredible for me, as after 40 years, when rereading my journal I was left wondering whether I had embellished the emotions felt back then, but reading 2 other versions of the same experience confirmed otherwise. If you would like more details, please send me an email address. Hoping any others from that bus will read this and contact me. Cheers and thanks again.
    Jim S.

  19. Hi Sharif and Brian – Your project is very interesting and worthwhile. I did the overland trip to India in 1969 like this: hitch to Salonika, trains to Erzerum in E Turkey, ordinary public buses across Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and into India, with quite a few miles of travel on foot in some border areas. Stayed a few days or a week in various places en route, then a few months in Goa, and a few months in Kathmandu (Nepal), and a few more months travelling and staying in other places. Came back overland by bus and hitch-hiking.
    Returned to India on a cheap flight in 1970 and spent three more months, mostly in Goa.
    Seem to remember the name ‘Hippy Trail’ was in use – a straight name for what was also known simply as Overland to the East.
    Happy to help, or to answer questions for your project.

    • bireland says:

      Thanks for sharing your experiences Andrew. Other names we’ve come across for the trail are the ‘opium trail’, for obvious reasons, and RTK (Road to Kathmandu). I’m curious: I know the Chinese had closed the borders of Tibet but was there any talk of trying to get there from Nepal? Or do you know anyone who tried (and presumably failed)?

      • Brian and Sharif,
        On the Jomsom trek in 1973, I heard talk from other trekkers that it was possible to “sneak” into Tibet from Mustang, the end point of that route, though I didn’t meet anyone who’d actually done that.

      • Roy says:

        Thanks for bringing theses memories back .In Kashmir 1971 you could get up to Ladak by 4/4 jeep then maybe into Tibet.We just hung out on Dal Lake house / shakara.

  20. Gunnar says:

    Hi there,
    Just found the site when browsing the web….
    I did most of the trail in 1965 (I am from sweden and 69 years now), hitchhiked mostly alone, first through north Africa then up Lebanon and Syria into Turkey via Aleppo and then up to Ankara from where I went eastwards, Erzurum, Tabriz, Teheran, Meshed, Herat, Kandahar, Kabul, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Amritzar, Delhi, Agra, Kathmandu, Calcutta, Madras, Bangalore, Goa, Bombay.
    Seeing this website brought up a lot of memories!
    Like crossing by foot into India on Sept 02-65 and then watching the Paki air raids on Amritsar from the roof of the golden temple.
    Due to the agressiveness in India towards foreigners, always suspecting them to be spies, I fled up to Nepal and cooled down for a couple of weeks and then back into India where I managed to get a job on a boat to Argentina. (Stayed in Latin America then for 3.5 years before returning to Sweden in early 1970.
    I remember the Englishman John Summers who biked to India and Nepal, he signed on to the same boat.
    A Swedish lady married to an American were both living in Kathmandu with their little daughter.
    The Danish painter and sculptor Novi Maruni was there and many more.
    I was not really a hippie, but it was still fun in Kathmandu, Globe resthouse where one could sleep for one rupee per night and the New Tibetan Restaurant where the waiters name was Ganja!
    We also had a football team ‘Ganja United’which played angainst some Nepalese teams.
    Great times, the world was different then, one could stay and eat for free in the Indian Gurudwaras and people where friendly and onbe was welcome everywhere.
    In Goa, the students demonstrated against the Indian occupation, wanting to preserve their ties to Portugal, all closely watched by the Indian army which had security posts everywhere.
    And more…….
    Was anyone visiting this site maybe travelling around the same time? would be nice to hear from them.
    Gunnar

  21. Mike McDermott says:

    Dear Sharif and Brian,

    I did 8 overlands 1976-1980 inclusive. There are a couple of websites devoted to the subject, set up by road crew like me. One is sundownersadventures.com and the other indiaoverland.biz, and their forums contain many accounts of the kind you seek (although the indiaoverland forum appears to have been taken down). I said on one of them that “not every life had its ‘once upon a time’: we had ours, and it was then”. I still think that.

    • bireland says:

      Hi Mike. We have seen the indiaoverlanders website before but weren’t aware of the other one. That’s very helpful. Thanks very much.

  22. Mike McDermott says:

    I found the indiaoverland.biz forum page again! It’s now at: http://www.cindyamey.com/cindy/forum/index.php

  23. Bruce Thomas says:

    You might be interested to hear about a book that was recently published in Australia entitled “Faraway Places with Strange Sounding Names – The Penn Overland Story” by Gerald Davis (a former Penn employee). I do not know if it is available in the UK yet. It tells the story of the Penn Overland company which operated from 1959 until 1981 when it ceased to trade after the Asia Overland route was closed by the fall of the Shah in Iran (they could have bypassed troubled Afghanistan but Iran completely blocked the route). It is illustrated with many period photographs and contains a number of travellers anecdotes. For many years Penn was the largest of the many bus companies operating on the Overland (as it was known, Hippie Trail was a later journalistic invention) and one of the most professional. It used a new, modern bus fleet, airconditioned in later years, travelling from London to (at different times) Delhi, Kathmandu, Calcutta, Bombay and even Colombo – and then back again, full of Australians and New Zealanders heading for the UK and Europe. This was no ‘hippie operation’ but catered to the many adventurous young (and not so young) travellers wanting to see the exotic and historic sights of the Indian Sub-continent and the Middle East. The buses ran to a timetable which in earlier years coincided with the arrival of ocean liners in India or Ceylon going to or from Australia. After 1967, when the Suez Canal was closed by the Six Day War in the Middle East, Kathmandu became the popular terminus with International airline connections to the Far East. Penn, which was a British company, also operated in Africa and the Americas, but its major revenue came from the Asia Overland route which led to its collapse following the events of 1979 in Iran and Afghanistan. This very welcome book offers some perspective on life on the Overland during the 1960s and 1970s, other than the popular romantic notions involving the hippies who, in fact, joined an already flourishing travel community.

  24. Ira Heinrich says:

    “In 1974 I went around the world in about three months with a beautiful girl named Lisa. We began by hitching-hiking through the rice fields of the Sacramento Valley, traveling east across the U.S , through Europe, the Middle East, India, Asia, and coming from the west across the Pacific, landed in San Francisco, then hitch-hiked again but from the opposite direction, through the Sacramento Valley rice fields to our starting point. We did this for a total of about $3,000, including air fares. It was like a dream.”
    This is the opening paragraph of something I am currently writing, and in poking about the net I was delighted to come across this project. After making our way by various means from Northern California to the Amir Kabir in Tehran, we hooked up with a bus driven by Fritz Prang. Herr Prang was one of the most vivid characters I met on that trip…or perhaps ever since. We rode and camped and smoked and sang with Fritz and a crowd of international hippies all the way to Delhi. This would have been in October of ’74. To access the information on your site is wonderful….to make some contact with someone aboard that incredible bus would be miraculous. In any case, thanks for this.

  25. Bruce Thomas says:

    Dear Sharif and Brian,
    Quite some time ago you indicated that you were planning to post a bibliography on overland travel from Europe to the Indian Sub-continent. As it happens, for some years I have been researching this topic too, particularly its early history prior to the ‘hippie era’. Ignoring the likes of Alexander the Great and Marco Polo, I have found that Asian overlanding in the modern era has a rich history which I have tracked back as far as the first successful journey by car from the UK to British India in 1924. The following books and articles are those I have (with two exceptions) read and can remember –

