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The worst thing about hippies: they’re out there. Somewhere. And you can’t tell by looking at ‘em anymore.

Photo courtesy of hippies.

WHY DON’T ALL you damn hippies get a life?

Looking around, you don’t see many hippies these days. Sure, you see bellbottoms, tie-dyes and Birkenstocks – why not, they’re comfortable – but the people in them don’t consider themselves hippies.

They don’t live on communes. They’re skeptical about love being “free.” And though some will hug trees, you can’t make them do it for very long.


To the literal-minded observer, this is sheer chaos. How do you make sweeping judgments if you can’t go by appearances?

What’s wrong with these people? Did they miss orientation? Are imitation hippies worse than hippie hippies? Who’s counterfeiting hippies?

Shockingly, hippies aren’t not the only ones doing it wrong. It’s common to see baseball caps without baseball players under them. Biker jackets, in Buicks. Cowboy boots nowhere near the Range.

Even me – not only have I never been to Hawaii, I’m pretty sure my shirt hasn’t, either. I’m sure it’s the hippies’ fault we’re all so confused.

Hippies Ruin Pure Travel

The problem of knowing who’s a hippie and who’s just dirty is magnified when abroad. Travel is a grungy business – many of us leave our Armanis and Donna Karans at home.

The Hippie Movement was a vibrant exploration of repressed human nature – in a nutshell, they believed “all you need is love.”

By dressing comfortably, we lose the trappings of respectability and ethnocentrism, risking hippie contamination. We may even appear… unemployed (hippies love unemployment).

“Budget travel” and “relaxing” are travel trends that lead us to mix with “different” company – some “very” “different” “company” indeed.

The downward spiral begins innocently: You meet someone from another country, perhaps talk to them. You accept a bottle from a friendly young lady. You begin to notice aesthetics and music.

You voice opinions and express your personality. Soon you’ll quit your job at the bank, view foreign policy as important and accept anything natural without question.

You are now a hippie.

Damn the Hippie Swine!

Once, being a hippie was a political statement. The Hippie Movement was a vibrant exploration of repressed human nature – in a nutshell, they believed “all you need is love.”

They promoted avoiding violence and materialism. They wanted closer relations with nature and one another.

But the hippie movement showed us dangerous new dimensions as well: an empowered youth, bold artwork and music, and a bigger choice on the menu than blind obedience. Many hippies today are harmless, nothing more than walking fashion statements. For some though, the hippie ideal remains a lifestyle choice.

Even though many of them wash their hair, there is no question that young people today embrace the most dangerous element of the hippie attitude: the independent spirit to question authority.

The damage is incalculable.

What Makes Hippies Tick?

A hippie digging for marijuana. Photo by Hendrik Dacquin

Recent studies of hippies trapped in the wild confirm our deepest fears.

Hippies thwart global capitalism, scare children and cause pets to mess themselves. Hippies screw up the train schedule, pick on old ladies and fart in church.

They open the door to terrorists, the housing crunch and reality television. They foul the water supply. Hippies make policemen cranky. They promote male-pattern balding.

They disable psell check. Their music is… actually pretty good.

Aside from that, history shows meager reward from the hippie mindset (except that they eventually get older and own everything).

The worst thing about hippies: they’re out there. Somewhere. And you can’t tell by looking at ‘em anymore. Depending on how paranoid you are, they can be anywhere. Plotting. Scheming. Conspiring to undermine your Way of Life and gank your cheese. (Is “gank” a hippie word? Forget I said it.)

We Must Prepare

Perhaps it was Frank Zappa who said it best, when asked if he was a woman because he had long hair. He replied, “You have a wooden leg. Does that make you a table?”

How do we separate those contributing to society from fun-loving degenerates?

Or perhaps this is just a satanic riddle, since Mr. Zappa looked like and was no doubt a hippie. But since the interviewer was almost certainly not a table, there may be some wisdom here.

