Suspected Hippie in Transit: Sex, Drugs, Rock ’n’ Roll and the Search for Higher Consciousness on the International Trail, 1971–1977, Volume I
by Martin Frumkin
Balsam Press

"Conscious and unconscious intrigues make travel richly rewarding and entertaining—the joy and dance and song of life."

Author Frumkin whisks the reader back to the early ‘70s to explore his journey on “the international hippie trail,” a popular coming-of-age rite in the “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” era. Told mostly in an epistolary fashion through his diary excerpts as he ranges through Asia—from Istanbul, Tehran, Kabul, Delhi, Benares, Kathmandu, and beyond—the text is rich in both perceptive, articulate writing and a sophisticated though youthful grasp of political and cultural underpinnings of both East and West. A more reflective narrative from a present viewpoint or a fleshing out of a few overly lean, mostly physically rooted observations might have been welcome. However, the author explains that he deliberately resisted attempts to modify his thoughts, no matter how he might feel today about the entries. Fortunately, both his writings and recollections are still remarkably sensitive and introspective.

Frumkin's book is hard to put down despite any editorial issues and serves as a paean to the Be Here Now ethos of Ram Dass that inspired so many Western youngsters and adults alike to explore consciousness and culture from the perspective of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, and other Asian philosophies. Those who took this journey from an armchair, the meditation cushion, or under the influence of psychedelics rather than risking the actual physical journey will be among Frumkin’s appreciative readership. Whether he’s struggling with ashram life, altitude sickness, food poisoning, or reveling in a party-like atmosphere with other Westerners, the author brings his considerable talents as a writer to chronicling his 1970s trips through the vastly diverse cultures of Asia with the wide variety of fellow travelers and residents that he encountered along the way.

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