    From England to India by Automobile – Maj. FAC Forbes-Leith, National Geographic Magazine, August 1925. Leeds to Quetta in 1924.
    Express to Hindustan – MH Ellis (1929). First car driving London to Delhi in 1927.
    Francis Birtles, Australian Adventurer – Warren Brown (2012). First car driving London to Singapore, then Darwin to Melbourne in 1927/28.
    From Malaya to London on a Riley 9, The Riley Record (1929). Several articles as the journey progressed.
    The Citroen-Haardt Trans-Asiatic Expedition Reaches Kashmir – Maynard Owen Williams, National Geographic Magazine, October 1931. Motoring Beirut to Kashmir, then Kashgar to Peking (subsequent articles).
    Round the World in a Baby Austin – Hector Macquarrie (1933).
    Road to Oxiana – R Byron (1937). Reached Afghanistan but not India in 1933/34.
    London to Calcutta Overland 1938 – OD Wright and ELD White (1988). In a 1931 Morris. Mentions that the trip was done “occasionally by army officers going to and from India”.
    The Cruel Way: Switzerland to Afghanistan in a Ford, 1939 – Ella Maillart (1947). The author then went on to India for the duration of WWII.
    Dust on My Shoes – Peter Pinney (1952). Hitch hiking overland to Burma in 1948.
    A Long Way South – Geoffrey Dutton (1953). Motoring London to Ceylon in 1951.
    Around the World with Motorcycle and Camera – Eitel & Rolf Lange (1957). Including Germany to India in 1953.
    The Other Half of Half Safe – Ben Carlin (1989). Round the world in a WWII amphibious Jeep, including driving overland to India (1955) and sailing across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans! The vehicle is preserved in Perth, Western Australia.
    Behind the Wheel – David McKay (1960). Including Bombay to London in 1955.
    We Never Meant to Go so Far – Mavis Ronson (1964). Including UK to India in 1955/56.
    First Overland – Tim Slessor (1957). London-Singapore-London in 1955/56.
    Earth, My Friend – Peter Townsend (1959). Round the world including London to Singapore in 1956.
    ‘Two-up’, by Scooter to Australia – Michael Mariott (1960). Journey in 1956.
    Four Wheels & Frontiers – Roy Follows (2005). Malaya to UK in 1958.
    Drive Round the World – J-C Baudot & J Seguela (1962). Including overland Asia in 1959.
    Long Road to London – Peter Jeans (1998). Singapore-London by motorcycle in 1962/63.
    Overland by Bus 1962, Perth to London on a Shoestring – Elsie M Newcombe (2006).
    Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle – Dervla Murphy (1965). Travelled in 1963.
    Seven Years with Samantha – Clive Ball (1974). Round the world in a 1929 Austin 7, including overland to India in 1965.

    I must admit to some bias in my reading as fully nine of the authors are Australian! I am sure there must be many more accounts from this era, and even more travellers who did not write about their journey afterwards. However, it illustrates that the trail was established and flourishing long before the hippie tribes hit the Road to Kathmandu!

    • bireland says:

      This is a great list Bruce. Quite a few on there new to us. Thanks for sharing. Sharif put together the following list, which we’ve been sharing with other researchers. Now seems like a good time to post it here. It’s not extensive, but is good start for anyone interested in the trail.

      Hippy Trail books and Web-site Accounts

      1. Dave Barrett, Christmas in Kathmandu (self-published, no date) http://www.devabee.co.uk/christmas/index.htm
      2. Jonathan D. Benyon, Road to Goa, http://www.roadtogoa.com, accessed 29 May 2012
      3. George Bulcock, Crossing Bolton Road: a boys [sic] own adventure with The Society of Heretical, International Travellers (Self-published, Amazon/Kindle, 2011);
      4. David Courtney, An American in Hyderabad: Life in India in the 1970s (Houston: Sur Sangeet Services, 2012)
      5. Johnny Dolphin, Journey Around an Extraordinary Planet (Oracle, Arizona: Synergetic Press, 1990)
      6. Eight Finger Eddie, My Rise to Relative Obscurity, 1924—1972 (undated, unpublished text, available at: http://www.8fingereddie.com/; PDF format; accessed on 20 Jan 2013)
      7. Richard Gregory, ‘The Hippie Trail 1974—London to Kathmandu: A Personal Account of the Classic Overland Trip’, http://www.richardgregory.org.uk/history/hippie-trail-01.htm, undated and unpaginated, accessed 10 June 2012
      8. Michael Hall, Remembering the Hippie Trail: travelling across Asia 1976—1978 (Newtownabbey: Island Publications, 2007)
      9. Sarah Hobson, Through Persia in Disguise (London: John Murray, 1973)
      10. Robert Irwin, Memoirs of a Dervish (London: Profile Books, 2011)
      11. Basil Jay, 65 Days to Delhi: An Incredible Journey (Bloomington: AuthorHouse, 2012): Kindle edition,
      12. Derek Lewis, Headlong Into Life (Pontypridd: DGLP, 2010)
      13. Harvey Meyers, Hariyana (San Francisco: Omkara Press, 1979)
      14. Chris Nicholson, There and Back (Halstead: Swiftnick, 2001)
      15. Erik Pontoppiden, ‘The Hippie Trail—The Road to Paradise’, http://www.ponty.dk/hippietr.htm, accessed 21 June 2012
      16. Philippa Pullar, The Shortest Journey (London: Unwin, 1984 [1981])
      17. Jeffrey Shortsight, Zim Zim and other things I learnt on my travels in the East; however these memoirs have more recently become known as Torrid Tales (Okehampton: Winestains Press, 2011)
      18. Gerald Taylor, Jesus Weed: The Misadventures of a Young Man in Search of the Perfect High (London: Edbury, 2005)
      19. David Tomory (ed), A Season in Heaven: True Tales from the Road to Kathmandu (London: Thorsons, 1996)
      20. Irina Tweedie, The Chasm of Fire: A Woman’s Experience of Liberation through the Teaching of a Sufi Master (Tisbury: Element Books, 1979)
      21. Gerry Virtue, On the Road with Geoff and Jules; Adventures on the Early Hippie Trail 1959—60 (Amazon/Kindle, 2013); unpaginated, figures refer to Kindle locations
      22. Tom Widdicombe, Autobiography of a Nobody (Milton Keynes: no publisher [self-published?], 2012)
      23. John Worrall, Travelling for Beginners: To Kathmandu in ’72 (Amazon/Kindle, 2012)

      Literature about the Trail
      1. Duncan Campbell, The Paradise Trail (London: Headline, 2008)
      2. Esther Freud, Hideous Kinky (New York, San Diego and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992)
      3. Maggi Lidchi, Earthman (London: Victor Gollancz, 1967)
      4. Janet MacLeod Trotter, The Vanishing of Ruth (no place: MacLeod Trotter Books, 2010)
      5. Sherman Williamson, The Glory Trap (New York: Walker, 1977)

  26. Bruce Thomas says:

    Dear Brian,
    For something really authentic, here is a video clip I recently found which appears to date from the late 1960s –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cm2-TBzll1A
    Both of the Kathmandu restaurants mentioned I frequented in 1969. There are some particularly pertinent comments on the relative numbers of ‘hippies’ and ‘travellers’.
    Who else but a British television reporter would wear a suit in Kathmandu?

  27. Hilary Jacobson says:

    While in Istanbul, summer of 1972, hanging out at the Pudding Shop in Istanbul, some Turkish film/TV makers came by and hired a group of various travellers “hippies’ and offered us a few bucks to be in their production. They drove us to the site and filmed what seemed like a soap opera with we, the freaks, in the background pretending to get really stoned. Then they tried to short us on the promised payment for our roles as extras. We had a sit-in, actually organised a protest, until they relented and payed us what they owed. It was such an amazing experience. I was the only American, and the others were European. I walked back across the bridge over the Bosporus wearing a sleeveless, short dress, blonde, 19 years old … so wrong. It was a horrendous experience getting all the stares, honking, etc. I wonder if anyone else reading this was a part of this experience?

    • Stephen Page says:

      Omg, The Pudding Shop! Your memory is better than mine, the most I can remember from Turkey was the Blue Mosque, Sultan Ahmet and the floating bridge.

      • Stephen Page says:

        Regarding the problem for young blonde women and young western women, yes, I remember walking across the Bospherous Bridge with a young lady and she was assaulted, shocked us both and I had to have words with the guy. Istanbul was a real problem for young western women then.

        • Roy says:

          Again yes at that time I meet a group,two brothers one sister and girlfried.the girlfriend was rapped at gunpoint on a beach in Instanbul.After their journey to Ponercherry in Southern India she would not go back through Turkey so flew back .Hence I co-drove back to Europe a VW Variant with the 2 brothers and girlfriend.

  28. Michael Wiley says:

    I,ve been trying to write a book on my 1976 trip to India in a converted Bristol bus.
    I am now 67 years old, and my memories of the hippy trail, remain within me as strong as ever. Having been ripped off in Dehli changing money on the black market. Leaving the bus. Ended up driving a cement lorry in Mashhad, before returning to Afghanistan
    ( my favourite country ever at that time). I am trying to contact others on the same journey. The bus departed from Purley car park in July 76 , yes that very hot Summer.
    Peace and Love. Michael /Mike/Mick. (I’ve been known by all three names.)

  29. Michael wiley says:

    I joined a Bristol bus and left Purley car park for India in July 1976, the famous hot summer. I am now 67 and have many great memories of my trip to Afghanistan and India.
    Peace and love
    Michael.

  30. Allan Partington says:

    Gordon says:
    February 9, 2014 at 7:57 am
    Hi Sharif and Brian,

    I was ten years old when my parents drove me and my brother and sister over land to India. It was 1976 and the journey lasted three years.
    Dad had converted an old (1960) Bristol Leyland bus into a home.
    As they left Britain with very little money (378 pounds), they had to take passengers to pay for food and fuel. I think Mum and Dad charged something like $15 from Kabul to Delhi.

