Hey Man…Whatever Happened To The Hippy Trail?

hippies

When we look at the psychedelic colours and wild afro style hair currently sported by some of the bands doing their rounds of the festivals in Europe and USA, some of us remember that word that used to accompany this wacky dress sense, and that word was ‘Hippy’. These days it is a throwaway phrase that doesn’t have much significant meaning anymore. But back in the ‘swinging sixties’ it was an alternative way of life. This article takes a look at those cool halcyon days when the hippies used to travel halfway across the world just to get a nice vibe.  License: Creative Commons image source

What Defines A Hippy?

The word ‘hippy’ originated from ‘hipster’, this was in turn used to describe beatniks. These were the cool people who used to hang out in New York’s Greenwich Village in the mid-1960. Hippies created their own communities and embraced the world of psychedelic rock. They were also rumoured to enjoy a few other, illicit, substances.

What Music Did They Dig?

 

The hippies loved any artist who held the same Eastern beliefs and of they had a penchant for tie-dyed clothes that was a bonus!  Some of the favoured music was played by the likes of Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix and The Grateful Dead. Festivals such as Woodstock and Monterey paid testament to the hundreds of thousands of young men and woman who embraced love instead of war.

What About The Drugs?

It was no secret that hippies also worshipped the illegal side of relaxation substances. Products such as marijuana, LSD, magic mushrooms and opium were ‘De rigueur’ at every live music gathering. The police would have a field day until they realised that even they could not place 300,000 or more people under arrest for the same offence!

The Hippy Trail

Back in the 1950’s there were a bunch of trips that went overland from England, across Europe and into Asia. These were usually rich students who were after a bit of adventure, subsidised by Mummy and Daddy.  Air travel was still in its infancy and buses were the preferred form of transport. After The Beatles visited India, in 1967, the idea of the ‘mystic east’ started to gather a lot of interest. Thousands of unwashed young men and woman backpacked their way across to India for various reasons. Some were seeking enlightenment, whilst others just wanted to get wasted!

Where Did They Go?

hippie-van

The favoured places were also very familiar with the pot-smokers of the age. Nepal, Afghanistan and Kashmir were the ‘lucky’ hosts of the thousands of hippies. Bus companies decided to capitalise on this trend and soon there were droves of ‘Magic’ buses making the 6000 mile journey.  It is believed that many of the ‘stopping off’ spots on this journey were part of the fabled ‘Opium Trail’. 

Hippies Or Freaks?

The funny thing was that the people who are referred to as ‘hippies’ actually hated that term. They prefer to call themselves ‘freaks’ and certainly tried their best to live up to this name.

Goodbye Hippy Trail

The death knell sounded for the hippy trail back in 1979, this was due to the wars in Afghanistan and Islamic revolutions in Iran. People could now fly to places like Goa and the need for uncomfortable bus journeys became a thing of the past. Are there any hippies left today? Well probably, but they certainly aren’t wearing tie-dyed designer gear anymore! License: Creative Commons image source

Matt Foreman is a sales executive at omkarawear.com, a leading name for alternative clothing. He likes going on long road trips with his friends and revel in the beauty of nature. He is a budding musician and likes to add a dash of music to every party that he throws.