Yes folks, there is such a thing as the Hippie Trail. It is/was the overland route between Europe and South Asia in the 1960s and 1970s that lead those seeking spiritual and recreational enlightenment to places like Nepal and India. Travel along the trail, particularly by Westerners, has diminished since 1979, following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Iranian Revolution. Continued unrest in Afghanistan, Iraq, and parts of Pakistan has kept several sections of the original trail a dangerous route today.
Nevertheless, the Hippie Trail has become legendary with the publication of books like Rory MacLean’s Magic Bus: On the Hippie Trail From Istanbul to India and The Wrong Way Home by Peter Moore (I’m reading this one now), as well as the excellent book I just completed, Odyssey: Ten Years on the Hippie Trail by Ananda (Craig) Brady. Mr. Brady’s book provided valuable insights into several nations who have been facing the perils of war for far too many decades. Afghanistan in particular, was a favorite place he visited, particularly around Kabul.
I thoroughly enjoyed his book and found it to be quite inspiring and enlightening. Mr. Craig seems to grow throughout the book, as well. His philosophical insights become more and more thought-provoking as the book proceeds. I sometimes wish that I had taken a course closer to author’s after graduating from college. That being said, his book has inspired me to seek more adventurous journeys outside the mainstream travel routes in the future. Here are a few dandy snippets from the book, Odyssey: Ten Years on the Hippie Trail. I’ve mostly included quotes from the last third of the book, though there are charming nuggets of wit and introspection throughout.
- “Journeys contain those small moments of decision, sometimes made almost haphazardly, that determines all that comes later. And they provide those moments of connection that inspire new ways of seeing and being.” (page 4)
- “We wanted our nation to be not superior – just good.” (page 9)
- “Our peace movement envisioned a world where violence and war is not only not the answer – in our world it would not even be the question.” (page 39)
- “If you were the right kind of crazy you could get away with a lot.“ (page 366)
- “As the landscape that surrounded us steadily grew brighter, the enormity of it both buoyed our spirits in wonder, and shrank them in trepidation at the sheer scope of our undertaking.” (page 376)
- “With regret we’d leave Kabul. With passion we’d enter India.” (page 410)
- “My personal feeling is that it is people – human minds, human hearts – who sanctify or profane a place, no matter what scriptures say.” (page 432)
- “Sometimes to stay on course we have to go way off course.” (page 473)
- “The little hippie lodges and VW campgrounds [in Kabul] were many and varied, running the full spectrum from luxuriant, to charming, to foreboding.” (page 489)
- “I went to bed thinking there’s no place like India, where anyone may find a home, by becoming homeless.” (page 513)
- “Sometimes when you’re stoned you see things metaphorically and metaphors are closer to the truth.” (page 554)
- “I’ve recounted the time I spent with Tibetan people in Bodhgaya, in India, and had been struck by their carefree demeanor, even in the face of being in exile from their own country where a physical and cultural genocide had been raging on, even up to that very day.” (page 556)
Page numbers are Kindle page numbers.