    Anyway, I would be interested in finding out more … who were the people that rode with us. I shared the roof rack of the bus (as a boy with several travelers). One was a German man called Selly, another a Brazilian named Anand, an Italian woman, Frachesca, who rode with us to Goa. My schooling was looking out of the window and exploring stuff on route, essays, poems and maths were all a part of the trip.

    I have a lot memories though few photos but am keen to find out more about your project.

    Our bus was black and yellow (also called the black and yellow magic bus).
    My parents later shipped it to the USA. It is now in Mexico city.
    Gordon
    Reply

    Hi Gordon I remember your mum and dad I think we first met up in Afghanistan, then we basically drove down together to Goa, I was in a black hackney cab with a guy called Percy, my other mates were in 2 Bedford trucks with caravans strapped on the back of them 1 was a Bedford tk Leon was driving that, the other was a Bedford artic brewery lorry. Do you remember the rose garden in Goa? I was with the Birmingham people out there,
    I first arrived in Goa in 1974 after flying into bombay, I stayed in Goa until march 75, and left with Leon in his yellow Bedford coach which was parked in Baga, it was called the Rocket, I then spent 18 months driving with Leon, to Nepal Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, then turning round and heading back to India again, I ended up spending 8 years out in the far east,travelling the above places, also south India Thailand and Malaysia . Anyway if you would like to get in touch please do so. Best regards Les

  31. Allan Partington says:

    Ps I forgot to say jimmy and Anne Marie were in the other lorry, caravan, you will probably remember jimmy and Bobby his mate

  32. Martin Dodds says:

    Dear Brian and Sharif,
    I wish I had got wind of this long ago because it is a subject dear to my head and heart
    I travelled out in 67 starting from Morocco and ending up in Kathmandu, and then in a minibus in 69 and 70 and am/was proud to be part of those times. (I was always keen to avoid too many other herds of travellers however they labelled themselves – and I am fascinated by so many people trying so hard to distance themselves from being hippies – let’s be honest here: in 67 in Morocco and 68 on the way east that was what 90% of the young people went there for – to get stoned.) )
    I am now starting to write my experiences as being semi retired I now have time to spend on it. I have in later years spent much time in Pakistan and it had been very very interesting to compare the familiar places over the last 4 or 5 decades!!
    I would welcome an opportunity to take part if you wish to email me a questionnaire.
    Best of luck with the project.

  33. John Whight says:

    We drove the Sunshiners bus between New Delhi and Kathmandu late 1976 to early 1977. It was a 52 seat Bedford bus witha double front axle, white with a green stripe down the side. “Cowboy” had the bus for a while but we took it over in Kathmandu. Broke down often, flat tires broken springs etc. mostly in the middle of nowhere. People loved us and hated us, but they must remember us! Arthur, John and John.

    • Stephen Page says:

      When you say ‘Cowboy’ did you mean the American ex-GI who drove and organised the Magic Bus between ’74-’77?
      What happened to him was very sad if you remember.

      • John Whight says:

        Sorry, I never knew his background and I don’t know what came of him. We bought the bus off him in Kathmandu in late 1976. Funny thing is I’m not even sure he owned it!

      • Arthur says:

        If Cowboy was an ex GI God forbid GI’s . He was stoned most times, listening to Pink Floyd

  34. I have found your project many months ago but I didn’t think I could contribute much so I bookmarked it and completely forgotten. I have just completed my blog og my travel diary as per above. Perhaps it’s a bit useful….

    https://plus.google.com/u/0/105078604250523153034/posts

    Plerase feel free to contact me, if you think I can be helpful.

  35. Rosemary Kirkby says:

    Dear Brian and Sharif. On May 25th 1964, I left London and travelled to Kathmandu with 23 other intrepids in a 1948 AEC Bus. The girl who organised it was Janet Hammond, a nurse from Gravesend. Well, the bus didn’t quite make it up ‘the hill’ to Nepal, so we had to leave it in India and hitched lifts on lorries – what an horrendous experience – our lorry carried steel stauncheons for hydo-electric works, and they kept slipping off the back, so our driver would simply reverse into the rock face and push them back on, nearly decapitating us in the cabin! We had fantastic adventures on the way, and I am now writing up my experiences with the aid of my diary and slides, so my grandchildren have a record of their eccentric old grannie’s trip! I would love to know if any of my fellow travellers are still around or have written up anything about our trip. Our driver was Tom, a mechanical genious, who patched the bus up so many times. It finally died on the wharf on the Asian side of the Bosphorus on it’s way back to the UK. So if Hugh, Ian , Barry, Terry, Chris, Janet, Diana, Barbara, Susie, Judi, Pauline, Sue or any of the others are out there, I’d love to share my photos and memories with you. We were definitely not hippies as I don’t think they had been invented back then. Five of us finally made it to Perth, Australia in September 1964 via Thailand, Malaya and Singapore, and I’m still in Oz 50 years later!!
    Rosemary Kirkby (nee Harries)

    • Terence Pike says:

      WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT! For the past several months I have been trying to locate fellow travellers on the 1964 expedition with a view to holding a reunion at our house in the Ascot area this Spring. You have diaries? and you are writing them up? That’s too much to hope for.

      I have been in touch with Susie, Chris(tobel) and Judy who are very much on board and anxious to contribute to the nostalgia. Sadly Nick Rhodes died two or three years ago, but I am in touch with his widow and son.

      I enjoyed the occasional meal with Hugh Davies until he emigrated to Canada (I would guess around 1970) to further his preferred career as a concert violinist.

      But most of all we would like to rediscover Janet and till now have found no trace.

      Where are you living now – in the UK or in Australia? And how may I contact you – I am unfamiliar with the etiquette of this type of blogstream(?)

      Isn’t the internet wonderful?

      Terry

    • Terence Pike says:

      Hope you received my first response – I was too excited to read right through your commentary and have just realised that you are 10,000 miles and 7 or 8 hours time away from Ascot! We will have to set up in Skype – which will be a shock to us all 51 years on!

      Do you by any change remember Pauline’s surname? – Chris (now Luckin) feels that it was Burgin or something close.

      Although I’ve never visited WA I am aware that it is considered as close to Paradise as can be found on this planet – and as far away from everywhere else!

      Looking forward to hearing back.

      Terry

    • judy adams says:

      Dear Rosemary,

      How amazing! Have just read Terry’s blog via email and can hardly believe it! Hope you are well. It was an extraordinary trip and I remember you well and that you were going onward to continue your career in Oz. Unfortunately, I threw out my tattered diary though still have a lot of slides including one of an unbelievedly broken down “luxury” bus with shattered windows, disguised in dust, somewhere on the road in Afghanistan. It astonishes me that we got further than Calais!

      All best wishes,

      Judy

      • Rosemary Kirkby says:

        Dear Judy
        Dear Judy,
        Sorry not to reply before, but I forgot I had put something here and hadn’t checked it for a while! Thanks to Terry there are now 6 of us from our 1964 trip connected to each other – not bad after 51 years. It certainly was the ‘trip of a lifetime’ and I’m sure it had a great impact on the way we all viewed the world afterwards. Am now up to the Pakistani/Indian part in the transcription of my diary. It amazes me we got out of Gravesend in one piece with all the smoke billowing out from the back tyres!! So many happy memories.
        Cheers, Rosemary

        • Hi Rosemary, Terrance, Judy and any other of you intrepid explorers who pick this up. I am Janet Hammond’s son, Barnabas. I picked up where she left off back in the early 90s and still run overland tours around Morocco, Europe and further afield using old school buses probably only in marginally better shape than the ones you travelled in with my mother. 😉
          If any of you have any photos or any other memories I would love to see/have copies. My mother typically kept nothing from those days so it would be great to see some photos.
          If any of your children or grand children fancy reliving your adventures then by all means put them in touch with me via our website http://www.marocnroll.net 🙂

          • John Atkinson says:

            Hi Barney, I left England in 1968 on one of Janets
            expeditions to Khatmandu. I travelled with an old
            friend Andrew Darby.Unfortunately although I can remember faces,the only other names were Gillian Weekes from Melbourne and Michael Dean. The coach gave up the ghost between Teheran and Isfahan and some of us went through Afganistan /Pakistan/India and into Nepal .Others either made their way back or took the southern rather precarious route into Baluchistan thence to India. I Left Nepal and made my way to Australia via Thailand/Malaya/Indonesia and Port. Timor. Eventually I travelled back overland in 1971. I have the original prospectus and owing to Janet, for me a lifetimes experience was packed into those four years.

