Phewa Tal

    THE JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME (October 1977 - March 1978)


Hippie trail resources


Between circa 1965 and 1980 hundreds of thousands of Western youth from Europe, North America and Australia travelled overland to India and Nepal. Despite the differences in routes, duration, experiences or motives (drugs, enlightenment, new horizons), the journey proved a transformative, if at times perilous, experience for virtually everyone. Many of the stories of travellers from different countries collected here exude the youthful longing for freedom and sense of adventure that stands out foremost in my own memory of that time.
Your feedback or suggestions are welcome at g.aartsen [at] xs4all.nl.

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Click here for a full list of blogs and books by Dutch 'hippie trail'-ers.


Adventures on the 'Hippie Trail' (in English, unless otherwise noted)

1967: Hans Roodenburg (NL), On the Hippie Trail (blog, 2006)

1968: Steven Abrams (UK), A Diary of my overland journey from England to Australia (blog, 2003)

1969: John de Figueredo (UK), Overland UK to Australia 1969 (blog, 2020?)

1969: Len Hunt (UK), Trip of a Lifetime - 47 days in 1969 (blog, 2015)

1969: Erik Pontoppidan (Denmark), The Hippie Trail - The Road to Paradise (blog, 2002)

1969: Bruce Thomas (Australia), Overland Odyssey 1969: Colombo to London by Car Along the Legendary Hippie Trail (blog, 2018)

1970: Stephen Barton (UK), Overland journey from England to India (blog, 2016)

1970: Anussorn Thavisin (Thailand), One Thai man's epic overland journey from the UK to Thailand in 1970 (article in Khaosod English, 2019)

1971: Heinz Wüppen (Germany), India: Hippietrail in the 70s. With car to Afghanistan, India, Nepal (video journal, 2013/2023)

1972: Wolfgang LightMaster (Germany), Old Hippie - Abenteuer (blog/German, 1999?)

1973: Jude Eaton (UK), England to Australia (1973) Anticipation - Part Two, Parts Three - Five (blog, 2019)

1973: John and Sue Hayhurst (UK), Kathmandu, Freak Street and hippies (archived blog, 2001)

1973: Zbigniew Kosc (Poland/NL), Journey to Afghanistan (1973) (photos, 2008)

1973: Keith Rajala (Canada), Kathmandu to Tonbridge, England - The Hippie Trail (blog, 2017)

1973: Tony Walton (UK), On The Hippie Trail: Overland to India and Nepal in 1973 (blog, 2012)

1973: Alan Williams (South Africa), On the Hippie Trail to Kathmandu in 1973 (blog, 2021?)

1974: Jean van Berkel (NL), On the Road to Kabul and To Pakistan, India and Nepal and overland back to Europe (blogs, 2002)

1974: Richard Gregory (UK), The Hippie Trail 1974 – London to Kathmandu (blog, 2006/2021)

1974: Rudolf Landolt (Switzerland), The Hippie Trail – The Journey of Life (blog, 2022)

1974: Erwin Thomasius (Germany), Reiseerinnerungen an Afghanistan 1974 (blog/German, 2001)

1974: Peter Wedam (Germany), Eine Reise....fast nach Indien (blog/German, 2011?)

1975: Simon Andrews (UK): The hippy trail to India 1975 (blog, 2015)

1975: Hans Grimm (NL), Hippy trail 1975 (Flickr photo blog with captions, 2007)

1975: Michael Taylor (UK), A BIT of a trip – on the Hippie Trail (blog, 2017)

1976: Frank van den Berge (NL), Road Trip to India in a 2CV (Facebook posts/Engels, 2020-21)

1976: Chris de Bié (Germany), Storia Theurgica – The Hippie Trail (access to broken links: 1, 2, 3, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 5, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.7, 6.8, 6.9, 6.10, 7.1, 7.2, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 8.5, 8.6 (blog, 2016)

1976: Mario Paluan (Italy), Sei stato a Kabul? / Have you been to Kabul? (blog/Italian, 2022; photos)

1976: Jan Pauwels (NL), JePe's Blog - Over mij (blog/Dutch, 2021)

1976: Vicente Segura & Gisela Schütze (Peru/Germany), On the Road to India and Nepal – From the Inca Trail to the Hippie Trail (photo blog, 2022?)

