About This Blog

Memories of my travels between 1972 and 1982



This blog contains memories.  Memories do not come into our heads in sequence like a timeline.   So here I have been able to pick particular days or incidents out of my memory without having to put them into a wider sequence.  This has allowed me to focus on the events themselves, without having to make a larger story as the travel book style requires.  I have also been able to avoid having to discuss the inward journey, or to talk more than I want to about travelling companions.   I have, however, often allowed myself to relate events or things encountered beyond the day in question, so that I can recount particular journeys or widen my impressions of a particular place

These are memories at a long distance, nearly 40 years for some.  The experience has now been tempered by other experiences, especially by travel books and news stories, so I think I can refer to those outside the main text.  I have also put in pictures, my own where I have them, which is not often, but also those of others through links.  I have used Google Maps to add illustration on many occasions

I have journals for many of the dates covered.  For some I cannot even be sure of the dates and I have tried to reconstruct those as I can.  For some it has been pure, if somewhat dim, memory, though I have preferred to use the writings when I can.  The trips after 1978 generally have better notes about them in my journals.

Getting Started

I can't say why I started travelling exactly.  As a boy I loved exploring places on my bike and when I started to drive I just drove to see new places and for the sheer joy of it.  I drove to Greece with friends twice, in 1966 and 1968, and during the earlier trip I saw a few vehicles, mainly Australian, aiming for India according to the slogans written on them.  I realised that I could do that, it would just be driving to Istanbul and then going further.

I'd come across one or two people who'd been further and heard some exotic stories, but it was not the Hippie Trail that attracted me.  After three years working in the computer industry, I'd realised that I needed to do something different.  In the early sixties I'd seen a television series that highlighted environmental and consequent social changes and this had made a big impression upon me.  I wanted to see more of the world than just the developed parts of Europe.  A view of mainland Turkey in 1961 and travelling through the Muslim parts of Yugoslavia  had given me a taste.  My invalid mother had died which left me free of responsibilities, and I had married a woman who seemed to share some of my ideas.   I wanted to see as much as I could of the world before it changed, before it became westernised.

I knew virtually nothing of India when I set out.  I had the large Bartholomew's map of the area and had noted some of the names on it.  I had a list of about 12 people's names and addresses in India, some names European, some Indian, given by my cousin John Cameron who had been in India with the Royal Engineers before the Second World War.   I had read nothing about India; a friend gave me a copy of "The Way of Zen" in the hope that I would learn something of Oriental religion before I arrived there, but I didn't read it until I came back and was trying to sort out everything I had seen.  I learned about it by going there.  In the event the list of names and addresses was the most important thing about that journey.  We looked all of them up except one and it kept us well and truly off the Hippie Trail.  I don't think I even gave much thought to whether we would meet other travellers along the way - it was purely our journey.  To that extent after leaving London in the middle of May we did not even reach Asia until September 1st - Hilkka had things in Europe she wanted to share with me and I had things I wanted to share with her.  In the end we covered 30,000 miles, including 10,000 in India and Nepal, in fifteen months away from the UK.


I don't have many photographs of my travels. I only bought a small Rollei when I went to Morocco in 1977 and did not take it to India in 1978. It worked poorly when I went to Africa in 1980, and I finally swapped it for a Pentax SLR in Malaysia towards the end of 1981. I've looked out what I can.

I was influenced by the idea, I think from Theodore Rozsak, perhaps from The Making of a Counter Culture, that whenever you take a picture the one thing you don't see is what you are taking the picture of (because of the shutter). Where I did have a photograph I found my memory of the event influenced too strongly by the photograph, but luckily that is no longer so at this distance. I always found a camera awkward and distancing in those days. Few of the people I met travelling had cameras. What I did do was to use a notebook on occasions to describe in words what I saw around me and I have used these notes to quote from.

I've looked for the photographs of others to illustrate these memories. I've chosen those that have Creative Commons licences, from dates close to my visits, where possible. I trust I am doing this within the law and that some of the photographers may stumble upon their use in this blog.