    • Wally Learoyd says:

      Good for you, Rosemary.
      My trip started from Oz in ’65.
      I remember travelling from India to Nepal. I had always believed that the back of a truck was the only way to get to Kathmandu!
      My passport which I still have, had the” Passport to Peace”, I should imagine that ought be quite rare, maybe you were before me and tell me if you had the same! Indicative of the times, clever Nepalese!

      • Wally Learoyd says:

        Having had a goodish look around the site, I must say it is very interesting and informative!
        A very good read!
        Starting in 1965 Melbourne- Singapore, Penang-Bangkok (worst rail trip of all). Hitchiked on a boat(Helle Skou) to Bremen, even got paid, v hard work!) Around Europe, off to Morrocco , Algeria n Tunisia-boat to Sicily,Naples,Greece, Crete, arrived in Istanbul Feb 67.,Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal.
        Had a great trip!
        With those I travelled with or met, a travellerwho smoked dope was generally called ” a head”!
        For me, I had no idea I was a Hippy, probably more some kind of ill-informed “beatnik”

  36. Sid Seale says:

    Certainly wasn’t a hippy when I left England in November 1963 to go overland to Australia, not quite sure what I was six months later sleeping on the beaches of Goa, only wish I had kept journal like the American Peace corps. But still have lots of good memories and a few bad ones. Good luck with project, Sid.

  37. Sid Seale says:

    Hyderabad in Pakistan via Barmer was a most interesting narrow gauge railway crossing into India, we were treated like royalty by the immigration officers there.

  38. michael rogers says:

    hello. delighted to see what you are up to. interesting how difficult it seems to be for people to articulate a coherent summary of ‘the hippie trail’ – is that because it was such an existential experience? i guess so. even the word ‘hippie’ is proving a problem for some.
    back in the day, in my world, travelling overland to india was just the greatest,most wonderful thing to do. and once you’d let go, dropped out, it was also the easiest and, in fact, the only thing to do.
    On Formentara, off ibiza, i had a summer meeting people from all over – not on holiday, not visiting, but living the life. next month, next year, who cares? this moment, this bliss.
    A fortuitous meeting with The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and some Belgian hash smugglers made that bliss very heaven.
    Bliss it was, in that dawn, to be alive. and to be young was very heaven(wordsworth).
    So, overland to india in a VW bus in 1971 or 1972 & again a couple of years later. then flying to india a few more times up to 1982. anecdotes a plenty, but a detached overview, difficult.
    imagine my surprise, my first day in india, discovering that there was a place in their society, already established, for dope smoking hippies. i treasure those times spent in the company of saddhus.
    the ‘hippie scene’, wherever a number gathered, goa(of course), pushkar, macleod ganj, humpi etc. consolidated the belief that this was just the best thing.
    but that wasn’t all – everyone was also spending time getting into india, travelling independently to places of natural beauty, historical interest and pilgrimage centres all over. and the indian people were as welcoming, civilised, beautiful as their country.
    i’m leaving it at that, for now. i think about those days all the time. as do others i speak to.
    i recognise a few names from the blog, but one didn’t know people’s surnames and few photos were taken. the LSD fuelled parties on anjuna beach were so profound it would have been inappropiate to take photos – also heroes on the run wouldn’t like it.
    anyway, thanks for the opportunity to rabbit.
    you know of Albions Dreaming by andy roberts, i’m sure. he sums it up quite well.
    i will write again. your interest in this subject is worthy and justified.
    bom shankar, michael

    • Hi did you travel with a guy called Dave? Where you from Manchester, I lived out in Goa, in the 1970’s and travelled extensively through Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Thailand and Malaysia from 1974-1982.

      I drove a coach with a guy called Leon 1974-1976 before we sold it in Nepal, I then came back to England for a couple of months, then drove back out with a guy called Percy from Birmingham, we drove out in a London Black Hackney cab to Goa. I also spent quite a while in South India on the game reserves, Kumili and Thekady, there in Kerala and Tamil nadu. Every one knew me by my second name. “Les”

  39. paul fraser says:

    I have been following the comments on here for a couple of years now and they keep trickling in . . . . this is just to let people know there is a hippie trail page on facebook which is genuine and , as far as i have found , the best place on the web to communicate with people who know what being on the road to India means . . . . there is FlowerRaj.org for the stories , but with the facebook page you get the live chat .Paul.

    • There are a couple of pages on facebook, Goa hippy tribe, loving memory from the Goan tribe, Goa Mythique, Hippie Trail and not to forget GoAhead. There are also a few more, with lots of people who traveled to India throughout the 1970’s

  40. Shoshana "Sheila" Deutscher-Nurik says:

    So excited to find this. Was thinking about typing up my journals and attaching my photos this summer. Summer of 1971 gave Europe a test backpacking journey (England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Yugoslavia and Amsterdam). Then, leaving NY July 1972, I traveled from England to Spain to Morrocco to Algeria to Tunisia to Greece to Crete to Greece to Istanbul to Iran to Pakistan to Afghanistan to India to Nepal back to India and then caught a boat to Kenya to Sudan and Egypt, leaving Egypt to Sicily to fly to Israel in time to catch the last bus to Jerusalem the evening before the Yom Kippur War broke out in October 1973. Traveled by my thumb, bus, train, boat, and lots of hiking. Decisions were made through word of mouth suggestions, India on $5 a Day, and where American Express was so we could pick up letters and money. Ate a lot of cucumber sandwiches, bread and cheese. Remembering how much I loved the rice pudding in Athens, learned to love Retsina and Ouzo. Slept in the Temple of Apollo in Delphi under the stars. Pitched my tent next to a stream. It rained overnight and the stream turned into a river we struggled to cross to get back. Lived on Anjuna Beach in Goa which at the time was just a very small village. We danced into the water under the full moon to music on equipment left behind by The Who. No shops, no hotels – had to hike miles to the market for food. I taught one of the locals who had a shack on the beach how to make Egg Creams. I have over 2000 photos of the journey. amazing memories. Note: I saw someone made a comment of disbelief of how cheaply we were able to do the journey or maybe how wrong it was to do it so cheaply. My journey totaled about $1500 for 2 people for 16 months – it also included items we sent home from the countries we visited. We camped out, went to VERY cheap hotels, rationed what we ate and when. Our journey was more about learning about the places, people and cultures – I feel very blessed I had this opportunity. Presently I teach First Grade with second language learners in a Title I school. I use what I learned through travel to be more compassionate and empathetic of my students needs. Let me know if you have any questions.

    • Charlie JJ says:

      I remember the Full Moon parties on Anjuna with the speakers left behind by the Who. And the California Sunshine, and how when the music stopped in the middle of the Stones’ All Down the Line, no one realised for ages that it was because someone had stolen the generator. And the chai shop at the south end with the Baba who made gold jewelry. I have a few photos of Anjuna & Calangute. Best days travelling in my life.

    • Charlie JJ0nes says:

      I left a comment yesterday, as I remember some of the above events, but unfortunately it has been removed today. It would be nice to reminisce with others or let people know my experiences. Charlie.

  41. Frankie Morley says:

    Hi
    Just dreaming and found your web site. How wonderful to read the experiences of other travellers.
    We did the Penn Overland September 1974 trip, London to Kathmandu with Alan as our driver. We still have the brochure and we are in touch with 6 other travellers from that journey who live in NZ and Australia. We live in the UK and still love travelling around India independently or with Explore and Exodus organising us.

    I don’t think any of us were hippies although many of us had long hair and the women liked long skirts. Most of the passengers went on to have responsible professional jobs before retirement.
    It certainly changed our thinking and the way we view the world.
    Thank you.

  42. rob pearce says:

    Went to morrocco in nov 1979 with pennworld never forgot it anyone out there on same trip

  43. 1979 nov pennworld trip to morrocco anyone on it

  44. Rosemary Kirkby says:

    How wonderful to hear from Terry and Judy from the 1964 ‘Overlanders’ bus!! The internet is indeed amazing. I have managed to write up our trip from Gravesend, South London as far as Iran so far, and am now inspired to complete it VERY SOON, maybe in time for the reunion. Consulting my diary, the names of fellow travellers were Janet Hammond (trip organiser) Tom (our driver), Janet (a nurse), Chris (who joined us in Amman), Ted (who left us in Amman), Warren, Nick, Hugh, Sue Wilcox, Judy, Rosemary Kite, Pauline, Barry, Ian, Barbara (a nurse from Melbourne), Dianne (a nursing sister), Christobel, Susie (who owned a Willy’s Jeep!) and me. On May 25th 1964, we packed up the bus and set off for Dover with the back tyres smoking ominously as we had put all the heavy stuff in the rear. Now, nearly 51 years later, it all seems like yesterday – in fact I can remember it better than yesterday! Hope more of the group read this and make contact. Rosemary Kirkby NSW Australia.

