Thursday, June 29th, 2017

I’ve Officially Become a Hippie.


If you’ve traveled any backpacker trail, you know the uniform: harem pants, bracelets galore, dreadlocks, souvenir t-shirts featuring local beers.

I swore that I would never look like that, never dress like that.

Then Cambodia happened.

It started on my first day.  After visiting the Killing Fields, I bought a bracelet made of Cambodian wood with a silver bead on it.  Wearing it on my wrist served as a reminder of how incredible the Khmer people  are to have survived unspeakable tragedy.

The next day, I bought a krama — a giant checked multi-use scarf that virtually all Khmers wear.  Mine was black and white.

And then I needed a few t-shirts, so I went to the market…and I saw some hippie pants for sale. Purple, wide-legged, layered and loose, with a bell-studded belt on top.

Yes, I swore I would never wear hippie pants, that they would look terrible on me…but I couldn’t resist.

I tried them on.

Turns out that hippie pants are one of the most comfortable things you could possibly wear. Ever. Flush with new infatuation, I immediately bought a second pair.

Then the items started adding up.  An “I Love Cambodia” tank top.  An Angkor Beer t-shirt.  And when I got to Sihanoukville, all hell broke loose — I was suddenly covered in bracelet after bracelet.

On my wrist: the bracelet with the wooden beads, plus an armful of embroidered bracelets from Sihanoukville.  If ever you see a backpacker with an armful of these, you know he or she spent some time on the beach in Snooky, getting talked into wearing more and more of them by the most adorable kid vendors!

On my feet: dirt from visiting the temples of Angkor, a purple pedicure from the beach in Sihanoukville, sandals bought out of necessity in Siem Reap — and ANKLETS.  When was the last time you saw someone wear an anklet?

Makeup?  Ever since I lost my eyeliner, I haven’t bothered, really.  Earrings?  Haven’t worn a single pair since Ao Nang — the first time.

And the strangest thing is that I actually really like this look.  A lot.


Cambodia, you’ve turned me into a total hippie.  I promise I won’t start growing dreadlocks or give up my razor.  Now, THAT would be serious.

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41 Responses to “I’ve Officially Become a Hippie.”
  1. Ha! That’s hilarious. My preppy sister and her couldn’t-be-preppier, Virginia-bred boyfriend went to Cambodia on their RTW trip earlier this year, and while they didn’t become as hippified as you, I was the recipient of similar bracelets and some truly awesome cloth headbands that make me feel ever-so-slightly hippie.

  2. Dude, you look fantastic. And being a dirty crunchy hippie myself, I’ve got to say, I fully support the new aesthetic.

  3. Amanda says:

    Haha! You hippie, you! Actually though, you look great as a hippie! And I kind of love those pants…. They look so comfy!

  4. Rick Jones says:

    Thank god im a dude 😉


  5. Aaaw, I think you look great as a hippy. I have an orange tie-dye hippy pants, now THAT would look horrible on me. What was I thinking? And I reallly like the look of that wooden bracelet too!

  6. sexy!

    When’d you get a tan?

  7. Laurence says:

    My dreadlocks are a year old today, and I think the hippie vibe pretty much runs through and through. I blame my parents personally 😉 I love the locks, but have to say, they are a load more effort to maintain than you would think! Have a great 2011 and enjoy your travels 🙂

  8. Alouise says:

    My mom used to tell me “never say never.” Anyways I think you’re rocking the hippie/traveler chic look very well. I’d love to be able to wear harem pants, beer shirts, and sandals… but in Canada in winter, it’s not gonna happen.

  9. Nomadic Matt says:

    You’ve become the hippie backpacker!!!!!!!!

  10. No dreads!!! Nothing worse than a white person with dreadlocks. Bleh.

  11. Jack says:

    That nose piercing is going to complete the look Kate…

  12. Janelle says:

    I think it’s really the tan that makes the whole look! So jealous! Please keep your razor you don’t have to completely conform. This takes me back to the beach in Rome…I have never seen more body hair in my life!
    Happy New Year, Kate! Xoxo

  13. Connie says:

    It happens to the best of us! I was going around India and Thailand in baggy hemp pants and tie dye shirts. That stuff just appeals to the traveler because they’re so darn comfortable! It’s all just a part of the travel experience. But don’t you even THINK about getting dreadlocks sometime in the future! =)

  14. Shannon says:

    Happy new year, Kate! You look so tan and COMFY! I am jealous of your pants. They look awesome on you! And I dig all the bracelets, too, especially the wooden one with the silver bead. On a trip like yours, I’m not surprised that this is the type of preferred garb. Cheers!

