on the overland hippy trail

I giggle each time I look at this picture taken in 1974. Hot, bedraggled, run-down, bed-bug-bitten, financially challenged, traveling light, clothes-in-need-of-a-wash, young people on the adventure of our lives. Although it doesn't look like it, this is actually local transport, not a tourist bus. There is one Afghan in this sea of Caucasian faces - the bearded man at the very back. The rest of the locals sat up the front. We all soon scattered on reaching our destination.

Roadside repairs on this lovely old Mercedes bus loaded to the gunwales. Other stops were for midday prayers in the middle of the desert. The bus was taking us from the Iran border to Herat, Western Afghanistan.

Traveling overland on local transport instead of being plonked down into the midst of a different culture from the air, makes you realise how meaningless and artificial borders can be. There is in fact a blurring of peoples and cultures across land borders. Things change less dramatically than a line on a map would suggest and sometimes these differences can take days to unfold. Sad to think that a little line on a piece of paper can cause so much conflict and pain.
  or continue the journey