  45. Tony Walton says:

    A work in progress.
    Travelled from UK to India & Nepal in 1973 and also in 1975.
    The photos could do with re-scanning from the negatives (which I have somewhere).

    Will finish this one day!

    Tony

  46. Phil Smith says:

    I was 19 when I took off. I’m 61 now, with a career in teaching Literature almost behind me. But I has just finished my A levels and I remember the incredible pressure from tutors and parents not to go. Who were we – those who Maclean belatedly termed the ‘intrepids’? Well, by April 1973, of the eleven who shared the dream, I was the only one who’d worked, saved and was still determined enough to go -even if I was travelling alone. I met my fellow dreamers on the road. The tension between Academia and The Open Road; between acquiring inherited wisdom and gaining it first hand was an important element. It ran throughout the works of Hesse, who was high on the extra-curricula reading list, and The Beats didn’t have any need of degrees either.
    It was an incredible journey though; as frightening as it was beautiful. If it hadn’t been for Black Peter – a German Psychotherapist who gave me a ride from Freibourg to Munich – for whom everything was a sign ( the sunroof opened to frame a hawk against a blue sky and he wanted to come with me), I mightn’t have continued.
    In Munich, using my BIT guide, I hit the right Hostel and met some people with whom I played hide and seek all the way to Kathmandu. I also met some U.S. Marines from Okinawa who were really friendly. ( I could swear – as improbable as it seems – that they were delivering Mercs to Teheran). It was a poignant reminder that there was an alternative western engagement with S.E. Asia which by ’73 was being stoked by conscripts. Pete Barab in Kathmandu – a deserter, fluent Mandarin speaker, making his 12th application to get into Tibet. So many names and memories…
    But I have to say that as early as spring ’73, I didn’t feel like a pioneer. The trail was already established if not too worn. Not until I struck out from Kathmandu into the western valleys did I feel like I was out on some perimeter.
    I have occasionally thought of writing about that first great journey but have too many other projects racked up. However, I would love to contribute to your project. That would be perfect.

  47. Stephen Page says:

    I fell in with escapees from the Beider-Meinhof group in Nepal during the period. To be honest I had no idea who Beider-Meinhof were at the time, remember, this was pre Google. I knew the organisation was a terror group out of Germany but had no idea as to their philosophy or aims. Actually, I was very taken with the two young women who were extremely attractive. We’d met in the Monkey Temple grounds, becoming over a year or more firm friends, that was of course until they stole my passport. Because of our location just north of the border and not having the funds to return to the capital I had to man up and crawl through a barbed wired border at night in the pitch black manned with snipers into India to reach the embassy there. My German friends had the decency to pick me up the other side of the border denying they’d stolen the passport but I knew it was them and wished them well as their main goal was to bring World War 2 nazi’s to book who still ran many if Germany’s large corporations. The British Embassy, was as usual hopeless as down the years that has always been the case no matter where you are in the world requiring consular assistance. Eventually, however, I was supplied with a temporary passport and firmly told to ‘go home’ I of course went to Goa and the rest as they say is history.

  48. Stephen Page says:

    Did anyone else fund their trips using the Jewel Market – Mashad carpets – Herat turquoise- Antwerp route?
    I did, essentially I purchased quality stones in Agra and Benares, turquoise in Herat, carpets in Mashad, Iran then sold the stones in Antwerp and the carpets in London. I believe the trading funded at least four years worth of travelling the Silk Road for me at least.
    I was very young when I first travelled the route, sixteen and seemingly out of step with my peers who questioned nothing and obeyed everything. Today, people have no idea that back then Afghanistan was well on to its way to modernity in every sense. Women could dress without the veil, which reminds me, western women were untouched across the region and the concept would have appalled any of the locals across the route. Different days.
    My last trip the Russians entered Kabul, interfered and everything changed. The mullahs rose to power and poor, wonderful Afghanistan started its tragic slide towards barbarity.

  49. Bruce Thomas says:

    It seems that the video clip in my post of June 1, 2014 has been reclassified as ‘private’. Fortunately I have also found it here –
    https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=512452565460651
    The restaurant proprietor of the Camp Restaurant, Ravi Chawla, who is interviewed in the clip, appears to be still alive and living in Bombay –
    https://plus.google.com/107868897929301403670/about
    Judging by Ravi’s cv, the television interview dates from some time in the period 1966-68. He also later owned the Ravispot restaurant which I frequented in 1969, along with the Tibetan Blue and the Camp.

  50. Dear Brian & Sharif,

    My mother, Janet Hammond – mentioned in a couple of the replies in this blog – ran overland trips for 10 years along the ‘Hippy trail’ from London – Kathmandu. I spent a childhood listening to untold stories of adventures of broken down buses in far off lands. It is not much wonder I now run overland trips myself and so far have a life full of memories of broken down buses in far off lands. My trips are very much unchanged since the early days of the Hippy trail and my mother, Janet, still often comes along for the ride. Our latest journey took us in a 25 year old school bus across the Sahara from London – Gambia and back in 2008 we took a similar vehicle across Russia to Mongolia.
    The hippy trail is alive and well!

    Information on my current trips can be found on http://www.marocnroll.net
    Thanks and good luck with the project.

  51. Blissseeker says:

    Greetings Everyone!
    My name is Nitish and i’m 31 year old guy from Pune, India. My fanaticism with Goa began with my 1st trip to the sunny state in 2007 and have been a regular ever since. Just about a year back i saw a documentary called “Last Hippie Standing” which gave a very brief history of the counterculture in the 60’s and the hippies or the freaks as they love to be called.

    I was honestly quite intrigued and moved by how people traveled freely only for the love of travelling, exploring and experiencing different cultures,traditions,places etc. These were the people who unearthed the mystical bliss the place had for probably years. Some of them went on to become legends making Goa a paradise to all, people like 8 Finger Eddy, Steve Devas Madras and Goa Gill.

    As quite rightly pointed out in some of the posts earlier, there hasn’t been much recorded about the travelers experiences along the hippie trail during this time which has what brought me to this site as i wanted to connect with people from that era and know what it was like travelling half the world on a motor car.

    I’ve also started to research on the subject and met a couple of people from that time in Goa who were kind enough to share their experiences and the way they saw the world then and the way they see it now.

    It’s sad that the hippie trail is closed and we’re only confined to the facts which tell us where we can/should travel and where we shouldn’t. But i feel you guys are really lucky to have had those experiences and i thank you all for sharing those beautiful moments with us.

  52. Rosemary Kirkby says:

    Dear Brian & Sharif
    Thank you so much for starting this Blog. I left a comment on October 24th 2014 looking for my fellow travellers from May 1964 and, beyond all expectations, seven of us have linked up, including our intrepid leader, Janet, whose son, Barney, has also recently lead me to another friend from 50 years ago.
    I have written an account of those travels for my grandchildren – (they will probably never have the opportunity to do what I did) – so they may have an idea what life was like back then, and where we managed to go on a shoestring, with none of the modern means of communication. We called in at the various British Embassies and Consulates en route to pick up our mail and I can never remember any of us phoning home – just too expensive! If I can be of any help to you in your research, I would be only too happy to assist.
    So, on behalf of Janet, Terry, Judy, Pauline, Susie, Chris and me – a big thank you.

  53. Gunnar says:

    Hello,
    I did the trail via North Africa-Lebanon-Syria-Turkey-Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India-Nepal-India in 1965. Crossed Pak/In border and managed to reach the Golden Temple in Amritsar two days before the war broke out.
    Met some interesting people.
    From Kathmandu I remember the Globe rest house and New Tibetan Restaurant with its waiter named ‘Ganja’.
    A British Guy, John Summers who had travelled by bicycle, a Swedsish lady married to an American Painter and a few more.
    Are there any other who were up in Kathmandu at that time and remember?
    (Around October/November 1965)

  54. Having been in Nepal in 1973 and 1983 and touched by the Nepali people, I am feeling a responsibility to help after their devastating 7.5 earthquake on April 25. Entire villages collapsed and the Swayambhunath Stupa and other important temples were severely damaged; thousands dead and injured in remote villages. They are still needing help for rebuilding and re-knitting the social and economic fabric disrupted by this disaster. I did research and learned these NGOs (non-governmental orgs) are not only assisting with immediate needs, but have a long-established presence in Nepal, with knowledge of long term needs and standing aid projects in place for spending donations effectively. (I’m sure there are other good ones, too.):

    American Himalayan Foundation/Nepal Earthquake http://www.himalayan-foundation.org/nepalearthquake
    Currently getting food and supplies to hardest hit areas; 34 years in the Himalaya with programs in education, health care, environmental and cultural preservation

    CARE/Nepal http://www.care.org/country/nepal
    Already working in majority of affected areas in Nepal; Has been in Nepal since 1978, addresses structural causes of poverty

