Asia’s overland hippie trail falls victim to geopolitics, in Nikkei Asia

India Iran Nepal Pakistan

Getting there is half the fun, they say. That’s what I thought, when the Iranian policeman squeezed my pants hard  at the border crossing with Pakistan.
“You smuggle anything?” he barked, leanng in as I smelled his stale breath..
Two shady Baluchi men were lingering outside the roadside shack, revving the engine of their sports car. They had given me and Sam, my then girlfriend, a lift from the border. The police eventually let us go, frustrated that we weren’t smugglng heroin into the Islamic Republic.

It was June 1998 and we were on our way from Nepal to Europe, via India, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. We were latecomers to Asia’s “hippie trail” made famous by young adventurers who  traveled overland from London to Kathmandu in the 1960s and 1970s. These counterculture pioneers, disillusioned with the burgeoning consumer lifestyle back home and clutching copies of Herman Hesse’s “Steppenwolf” and Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road,” traveled the hippie trail, as the route is called today, on shoe-string budgets….

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