1977: Gerard Aartsen (NL), From the Netherlands to Nepal – and back again (this blog, 2021)

1977: Bruce Barrett (Canada), Afghanistan 1977 (Flickr photo album, 2004?)

1977: Colin Clews (UK/Australia), Hippie Trail 1977 (Flickr photo album), The Hippie Trail (archived blog, 2015)

1977: Peter Engelhardt (Germany), Kulturschock Hippie-trail (blog/German, 2006)

1977: Detlef Fritz (Germany), Türkei, Iran, Afghanistan: Durch die Wüste zu den Buddhas und Seen des Hindukusch (archived blog/German, 2004)

1977: Wim de Groot (NL), Indian travel journal 1977 (blog/Dutch, 2017)

1977: Mike Newman (USA): Around the World (photo blog, 2020)

1977: Vitsnu Pongsmai (Thailand), On the Hippie Trail to India 1977 – From Munich to Madras (blog, 2014)

1977: Evelyne Segura (France), "On the road" ... vers l'Inde (video blogs/French, 2013)

1978: Rob Gerritsen (NL), Afghanistan (photo blog/Dutch; 2020)

1978: PK Mahanandia (India), The man who cycled from India to Europe for love (BBC News, 2016; Oneworld, 2017)

1978: Rick Steves (USA), Istanbul to India by bus and Afghanistan: Reflections from a "Trip of a Lifetime" (Literally) in 1978 (blog, 2021; Rick Steves Travel Talk, 2022)

1978: Michael Zuther (Germany), Ausfahrt nach Afghanistan / Ride to Afghanistan (photo blog/German, 2005?)

1979: Elisabeth and Richard Dening (UK), India to England Overland – Elisabeth Dening's Travel Journal (blog, 2008)

⁍⁍ For printed adventures on the hippie trail in various languages click the covers to the right or see this reading list at GoodReads.


'Overland' bus drivers

1972: Jonathan Benyon (UK), Road to Goa (blog, 2007, 2021)

1973: Derek Amey (UK), Travelling Overland...The Adventure of a Lifetime (blog, 2005)

1978-80: Trevor Carroll (Australia), Crossing Continents with Top Deck (Tricky Press, 2017)

1980: Darcy O'Donnell (Australia), Overland: London to Kathmandu (blog, 2008?)


Nepalis' experiences with 'hippie trail'-ers

Jagannath Adhikari, My encounter with hippies (blog, 2019)

Ram Prasad Manandhar, Snowman Café private photo collection (Nepal Picture Library, 2018)

Mohan Krishna Mulepati, Himalayan Coffee Bar private photo collection (Nepal Picture Library, 2018)

Trilochan Shrestha, The Gangster of Love (Nepali Times article, 2018)

Prasiit Sthapit, Something Big And Glorious And Magnificently Insane: Hippie Kathmandu, (Photo Kathmandu Exhibition, 2018)


Documentaries

1967: Hippies in Nepal (ITN: This Week, England)

1970: The Hippy Trail (BBC2 - Man Alive, England)

1973: Unterwegs auf dem Hippie-Trail: Junge Schweizer auf dem Guru-Trip (SF DRS - Ausreisen, ausreissen, Switzerland) (German)

1977: The Road to Kathmandu (BBC2 - The World About Us, England)

1979: An Asian Overlander (Top Deck Travel, London/Australia)

1980: Vagabunden Karawane: Musikalische Begegnungen auf dem Weg nach Indien - 1979 (Werner Penzel, Germany) (German; DVD 2005)

1996: *Ein Traum von Kabul (Matzka-Kiener Filmproduktionen, Germany) (German; DVD 2006)

2007: *High sein, frei sein, überall dabei sein (Arte - Summer of Love, 5 parts, France/Germany) (German)
– Auf dem Hippie-Trail nach 1. Ibiza; 2. Marokko; 3. Kabul; 4. Goa; 5. Kathmandu