    Global Communities http://www.globalcommunities.org/node/38122
    Has a standing presence in India and a good reputation for effective disaster relief and rebuilding after the Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Katrina in US; currently supporting local Nepali orgs in rebuilding remote villages damaged by the earthquake; 60 yr organization; community-led improvement of livelihoods

    Himalayan Trust http://himalayantrust.co.uk/
    Is in Nepal only, founded by Sir Edmund Hillary, built schools, clinics, planted over a million trees; restored Sherpa sacred sites; provided relief in previous disasters

    MercyCorps (Portland based) https://www.mercycorps.org/tags/nepal-earthquake
    Emergency supplies to remote villages; cash for rebuilding, addressing logistical challenges of recovery

    Oxfam International https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/nepal-earthquake
    Emergency supplies and rice, shelter, solar lanterns; also empowers women with microloans; works on justice; natural resource management; impacts of climate change

  55. Robin Factor says:

    Hello – In 1969 I made the overland trip at age 15 in a VW van with a dead battery, sometimes in the company of my free-spirited mother and sometimes traveling with friends. Before making the return trek to London in 1971 I went from Katmandu all the way down to Sri Lanka and back. I retuned to India in 1971, joined an ashram and stayed for 4 more years. Please visit my blog for photos and excerpts from writing projects. Cheers,
    robinfactor.com

  56. Hazel says:

    I made several journeys on on the Magic Bus between London and Athens in the 70/80s. Lived many years in Greece. Travelled to Turkey to obtain a Visa too. Overland to India but ended up refused entry in Iran!…back to Greece. Happy days!!

  57. Julia says:

    Hi there,
    I grew up hearing all about my grandparents expedition via Amphibious jeep from England in 1957 to Australia (sponsored by the BBC England). The most popular stories are -my grandfather Dennis Read being caught by paparazzi shaving his face whilst sitting on his amphibious vehicle in the heart of the Vatican city (apparently the Italians were insulted and it was on the front page of British newspapers). The second most popular story was that of how their journey was cut short; whilst they eventually made it to Australia it was not by amphibious jeep as during their trip my heavily pregnant grandmother Trudy went into labour in Turkey where she gave birth to her first child, my mother Kim in a cafe (Oct 1957)! The third most popular stories were that of their adventures of survival, running out of money finding work in Iran, people staring at my mother as a toddler because she had blonde hair and blue eyes.
    I know my mother has photo’s and a clearer memory of the stories than I do but I’m sure she would be happy to pass on any information if required.

  58. Graham Brown says:

    When I hitch-hiked, bused, trained and walked from Singapore to London in 1967 I had no idea the journey was called ‘the hippie trail’. I left Singapore with just $50 in my pocket and enough energy and lack of the power of prediction (I was just 19 and alone) to attempt it. And I made it, some four months later.

    The route I took was Malaya, Thailand, Burma, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Yugoslavia, Austria, Germany, France and England. There are many stories, like selling vitamin tablets in Thailand, going broke in Afghanistan, being detained on the border of Afghanistan and Iran for not taking compulsory pills – and many more. I did have a camera but lost most of the film. The memories are still quite vivid though and I should write them down while I can.

    Let me know if I can be of any help, cheers Graham

  59. renato says:

    I was on the trail in 1970 from italy to bombay and kathmandu. I did it four times since then, last time in 1976, twice I drove a car, once on a blue Citroen Diane6, I have never seen another on the way, another time with a Ford Transit van. Otherwise you would travel on boats, trains, buses and lifts of fellow travelers you’ve found on the road. The first time I stepped inside the Pudding shop in Istanbul I found a lift with a german guy that was driving an old bus to sell in Afghanistan, we were about 15 people and we paid only few bucks for petrol. Destination it was India or Nepal, but on the way you would never miss to use the one month visa you had in Afghanistan to hang around a wild but surprisingly welcoming country, very far from the image we have of it nowadays.
    I lived the freak scene in Goa and Kathmandu, I spent in Anjuna a long monsoon during which we thought to organize a flea market, somebody even edited a magazine, and a boy borned who was named Anjuna. I met the late 8finger Eddie and the other pioneers that were there since years already. In ’76 I felt a change in the Anjuna scene, heroine and cocaine more available than before, a guy died for starvation on the beach with no aid. The dream it was over and change the world a task too big maybe. I never did it back there even if India still remains one of my favourite destinations, I am 64 now and much of that spirit remains even if in an apparently regular life. Travel and understanding is still my aim, and more than then I believe that the world has to be changed. So if surely that experience has affected my life it would be interesting to see if that underculture, that lasted a decade only, has planted seeds that you can see today, what is left and what is lost.
    Thanks for sharing these memories, if you want to hear more details, I will be happy to help.
    Renato

  60. Ronnie Gaffor says:

    Hi Sharif and Brian,

    I made this trip from Penang in Malaysia to Europe in 1969 on route to London for my studies. We, me and my traveling partner, started our journey on a Steamship called SS Rajula from the northern port of Penang in Malaysia heading to Madras as it was called then (Now it is called Chennai) and then from there on it was as per your map traveling through India, Pakistan, Afghanistan through Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Germany, across Europe to London. It was one of the best times of my life and it seems like only yesterday that I made this trip. Since then I have been traveling the world in luxury on airplanes and staying in 5 star hotels on business but nothing of this can compare to the trip in 1969. Wish I could do it again but at 66 years old now I don’t think that if will materialize. Not many have made this trip and I cherish this memory till the day I die. It was one of life’s greatest adventure of my life.

  61. esther says:

    Hi,
    I have been meaning to write about my experience of travelling to India by land in he 60s. I was not a hippie either but a serious explorer- both internally and externally – culturally and spiritually. I spend my winters in the foothills of the Himalayas and my spring and summer in Canada for the last few years. I am 69 years old now, and like many of my generation I am doing something called “life completion” and part of that includes reviewing my early history. I did not keep much of a journal of the trip, so I have been trying to piece together the route we took by memory. This morning during morning prayers here at the ashram over the sacred fire – called “havan” , the thought came to me that there were many people at that time who made the trip across land and I should check it out on the internet – and lo and behold – I found all this stuff on the “hippy trail” – including your blog. There might be some enrichment going both ways if we were to communicate further – although I am sure you already have a lot of material. A worthwhile project I think, that you are working on. Most of the regions that we traversed then have had dramatic political upheavals. Although the global community is coming together via communication technology, I think those days of land travel demonstrated a genuine desire to connect with the greater global community in a very personal, hands on way. I myself would like to connect with others who were dramatically enriched by their experience of traveling the trail – as you correctly say has a misnomer, “the hippy trail.”

  62. Rosemary Kirkby says:

    Hi Sharif and Brian
    I have now transcribed my (almost illegible) diary from my trip in 1964. It was written on an ancient bus as we bumped and jolted our way from London to India! If you would be interested, I can email it to you but don’t want to load you up with ‘stuff’ if you’ve already finished your project and received enough info from other people.
    Rosemary

  63. Alun Buffry says:

    Hi here is my story about my “Hippy Trail” in 1972; I hope you enjoy and find it useful
    “All About My Hat – The Hippy Trail 1972”, it’s on amazon isbn 978-0-9932107-1-6

  64. Thore says:

    Hi,

    I find your project extremely interesting and has followed it for a while. For your information and of possible interest to you: In Denmark there was a hippie named Eik Skaløe (https://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eik_Skaløe) who died in India in 1968 (under somewhat mysterious circumstances which soon became part of the legend).

    He traveled extensively in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East before finally going by the hippy trail to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal. Before leaving on his final trip he managed to release an LP called Hip with his band Steppeulvene (a name taken from the title of H. Hesses Der Steppenwolf) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steppeulvene).

    The LP received rather little attention at the time but has since risen to great fame in Denmark, lauded for being one of the first serious rock LPs with Danish lyric (and highly poetic and original lyrics at that). Lyrics, by the way, a few of which mythologized the Hippy Trail.

    Skaløe’s story is very interesting, not the least since many of his letters from his travels have been published (only in Danish though). Anyway, Skaløe is really in the dead center of the theme of your research project and I just wanted to share this with you.

    Best regards, Thore

  65. Charlie JJ says:

    I travelled overland to India three or four times in the early 1970’s Hitching, buses, trains, on top of lorries and trains in India. By Atlas cycle from Kullu H.P. to Goa. Lived on Anjuna beach and enjoyed the parties and California Sunshine there. I’ve got a few old poor quality photos of Anjuna and Calungute beach before any buildings were there. I spent 15 years on that road. Met so many different types of people.Got so many memories – fading now. Best time of my life. Would love to talk with others who were there. Charlie.