If we can’t tell hippies from traveling pseudo-hippies, how do we tell hippies from non-hip? How do we separate those contributing to society from fun-loving degenerates? How do you avoid being mistaken for one o’ them damn fashionably attired traveler hippies?

The key to sheltered travel is to avoid introspection at all costs. JUDGE EVERYONE.

Remain vigilant against friendly and open-minded people abroad. Refuse to lighten up or engage in anything unfamiliar – repeat: do not engage.

If temptation strikes, repeat this phrase: “I’m not from around here.” And, if you meet people of a foreign lifestyle, call them hippies and make obscene gestures at them.

Whether they are or not is irrelevant: you’ll feel all warm and powerful. After all, the whole point of travel is to reinforce your previous beliefs and stereotypes through perpetual distance.

Do you call yourself a budget traveler? If so, you’re hippie scum. Share your thoughts in the comments!

Activism + Politics


About The Author

F. Daniel Harbecke

F. Daniel Harbecke (just call him Daniel, the F's a family thing) is currently working on "A Philosophy of Travel" which envisions travel as a metaphor for the meaningful experience of life. Daniel has lived in Europe, South America and Asia and is trying to fund his tony lifestyle in Sweet Home Chicago.

  • Louise

    Hahaha OMG so funny.

  • Ian MacKenzie

    I totally knew hippies were behind my spellcheck woes. But reality television? I should have known…

  • Tim Patterson

    I like the photo of the hippie digging for marijuana.

    I had some issues with the tone of this piece while editing – it’s tongue-in-cheek, of course, but I thought it went overboard a bit, because it’s not as if there’s a big struggle between hippies and squares anymore – on the road or off.

    I’ve got friends who live off the grid, grow herb and don’t shower, and I’ve got friends who work for big investment banks in Manhattan and Tokyo. They all are cool, and they all get along.

    Like the tired tourist / traveler debate, this one feels like a false dichotomy.

    Though if you were trying to imitate Ann Coulter, Daniel, you did a fine job.

  • Daniel Harbecke

    A few weeks ago, some unit left this comment to an article on BNT:

    “stop mooching off your friends, settle down and start contributing to society.”

    It’s beyond vacuous, it’s just ugly stupid. Or stupid ugly. I dunno, it just made me angry. Where does this guy come from? Where does Ann Coulter come from?

    I’m sick to death of the polarizing and the Us and Them and all the nonsense from trying to change or erase people.

    I wanted to take the anti-attitude and turn it up to eleven. I wanted to show how asinine it becomes, and that the best way to push back against ignorance of this sort is to laugh at it.

    Most folks are just trying to get along with each other. When someone starts pointing at some group as the cause of all our problems, it’s nonsense! Just like this article.

  • T

    this one confused me a good deal and agree with the above it went a bit far. perhaps the next article should be “Online Writers Are Journalistic Scum”? (kidding of course)

  • Ian MacKenzie

    I enjoyed this article so much because of the way you came at this issue from a unique angle – using the rant to expose the “asinine” nature of such arguments. The truth is that for many critics, your tone/argument isn’t that far off. But by “turning it up to 11″ you’ve written a wry satirical read. Great job!

  • N. Chrystine Olson

    Humor is the best way to expose the absurdities of our prejudices and I think this piece is a great example. Rather Mark Twain of you…..from another quirky, “off the grid” sort who uses a first initial to keep the peace in her own clan.

  • AJC7323

    Frank Zappa was not a hippie, He didn’t like hippies and often satirized/made fun them. Great Research.

  • Daniel Harbecke

    I know Zappa wasn’t a hippie, but thanks.

    Judging by appearances? Satire? Hallooo?

  • Vonda Ellis

    Very funny! And, unlike a couple of others, I get it. Satire and sarcasm are hard to pull off in more than a couple of sentences, so good job! Keep ‘em coming!
    I especially loved blaming them for male-pattern baldness (from long hair envy, do you think?) and that when hippies get older they own everything! LOL

  • Carlo

    Me=budget traveler=hippie scum (but for the moment I am underground, infiltrating the corporate world in business slacks and a dress shirt – they don’t suspect a thing!). That title made me so mad I had to click on it…but this article is hilarious! Nice work in sucking me in.