2009: Asia Overland – adventures on the hippie trail (ABC - Radio National, Australia)

2016: *Verlorenes Paradies: das Kabul der Hippies (ORF2 - Weltjournal+, Austria) (German w/English subs)

2017: Op vakantie naar Afghanistan (VPRO - Andere Tijden, NL) (Dutch)

2017: Storia della Vacanze  (RSI - Laser, Switzerland) (Italian; transcript)

2021: Amsterdam Balloon Company - Bus Stories (Anita Janssen, Ruigoord) (Dutch)

2021: Blazing the Hippie Trail – Overland to Asia 1955-80 (Richard Gregory, UK; extended 2022)

⁍⁍ In his documentary Weed (1971) director Alex de Renzy also interviews hippies in Kathmandu.

* Note: The vintage footage from Ein Traum von Kabul (1996; 80 mins) was reused for the High sein... episode about Kabul (2007; 25 mins). Verlorenes Paradies (2016; 47 mins) is a re-hash of both.


Research

Hippie trail historian Richard Gregory documents how the phenomenon originated when, circa 1964, Western youth began travelling the overland route from Europe to Kathmandu, where hashish was legal. Originally termed ‘the Hashish Trail’ by Time magazine, with the growing visibility and number of travellers it became known as 'The Hippie Trail' in the British press. Those who actually travelled the trail simply referred to it as 'going to India', and didn't call themselves 'hippies'. Organised bus tours for travellers with more conventional pursuits largely travelled the same route since 1957, which was known as doing ‘The Overland’ and continued to exist alongside the hippie trail until 1980.

Mark Liechty (USA), Building the Road to Kathmandu: Notes on the History of Tourism in Nepal (Himalaya - Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies, 2005)

Richard Gregory (UK), A Pukka History of the Hippie Trail (2008, expanded 2023)

Darragh van der Stel (NL), BOM Shiva Shanka. Een analyse van de reis van Westerse jongeren over de Hippie Trail tussen 1966 en 1980 (MA thesis/Dutch, Erasmus University Rotterdam, 2011)

Mark Liechty (USA), Something Big And Glorious And Magnificently Insane: Hippie Kathmandu (Social Science Baha Talk, 2013)

Dilek Özyildirim (Germany), Der Hippie Trail als neue Form der Pilgerreise. Ein Vergleich zwischen der christlichen Wallfahrt nach Jerusalem und dem Hippie Trail nach Indien (BA thesis/German, Universität Augsburg, 2013)

Agnieszka Sobocinska (Australia), Following the 'hippie sahibs': colonial cultures of travel and the hippie trail (Journal of Colonialism & Colonial History, Vol.15, No.2, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014)

Grant Szuveges (Australia), The overland hippie trail to India and Nepal in the 1960s and 1970s (BA thesis, La Trobe University Melbourne, 2014)

Sharief Gemie and Brian Ireland (UK), The Consul and the Beatnik: The Establishment, Youth Culture and the Beginnings of the Hippy Trail (1966–8) (University of South Wales, 2017)

Mark Liechty (USA), Far Out. Countercultural Seekers and the Tourist Encounter in Nepal (University of Chicago Press, 2017)

Sharief Gemie and Brian Ireland (UK), The Hippie Trail. A History (Manchester University Press, 2017)

Grant Szuveges (Australia), The Overland Hippie Trail to India and Nepal in the 1960s and 1970s: A Comparison with Contemporary Backpacking (PhD thesis, La Trobe University Melbourne, 2020)

Uwe Granzow (Germany), Der legendäre "Magic Bus" nach Indien 1970 - 1983 (German/Freiburg, 2021)

Richard Gregory (UK), The Overland - Buses to India 1957-1980 (2021)

The journey

About me

Gerard Aartsen (1957) is an English teacher educator at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, School of Education. He is also a student of the Ageless Wisdom teachings and is the author of several books on the presence of extraterrestrial visitors and the evolution of consciousness. For more information: www.bgapublications.nl.