  66. E.M. Jennings says:

    Here are a couple of journal entries I made on the overland trip to India in 1976. I am American and was 18 years old at the time. We came (my Danish travel partner and I) from Istanbul by steam train (and ferry across Lake Van (4 hours to cross) and stayed three days in Tehran waiting for the Magic Bus. We paid about 25 dollars to take it to Kabul.

    3 November 1976 (Journal Entry)
    “We stopped for breakfast for several hours. We rode many more hours and now stopped for tea. There were police who wanted to be bribed. The driver gave them Canadian whiskey. They also wanted 100 Rials each. We prayed for a miracle so that the bus could pass. There was an Australian girl on the bus who was very sweet. We slept in the seat. Some of the passengers were sleeping on the floor. I sang three songs.”

    4 November 1976 (Journal Entry)
    “We were near Meshad by the border. I woke up and brushed my teeth and face and had breakfast. Everybody was at the bus by 12 noon. We stopped for lunch. The driver had to buy a tire for the bus. We drove near the border. When we got there, it was too late. We stopped in one village and the people were excited to tell me that Carter was elected president of the United States! There were kids riding bikes. We returned to find a hotel. Hellen and I stayed on the bus. I talked with a Persian guy in the market. Doug let me use his pump stove to cook some eggs. We were to get back on the bus again. Doug and the rest of the bus started singing and drinking whiskey. The police came on the bus and harassed Doug and Carol.”

    5 November 1976 (Journal Entry)
    “We woke up after a pretty rough night on the border. We ate a light breakfast and I washed my hair. We crossed the border after 30 minutes. The border building was long and while forming a line, we had to walk past a display of how the Iranian police had caught drug smugglers. It was like a museum. By the time we got to the end of the display, there were guards. It was two hours to get a stamp from Iran and took six hours to get through the Afghanistan border. We arrived in the country at 12:15 PM.

    I wrote a letter to mom and dad and declared things that needed to be declared (camera). The driver had to give the guards some pens, a case of whiskey, and give a ride to two policemen. The passengers had a party in the back of the bus. Doug had only one arm and a prosthetic with a hook on it. He was laughing and telling everybody that the only good thing about it was that he had a great roach clip! He lost the arm as a boy when he played with an electric transformer. There was drinking and smoking of Hash by those on the back despite the fact there were two policemen sitting in the front of the bus. We arrived in Herat with a lot of the people on the bus drinking and smoking dope. We stopped at a hotel. We took a room that cost about 50 cents per day. We turned in.”

    I can close my eyes and imagine the colors (almost a kodachrome quality), smells, sounds (lack thereof inthe country) and emotions as though they were yesterday.

    Loved reading through these accounts. Yes…I was not a hippy. In fact, I did not smoke up the whole time on the trip. I am sure the second-hand smoke was everywhere. We ate at Sigi’s in Kabul.

    Best wisthes on your project!

    • Kirk Sowers says:

      I remember the display case at the Iranian/Afghan border. The ripped apart car seats, the broken tennis shoe, a broken pole from a backpack and the sign saying what they found. I sweated in the interrogation as the officer pointed at my eyes, “you smoke hashish.” That was in 1978.

  67. Steve Driver says:

    I recently revisited my travel log/book (W’rites of passage) and photographs from my 1977 trip across the Asian highway and just happen on your site. I have yet to read into the accounts in any depth but will do with interest. It was a special time in my life and was accomplished on next to no money. I thought I should register my interest in the project.
    In synopsis we (Steve Driver and Neil Fawcett from Yorkshire, UK) set out on bikes across Europe, then after speaking with travellers at the Pudding Shop in Istanbul took buses (not the Magic bus, but travelled with it on occasions) across Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Thailand, then the train from Malaysia to Singapore and flights to Australia. It did change my life and I am now a Tasmanian as a result. I would enjoy corresponding with anyone with an interest, particularly those who were on the road in either direction between June – September 1977.

  68. Caroline Born (known as Carrie then) says:

    I was on the road in 1973 through to 1974 starting out by train with my friend Fo from England to Athens. I kept a diary that I wrote up everything in every day – to give me a calm point in the middle of everything. We didn’t call ourselves hippies either. We didn’t have a name for ourselves, that was the point, we did not want categorization. But we were called ‘freaks’, though I disliked the association with being some aberration. ‘Hippies’ is still seen as a derogatory term today and I am writing a memoir aiming to challenge the judgements around that; that hippies are wasters and drugged out good-for-nothing over-idealistic romantic drifters…
    My experience was profound and life changing. It has made me who I am. The open-heartedness, the huge generosity, the non-attachment to possessions and especially, the huge transparent hunger for real spirituality rather than formal dogmatic religian. That is what I loved the most, the passionate discussion around spiritual ideas, the sharing of seminal books – for example Be Here Now by Ram Dass and the I Ching, (thanks to Jung who introduced it to the West some years earlier) All of the Castenada books and John Lilly’s – The Centre of the Cyclone. These and many more books were powerful eye openers, heart openers and soul connectors for me. I experienced a burgeoning of excitement about the freedom to experience spirit for ourselves in our own ways.
    I was on route to Israel when the Yom Kippur war broke out so went and worked in Crete for 2 months. Then got into Israel, then hitched through Turkey and Iran. For much of my time away I slept outside which I adored! It created a loving bond with nature that has never left me. I would love to re-connect with others I met on the road or who were on the Kibbutz, Kfar Menachem. May the loving spirit of that time grow and flourish on the planet.

  69. Robin Marshall says:

    An extract from my: Autobiographical Fiction (untitled):

    Hippie is a dirty word these days. It wasn’t much of a word, even then. But what was frowned upon in the 1960s, has turned into a scapegoating sneer when exiting the mouths of the black-tongued, latter-day neoliberalists, who manage to blame almost everyone but themselves, for anything at all. Ha ha.
    Was I a hippie? Yes and no; the ‘yes’ was much more by nature than doctrine, and the ‘no’, down to my distrust of the whole ‘team’ ethic thing, which had begun to rear its head in areas that had nothing to do with actual teams. Was I following the ‘Hippie Trail’? No; But only because in a still Google-less world I didn’t really know much about the ‘Trail’, and had no concept, at that time, of it being a Hippie phenomenon, rather than just a fascinating road. And after more than two years on that road, I’d visited (and relished) a fair few iconic HT hangouts, but had also studiously avoided many others. I was, without doubt, fully in tune with peace, love and freedom, and still am, but a full-blown hippie? Most of us preferred to be ‘Freaks’, if anything, rather than hippies. But it wasn’t a rift, not even a competition.

    Thanks to all contributors for this place. What a great resource for memories, ideas, and living life.

  70. David Milner says:

    My wife and I and our 3 year old daughter travelled overland in a 1961 Austin parcel van. From Hull, UK via a usual route, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan etc. We drove round India and Sri Lanka then up to Nepal and the border of Tibet. 6 months later we were driving back to Hull. We had hundreds of memorable adventures and met some great people. Love to here from anyone who remembers us, to share memories of these times, Dave and Shelby Milner.

  71. David Templeman says:

    Hi Sharif and Brian,

    I was on Asiabus travelling from London to Kathmandu in 1967. I have a number of colour slides which seem to have stood up well to the rigours of age and I am happy to share them with you when and if you need them. The trip was relatively sober and very exciting and we regarded ourselves more as ‘adventurers’ than ‘hippies’. I think we regarded those in VW Kombis and motor cycles as hippies even when they were sometimes young families on an adventure. Maybe we were a little arrogant. That attitude was also among us in Kathmandu where we took of for the mountains (some of us returning for longer and more daring treks a year later) and we did not really like or trust the stoned and wasted hippies we saw there. Many of my 1500 colour slides of Nepal between 1967 and 1969 are on Monash University’s Arrow repository and are freely available. The Asiabus slides are not yet on that site.With all best wishes in this great and exciting project, David Templeman

  72. Dr George Wake says:

    Hi all you Bit-guide people.
    In 1976, I went overland to Kathmandu and back, initially with 2 friends, 1 of whom we had to leave in Kabul jail – I’m sure you can all imagine why he ended up there!
    My mate Dave, who I continued to Nepal and afterwards to Delhi, and I were authentic Idiots abroad – it was great. Everyone all the way treated us really well, for two emaciated naive fools, we gained great insight into non – European cultures, and were pretty humbled by the whole experience.
    Now, at 66 years of age, the greatest tragedy of my life is that I can’t do it again, due to the changing politics of the world.
    As a callow, hemp – crazed young man, I found that the threnody of the trendy left – (white = bad, white, male English = worse) was not seen abroad – old Indian guys, who had actual experience of the Brits, told me (spontaneously, in the street) that they missed the colonial Brits – (apparently we gave them honest cops and judges).
    In later life, as a research scientist, I told a Pakistani colleague that I had been to Landi Kotal, at the mouth of the Khyber Pass in Pakistan, and found the people there first class types. He told me, and I quote, ” George, I would not dare to go to Landi Kotal, and I am Pakistani”. We were made welcome everywhere, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal. I shudder at the thought that I might have missed this exalting, liberating experience.
    The whole experience cost me £600, and lasted 6.5 months. Those were the days!