  • Daniel Harbecke

    Chrystine: Thanks! Have you ever read Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”? My senior high English class did: and we were livid. How could Swift actually support cannibalism? Eating Irish children? My god, what a monster… And then Ms. Castle dropped the bomb: it was satire. Some students felt they had been tricked. Some thought it was funny as hell in this new light. I had little cartoon hearts floating around my head….

    Vonda: re: male-pattern balding – let’s just say I can no longer pass for a hippie. Dammit….

    Carlo: Gotcha! BTW, if you’ve infiltrated the Establishment, you’re ready for Phase II. Bring some Phish CDs in and offer to share them, or tune the Muzak in the bathroom to classic rawwwwwk. Anarchy! Rip the system! Viva la revoluccion! Phase III involves Che Guevara and pestering Human Resources. We’ll talk later.

  • BJG

    I hope you were joking when you wrote this….it’s kind of hard to tell sometimes online.

  • Daniel Harbecke

    Sad but true. Though even if I were serious, it’d still be absurd.

  • Gregory

    Hey! I object. I have lived the Hippie life since 1969, when I was a 9-year-old American expat drummer for the rock band of the first commune in France. We were as good as a French rock band can be!

    And when the other generous hippies gave me hash brownies, they first stashed away their food in order to “live on a budget” while waiting for their the next installment on their trust fund from their greedy capitalist parents who did not know what to do with the money. I came across this same great generousity of spirit at Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass, where my parents (hippies) were teaching wealthy hippie children (mostly Marxists) on how to live frugally on their cocaine-overloaded budgets…

    I came to love this form of honest budget immersion travel… And the hippies did not turn out at all like their parents. Not at all.

  • N. Chrystine Olson

    Daniel…I went to a very eclectic, dare I say “hippie” high school with more rigorous academic standards than any other school public or private. Brilliant English teacher had us read “A Modest Proposal” in my junior year. Being from a long line of mid-western smart asses I’m happy to say I got it pretty early into the book. Seems satire is getting rare in these days where reality shows eliminate the need.

  • Captain Oddsocks

    Brilliant! I’m with Carlo and Vonda: Great job-keep ‘em coming!

    Bit surprising that some people didn’t seem to “get it”. I wonder if they read right to the end..!?

  • OasisNick

    Great piece – very funny. Now subscribed, I hope to smile as much as I did at this.

    (Glad you qualified that you knew Mr Zappa wasn’t a hippie though)

  • Tammy

    Wonderful tongue-in-cheek piece. Funny, funny, funny. A needed bit of humor for the ‘all too serious’ clan. Come on people…lighten up!

  • kath

    This is what I have aspired to my whole life. I can’t wait to have my tee shirt made that says ” Hippie Scum” on it! Thanks for the laugh!

  • Brian

    Yes, I agree. I belong to the Children of the Sixties and very proud of that because we had ideals, something that most people today will not understand. We thought we could change the world, we could end violence, we could establish an era of peace and love. Sad that most of us have forgotten those ideals. Most readers here have problems with your piece because
    1. They didn’t read your piece right through or didn’t understand it.
    2. They never travelled budget.

    I’ve been a budget traveller for 8 years in Asia because it’s the best way to travel if you want to learn the culture. Some of my more conservative friends wanted to travel with me (they thought it would make good dinner jokes) but after a couple days they said, “You have to be either mad or dirt poor, or both, to travel like this.” They wanted the a/c coaches, porters, the 5* hotels but wanted to pay Rs 20 for it – “because it’s budget India.” I get attitude from people who think I’m stupid because I want to live in a village. They say, “Oh, he’s going native. Hehehe.”
    They want the cool spots, whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, trance parties. There IS a dividing line between tourists and travellers and although we all range up and down that spectrum, I think we know where we basically belong on that scale. And the line isn’t blurring as Tim Patterson thinks. Yes I have conservative friends at home, but on the road we don’t travel or think the same way. I don’t think you “turned it up over the top.” That attitude is alive and kicking, maybe not in St Moritz, but definitely in Asia.

