Overland On The Hippie Trail by @LFarmerWrites is a Snuggle Up Readathon Pick #travel #adventure #ro
Title: Overland On The Hippie Trail
Author: Larry Farmer
Genre: Travel Adventure Romance
It was a new age, one called the Age of Aquarius, with a restless, ideological generation full of a reverence for new worlds opening up to new ideas. When the Beatles introduced the mystique of India to pop culture, the Hippie Trail was established as hip adventurers traveled overland from Europe to Kathmandu and India. Hunter was not among these hipsters. Still bitter over the way he was treated as a Marine combat veteran home from the Vietnam War, he felt the allure of the open road in America and in Europe. While getting visas in Vienna, he came across a Polish girl, Ewa, whose Politburo father got her unequal privileges she gladly abused to join Hunter on the trek to India to check out the new-age ashrams. Shared experiences and hardships bonded them, but Cold War politics made falling in love the worst hardship of all.
Ewa stared at me as if digesting all I had just said. She turned away momentarily in thought before sipping again on her soup.
Finally she said, “Yes, Hunter, there you go. To this exciting life you have. You have done so much, and now you have more you will do. I so envy you. I am looking to study here in Wien. Music. I love music, and this is the soul of music. The classic, I mean. Even the waltz. In this city of dreams, as they call it.”
She let out a long, protracted sigh as she looked at me square in the eyes.
“Dreams, Hunter. Did you know they call Wien the city of dreams?”
I shook my head.
“They do. And do you know why? Because of Sigmund Freud. This great thinker. And now suddenly I do not want to study music anymore. I want to see the world. Like you. You make everything seem so easy and exciting. Like poof. You just go and do things.”
“Do you have a scholarship or something?” I asked her. “I don’t know much about Poland, but how can you just leave it? I thought everything was so closed there. It’s Communist, Warsaw Pact, and so strict. And money. It’s so expensive here. How can you afford to live here, much less study here?”
“How can I afford it?” She mused. “Yes, of course, how can such a closed society, a worker’s paradise, and someone gets to come to the great Wien and study music? I must tell you something first, Hunter. I can afford it if I live cheaply. Like in this hostel, even though I have my own room. I want to be honest with you. You are so honest with me. So free with me about your life. How can I afford it? My father owns, maybe that is not the word, the state owns everything. My father is the chief of the largest construction company in Poland. I am not of the proletariat, Hunter. That is nonsense about the proletariat. It is so complicated in my country. What did it say in the story Animal Farm. This novel about my country. Or like my country, not Poland itself, I think. Written by George Orwell. I am not supposed to read such propaganda against the great worker’s paradise that my country is. Or is supposed to be. But when I leave to come to places like Wien, that’s exactly what I read. What did it say in this novel called Animal Farm? Everyone is equal.”
“Except that,” I interrupted her with a sly grin, “some are more equal than others.”
“Completely this, Hunter. I love my country, Hunter. And I love my father. But I am Polish. But not my father’s Poland. Not Russian puppet Poland. I grew up atheist. But no one is really atheist in the Soviet Bloc because the state is god. But inside of me now I am Catholic and free. Free inside. I am not so religious Catholic. I am political Catholic. And also like you explained about being a Jew last night. How you do not must be religious to be of this group, this tribe as you called it last night. The tribe of Jew. I am like from tribe of Catholic. Even if I am not fully religious. Poland is Catholic, and this is my tribe. It is like this karma I hear about. How in Poland we tormented the Jews and now it is we Catholics that are treated so. I am Catholic Polish now, not Russian Polish. I am grateful for the privileges from my father’s position. But Hunter, I am a free woman. Polish and free. And I love our new Polish pope, John Paul II. I am so proud to be Polish and free.”
She looked piercingly at me. Determined and confident, the last of her shyness gone.
“I do not have to study immediately, Hunter. Now I want to wait to study. I must arrange things first. For my new dreams. It will be difficult, but I can do it. I have friends at our embassy. Perhaps they tell my father, but I can talk to him. Here is what I want to say to you now. Can you stay in Wien until I get my visas? I can arrange visas to these countries where you are going. I have a special passport. Like diplomat. Special favor for me, the more equal Polish. Can you take me with you? Does this idea shock you?”
I didn’t answer, but showed concern.
“I want to go with you, Hunter. I will be a good companion to you. I like that you are big and experienced and an American Marine. I feel safe with you in these dangerous places for me. With you and my special connections, I will be a good companion to you if you take me with you. Is that all right with you? Will you do that for me?”
Slowly, a smile spread on my face. This was the greatest idea alive, so I nodded.
“Yes, Ewa, I would love for you to go with me. I don’t have much money and will have to travel cheap and don’t want to live off of you. We will have to take crowded buses and trains and sleep in bad hostels in poor countries. You can take a couple of dresses with you, but you need more durable clothes. Blue jeans and flannel.”
“That’s what I want. To wear rough clothes and to travel like a real person. I have friends I can leave my other belongings with here in Wien. But I have money. I hope you do not mind. I will not spend it. I will live cheap like you do. But I have money. I do not just want to see the world. I want to live the world. With you, Hunter. With someone like you.”
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
Amazon – as paperback, audiobook and ebook: https://www.amazon.com/Overland-Hippie-Trail-Larry-Farmer/dp/1509219587
The Wild Rose Press: https://www.thewildrosepress.com/books/overland-on-the-hippie-trail
November is a time to be thankful. What are you most thankful for this year?
Fall weather, Thanksgiving, family, and football.
Why is your featured book worth snuggling up to?
There is adventure in Hunter’s world. It excites the girl he just met in Vienna as he attains his visas to cross Western Asia to get to India overland. Ewa has privileges others in Communist Poland don’t have. That’s how she got to Vienna to study music to begin with. Privileges being the daughter from a powerful politburo hierarchy got her. She knows going with Hunter on this trek is abusing even that power, but she cannot resist this chance. Just as she cannot resist her attraction to Hunter, the American. The feeling of fate allures her. As it does Hunter. What better fate is there to tempt in fact?
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I was born and raised in Harlingen on the border with Mexico on the southern tip of Texas, near the Gulf of Mexico. I was raised with old school values on a cotton farm. After high school I went to Texas A&M and was in the Corps of Cadets there. I quit in the middle of my senior year to join the Marines in the hope of going to Vietnam. I also served in the Peace Corps in The Philippines. I travelled around the world between these two events in my life and saw enough to need to relate it. I worked for eleven years in Switzerland. I married there and raised two of my three children there. I now work for Texas A&M. And finally have time to reflect on my life and its meaning. And write about it.
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