  73. Sam Cuming says:

    Good morning Sharif and Brian,

    I was checking the internet for references to the Globe restaurant in Kathmandu in 1966 when I came across your blog. Fascinating stuff! When I was seventeen in July1965 I spent four months hitchhiking across North Africa and around the Mediterranean from Gibraltar to Gibraltar, except for the boat ride from Alexandria to Beirut. The following year I hitchhiked from London to Kathmandu and back from the beginning of July 1966, arriving back just before Christmas. I went back in 1968 to Kathmandu overland. In 1965 I certainly wasn’t a hippie, but by 1966 I graduated and got stuck in the Hotel Gulhane in Istanbul for quite a long time. I stayed in Sikh temples in Tehran and India, the Benazir Hotel in Kabul, slept under the Buddhas of Bamyan and rented a hobbit sized room near the Globe Restaurant in Kathmandu.
    In 1968 I remember staying with Mrs Banerjee in Firebrigade Lane near Connaught Place and I also remember a film crew that came round one day to film the ‘hippies’. Once in a while we used to splurge on a meal at Wengers, a restaurant in Connaught Place.

    One evening in a place called Doshi in Afghanistan I overdosed on hash in a little café. I was the only foreigner there and we sat around a hubbly bubbly and of course I was trying to keep up with the locals. I passed out and woke up in the morning lying on a wooden table, with no one else around. I never really recovered from that experience and have smoked dope very little ever since!

    I might have run into Gunnar in North Africa, but I don’t remember. The clip https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=512452565460651 was fascinating and brought back memories of the madness in Kathmandu! There must be other films around – I’d love to see them.

    My camara was stolen in a Sikh temple in Delhi, which was a pity but I do have diaries which I am revising at the moment. After that most of my life was spent in Colombia, most recently in the island of Providencia in the west Caribbean, but I am now back in London. I am 67.

    I wish you all the best in your project.

    Sam

  74. Tim says:

    Looking forward to the publication of your book in the New Year. Came across your work through a tweet by Lonely Planet today
    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/news/2016/11/24/lonely-planet-hippie-trail-backpacking/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=travel+news&utm_term=lonely+planet+founder+looks+back+on+the+hippie+trail+and+the+dawn+of+backpacking+at+event+in+london

    A friend and I travelled overland back from Australia to the UK in 1975-1976. Aged 19 it was a formative experience with doubt. Thanks to Australian workmates who had one of the earliest photostated copies of “Shoestring” which was a real eye opener as to the possibilities.

    After that trip the summer was spent on a kibbutz in Israel. More earning money back in Australia funded a trip to Africa. In Morocco trying to get into Algeria for a Sahara crossing proved an impossibility no access for those on foot – so funny to see Gryff Rhys Jones trying to that recently on a TV programme about railways. Back tracking I flew to Kenya for 6 weeks roaming around – not a care in the world up in Lamu: sadly no longer the case? From a trip from Khartoum to Jebel Mara by train and truck. A circuit back to Khartoum via El Fasher before taking the train to Wadi Halfa and up through Egypt.

    Interestingly two roads trips seemed to be enough and didn’t feel the urge to do it again. But work in oil exploration took me to Morocco, Greece, Egypt and Indonesia – the latter for a full year.

    After gaining a degree in Development Studies I ended up in the food industry exporting British cheese and muesli across the world.

    So having rewritten an English restaurant menu in Herat in 1975 I am still ensuring food prices follow some logic!

  75. Rosemary Kirkby says:

    Hi Brian and Sharif
    I would love to buy a copy of your book when it is published next year. Will it be available in Australia and, if so, where can I get it?
    I was one of the people in May 1964 who travelled with Janet Hammond on ‘The Overlanders’ Bus’. This trip changed my life forever, and I learnt far more about the World in those 4 months on the road than in all my years at school!!
    By folowing your project, I have been able to relive so many of those wonderful experiences – thank you.
    Rosemary Kirkby (nee Harries)

  76. Lynda Vater says:

    Hello. Our family, Mum &I Dad and four kids travelled from Australia to Sri Lanka in early 1972, we entered India at the bottom and got stuck at the India/Pakistan border with about 60 other travellers and vehicles for about a month, in the end we stormed the gate and camped right at the border gate, eventually they let us through but each vehicle had to take passengers (the people who were hitching) through the border , some people just gave them a lift to closest town. Our guy stayed with us right thru the trail to Greece, I was 16 when we travelled and our whole family treasure the memories and photos of that trip, if there is anyone out there who was at the Indian border for that time please get in touch
    Lynda Vater
    Australia

  77. Great, hi all.
    In ’72 I went to Waterloo Station and asked for a ‘Single to Istanbul please’, relishing the thought of not coming back but to keep on going with ‘the guide’ until I got to OZ. I detoured down to the Lebanon, then back to Istanbul and then eastwards. I had Bartholomew’s map ‘Eurasia’ which gave you London to Darwin, and about $500. in American Express Travellers Cheques and probably some cash dollars. I did all the overland route across Asia/SE.Asia/Indonesia/Bali/Darwin and finally fished up in Sydney 4months later. It changed the course of my life which is what I wanted, I was fleeing emotional turmoil in London and needed a very big challenge. Plus, like Eldridge Cleaver in Soul on Ice, I was in love with Mary Jane and decided to go to those places where it was part of the culture and not an issue. All of it, the whole journey, was extremely intense. Some of it unbelievably so, looking back on it now I check the journals that I made of the days and it seems like yesterday, the evoked memories are so strong. Weeping, Syria wasted, Aleppo destroyed, Iran, Afghanistan, what a mess the powers have made. A curse on the arrogance of those involved in those wars.
    Oh dear, thats spun me a bit so i will leave it there for now.
    Greeting to all I may have travelled with and those who helped me along the way.
    Anthony.

  78. Hi Again,
    Just wondering…..
    On the trail out of Istanbul, on a $15 bus that was supposed to be going to Kabul I was befriended by a guy called TORO. He was a young scots dude and as soon as we were out of the city he changed into the baggy trousers, the shirt and waist coat and green turban. No coat, just a grey blanket over his shoulder. He really looked ‘native’ and to start with the passengers thought he was just posing. The bus had no heating, it broke down constantly, middle of winter, we all started to get sick with coughs and colds, poor food, the journey was turning bad but Toro just got stronger. He was in his element. He told me he was returning to his mate and ‘family’ up in the high hindu kush were they were ferrying horses and stuff over the high, 20,ooo ft. , passes in Afganistan. Said they were part of the tribes up there, had been accepted and given status [and wives]. He saved my ‘bacon’ on that awful journey and we eventually parted in Herat. He was disgusted that his dog had not been looked after and had run off, or worse. He headed north to Masar Sheriff and I south to Kandahar.
    I took most of what he said with a pinch of salt to start with but by the time we got to Herat I realised the guy was totally straight with me. Hard as nails that dude. Swarthy, stocky, barrel chested, black hair, he looked the part, very natural.
    I just wonder how long he and his mate survived up there in the mountains with their horses and family.
    Did anyone else come across TORO.? Did he survive the changes, the Russians?

    • Al haas says:

      I was on one of those busses in 1972 out of the pudding shop in Istanbul it took about 5 days to get to Herat then I really a couple of days before continuing to kabul where I was sick with dysentery for a month before returning to the US.
      I returned the next year meeting up with my friend Tec from the bus in Kathmandu.
      What s trip!
      Alan
      Alan

  79. Kirk Sowers says:

    Arrived in Jaleh Square in Sept. 1978 as the soldiers pulled four trucks in place to fire from. Our bus was stopped by protestors and everyone ordered out. We escaped with the help of some Nigerian student, I never knew his name, he was responsible for saving us as a group of teens surrounded me yelling American! We escaped a few days later on a bus full of locals and chickens heading to Afghanistan.
    Hard to remember all the people, but I remember soldiers at the border shooting someone’s dog. I think the guy was German. We went through some interrogation.
    Prior to the trip from Istanbul to Kathmandu, I spent six months and traveled across the Sahara from Algeria, eventually to Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan and Egypt. Spent summer in Greece, Spain and Morocco before going to Paris and on to Istanbul.
    Have a few pictures in Africa but none of the hippie trail. I ended up in Thailand for a while.

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