    • Gar

      Do conservatives have friends? I thought they just had associates.

  • Mary Jane

    This was absolutely hysterical. BRILLIANTLY written
    Fucking made my day

  • Bookling

    HILARIOUS!!! I love this. It’s a satire of Ann Coulter conservative screed-style writing but could just as easily be a satire of budget travelers who complain about richer tourists mucking everything up. (While I might agree with that sentiment, I’ve also heard that story a million times…) Really, this article pokes fun at any person blaming a group of Others for their problems… As Frank Zappa’s band once sang, “We are the other people. You’re the other people, too.” Loved the article. A+!!

  • deb

    i think that's the point.

  • Chad Barnes

    Please pardon tardiness – just joined Matador.

    "I belong to the Children of the Sixties and very proud of that because we had ideals, something that most people today will not understand."

    Sorry, but wasn't it a LACK of ideals that in the end sank the hippie movement? The fact that most of said individuals, at least the ones who came later on, had little aspiration and were simply looking to get their hands on some Owsley acid. Flocking to Haight-Ashbury in numbers desperately wanting to wear Day-Glo paint and write Beautiful People Letters, emulating a lifestyle rather than a mentality.

    What's harder to understand, an ideal itself, or that people can have them?

  • Chad Barnes

    dear F. Daniel,

    take it from a good friend of mine, a one Julian Noble, who is not only a devout Christian but also an exceptionally proud farter: if you're going to pass gas in church, make damn sure the pew is wooden and push with all your might.

    this friend is currently "backpacking" in south america, not surprising when a good reader considers spanish conquests, the subsequent building of catholic god houses, and the excellent acoustics with which they are constructed. he has a mustache, long greasy hair, and wears Salomon trail runners almost daily. he seems the perfect candidate, an assumption i'm sure you would agree with. however, are you sure you're naming discussed degenerates correctly? could they in fact be the hippies younger, evil twin…The Hipsters?

  • OverlandSi

    Oh crap – I quit my job, so I could travel more – I feel that foreign policy is important, I haven't had a haircut in months and I love my Brikenstocks. When did this happen to me, why? I used to be so respectable, with suits and shoes with laces in them!!

    I never noticed it, but now I am a true hippy – here to thwart your world mwahaha! (Haven't made the step to any religion yet but somebody commented on my blog that my views were Buddhist, oh bollocks. I'm already fully there)

    I shall now leave my pc and go and dance round the maypole.

    Goodbye cruel commercial world

    Overland Si

  • appleseed024

    hahaha….they "fart in church"… that really made me laugh

  • Pia

    Haha this is ridiculously funny!
    I’d have to say by your definition i’m a scummy hipy then…
    This was funny though :p! And so is the person OverlandSi’s comment.

  • bkachaksb

    Haha, nice one…. hippie digging for marijuana

  • valerie

    Ya’ll need to relax and lighten up. It’s all done in good humor. Very funny, Daniel. As a woman who was hippie scum in a previous incarnation (about 15 yrs ago), I had to laugh out loud. I don’t wear tie-dyes or birkenstocks anymore, but people still know I’m a hippie, damnit. It must be in the eyes.

  • JonVee

    Love it. My 12 y.o. had texted recently on my character intimating that I was the first,
    “Yes correct definition for hippie
    hippie-one who acts in outlandish ways compared to others
    hipster- one in act sleeps in ones doorway”
    This he noted after enlightening him to the recently deceased Mandelbrot.

  • joshuaTHEhippey

    er hey man ……i still love you..

  • a.


