On the Hippie Trail

Europe | Turkey | Iran | Afghanistan | Pakistan | India | Nepal | going home | paper trail | looking back

Map: NordNordWest / Wikimedia Commons

'... I believe it was God’s will that we should return, so that men might know the things that are in the world ...'

'Our journey to the East, and its underlying community, has been the most - if not the only - important experience in my life'


'I had indeed learned how to cast off the evils of the world and the city, just as long as I had a decent pack on my back'

In the late nineteen sixties and early seventies, hundreds of thousands of youngsters from both sides of the North Atlantic took the journey overland from Europe to India, Nepal and beyond. Simultaneously, quite a few travellers from Australia came in via Southeast Asia and took the journey the other way round. From Western Europe the road led through former Yugoslavia, Greece or Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal. The one-way distance along this so-called 'Hippie Trail' was approximately 10.000 km (6.000 miles). An old Volkswagen van was the favourite choice of those who provided their own means of transport. Trains, cheap buses and hitchhiking were the modes of transport open to the others. Along the Trail, specialized budget hotels provided shelter and a place to meet other travellers.

'Visas will not be issued to people with hair like beetle [sic]'
– Sign at the Afghan consulate in Mashhad (East Iran) in the nineteen seventies

Hitchhiking in North Africa

Already an experienced hitchhiker, having travelled all around the Mediterranean a few years earlier (see picture above), I took up the challenge and set out on the Grand Journey in the autumn of 1967, reached Kathmandu in Nepal a few months later and came home in the summer of 1968.

I am grateful to the occasional travel companions I met on the road and to the wonderful peoples of the Middle East and South Asia, who all made this trip a great experience.

View my impression of the Hippie Trail in the nineteen sixties (pictures, maps, comments) on the following pages:

Europe | Turkey | Iran | Afghanistan | Pakistan | India | Nepal | going home | paper trail | looking back

Hans Roodenburg, The Netherlands, 2006 (last update: July 2022)

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