These absurd photos of young travelers on the ‘Hippie Trail’ raise a lot of questions
Rian Dundon

My husband travelled to these destination in his youth during this era and I can assure you his photos are nothing like these. He was respectful of these cultures and even taught English and Electronics in Iran. His experiences led him to eventually join the foreign service and he served in hardship posts as well as non-hardship posts for 30 years. I also took my “back-pack journey” in the 80s as a single woman. My daughters have both travelled in study abroad programs and independent travel and were respectful and open to the cultures they encountered. My point is that, yes there are and were “ugly westerners” who behave “badly” when they travel, but there are far more who have learned from the experience and have grown in knowledge and respect for our global community of man. These individuals like my husband, myself and my family have a much broader understanding of our world. This effects the way we vote, the way we consume, and the way we care for our fellow humans. These individuals are in a much better position to become leaders than those who isolate themselves from the reality that is our world. Ask any climate change denier if they have ever travelled to Beijing (and not during the Olympics when they cleaned up their air by stopping all factory production and enforcing alternate day use of automobiles). Ask any anti-vaccination protester if they have worked in a medical clinic in the Congo (as I did in 2009). The answer will be 100% no. So call it what you want, the “Hippie Trial” or the “Road Less Travelled” foreign travel opens ones heart, mind and soul.

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