  • Ronuclus1

    Aww- go fuck yourself

  • Southern Belle

    This is the dumbest article on travel I’ve ever seen. It’s supposed to snarky humor but it’s not funny in anyway.  If one travel travels on a budget, that doesn’t mean they’re hippies. 

  • marcos

    Daniel Harbecke you have no idea what you are talking about

  • Soulstealingwriter

    I find it sad that so many people actually think you are bashing traveling. I would even bet that most of them got halfway through the article, skipped the author bio, and posted their hate filled messages her… In essence judging the author in the same way he “judged” hippies.
    Come on people, wake up. Learn.

  • dirtyhippie101

    love it. as a recent bank job quitting globe trotter this plays on all the silly insecurities i have felt at one point or another and had to resist and stop myself from indulging. 

  • Smrtym3

    Wow I love this artical. It’s hilarious and completely true. I LOVE the condescending truth. Props to Mr. Harbecke.

  • Lisa

    LOL! I haven’t laughed so hard in a while! LOVE it! forwarding to friends. perhaps some didn’t catch your subtle and not-so-subtle sarcasm throughout.

  • Shhimsleepy

    i agree with southern belle. this article is pure trash

  • not moon unit

    Please tell the (now deceased) Frank Zappa that he is/was a hippie and see how he reacts to that one.

    Frank Zappa was a brilliant composer who refused all drugs and alcohol, didn’t allow his musicians to improvise, and wrote a lot of scathing songs about feckless hippies.

    Also, this wasn’t very funny.

  • Lukas

    I am going to assume most of this is some form of humor.
    I don’t know. With a lack of body language and voice pitch its actually all up for debate.

    Either way. I’m a budget traveler. Proud of it :)

  • Jill

    Is this article meant to be satiric? I hope so!

  • wow

    wow this is the worst article i have ever read i feel sorry for Daniel harbecke he is obviously in the wrong job
    it is a one sided argument which doesnt make sense
    its more like and idiots guide to preventing a hippie takeover
    my guess is he is around 14 years old?

    • Marianne

      You clearly missed the point.

    • Chilosa162

      You’re the person that would’ve thought Jonathan Swift truly believed the Irish should eat their excess children. 

  • Marianne

    Thanks for this great read and good laugh Daniel! I loved it. Keep them coming. 

  • Marianne

    Typo: “hippies aren’t not” Aah, the editor in me coming out :) Great article, highly amusing. I love your writing, other articles are great as well. It is unfortunate that some people seem to have missed the point of the article, but I guess there will always be those who do not understand. 
    Keep up the great work. 

  • Coleen Monroe

    Man, doesn’t anyone know sarcasm anymore? Sad day. 

    Fantastic article. I just got back from six months traveling in South America and am noticeably more hippy than before. And I obviously relish my dirtiness and homemade clothes and hair wrap. And I’m a broke backpacker hippy scum budget traveler. Woot!

  • Tom

    haha judging by some of the comments no one picked up the sarcasm. A+ article Daniel.

  • Sandrahudgens

    All one can do is laugh at the hilarity, whilst feeling a bit misanthropic!

  • Alana

    A very interesting approach to this article, well done friend. You actually got around to some high-level trolling, and for such I commend you. Thanks!

  • Mydecembre87

    SATIRE!!!! Look it up before you post a judgmental and ignorant comment. I think he definitely proved his point. Well done.

  • OrangeSkies

    I am a hippie among many other things I label myself and I LOVE your article.  Maybe because I understand sarcasm.  Nice job.

  • Gar

    I’m an old hippy that skated a fine line between being a fun-loving degenerate and contributing to society all my life. I finally contributed enough to society to retire and live the hippy dream – I’m a backpacking, budget traveling hippy and proud of it. And I don’t have dirty hair. I don’t have hair.

    Good article. Fine sense of humor. Keep on, keeping on.

  • Brietta Perez

    I have to say, my favorite part of this article is the photograph and acknowledgment, “Photo courtesy of hippies.” Sometimes, it’s the little touches.



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