  15. AudreyDez says:

    I like the outfit! Specially the black bracelet! But yes please, no dreadlocks!! It’s TOO hippie. And they’re not easy to wash, so that’s a bit disgusting…Not always, but I’ve seen too much people not taking care of them and it was so…ewww

    Anyway, Happy New Year Kate, hope you had a great time celebrating it in Bangkok!! I wish for you only the best, but most of all, more crazy adventures for you!:) I loved reading you in 2010 and hope 2011 will be even better!

  16. Comfort is a great thing, hippie lady! Embrace it 😉 Just don’t act like a hippie and you’ll be fine.

  17. haha nice work Kate, you couldn’t really visit asia and not pickup a few t-shirts and the like anyway

  18. Matt says:


    That is all. 🙂

  19. Pete says:

    God damn, those pants look comfortable. It’s like they’re straight from a bad 80s rap video. As a guy, I don’t think I’d get away with wearing them though. Perhaps if they came in a different colour!

    Loving your hippyness. 🙂

  20. Poi says:

    I was exactly the same no chance of me wearing baggie trousers and beer t-shirts… and then i realised that the hippie pants just feel like pjs! – So I’m now a convert too!
    It’s something about South East Asia!

  21. Bethany says:

    awww. Kate – it’s always good to embrace in the inner hippie. Esp. for us black jacket wearing Bostonians. 🙂

  22. jill says:

    you look fab and i love the ankle and wrist bobbles. hippie pants are comfy, that’s why we love them so. love the new relaxed look. miss you too,. Love Aunty

  23. Laura says:

    Love it! I had my hippie moments in Cambodia as well because I couldn’t resist these cute little kids selling bracelets to pay for their English school! (And the hair in braids thing lasted for a month in Africa). Those pants look fab!

  24. DougFressh says:

    Funny, I think that this sort of transformation is inevitable. My tour around Oz saw me go from a well groomed, fresh smelling upstanding young man, to a long haired, unshaven sarong wearing, bare foot beach bum. It was mostly born out of necessity, it was hot, my toiletry bag was stolen, sandals broke… I think it’s due to becoming more outwardly focused.

  25. Cristine says:

    You are a gorgeous hippie! I love your hair…and sun-kissed skin! 🙂

  26. Kate,!

    I lived in Antigua, Guatemala for two years. I worked, had a job, was friends locals and foreign locals, and I wore ‘normal’ clothes. I would watch backpackers come through and think “Don’t they know their just wearing a traveler uniform, and they are not original at all?” “Why do they have to look like such hippies?”. I thought these things with disdain, disrespect. I judged.

    Fast forward 7 years and I am now backpacking with Dani through all the same places. You know what I did in December? I bought traveler pants, cotton capri pants. And you know what? They were so comfortable, I bought another pair not two weeks later. They are black, not huge and purple, etc, but I am wearing traveler pants like I swore I never would. I’ve never been more comfortable. Yeah, and we’ve both got the bracelet thing going on.

    Here’s to a dreadlock-free 2011, Kate! But if you get them, you have to tell us now, you hippie 🙂

  27. Andi says:

    I love the look, embrace it & rock it!!!!!!!!

  28. travelpology says:

    I love it! Your hair rocks. Embrace the hippie look while you can. 😉

  29. Cailin says:

    If I were you I would probably give the dreadlocks a try….. haha

  30. Ann says:


    I know that feeling too well,
    i always transform too when travelling.

    great post,


  31. Lu says:

    Hmm interesting. I never buy any bracelets as I am not into wearing any kind of jewelry except my wed ring.
    But clothes I get. I did not get to Cambodia yet, but I did get Massai blanket in Kenya as I was cold camping.
    and I could not resist african style sarong which is the most versitile thing ever. Even more than asian type.

  32. Marteen says:

    LOVE THIS POST. I just got back from Thailand. I packed three pairs of shoes, so much make up, hair accessories etc. I ended up pretty much wearing a bathing suit, harem pants and flip flops the entire time. I didn’t pull out my make up bag or hair brush once. Lesson learned.

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