Paulo Coelho's 'Hippie' Travel Tips

Posted by Cybil on September 20, 2018
hippie


Paulo Coelho's books have been translated into 80 languages and have sold more than 225 million copies in more than 170 countries. His 1988 novel, The Alchemist, has sold more than 65 million copies. In his new book, Hippie, he uses his own life as inspiration to tell the story of a young Brazilian man who wants to become a writer and sets off on a journey in search of a deeper meaning for his life: first on the famous "Death Train" to Bolivia, then on to Peru, later hitchhiking through Chile and Argentina.

In honor of the new book, Coelho is sharing his personal travel trips that he honed during his own 'hippie' phase.


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1. Avoid museums. This might seem to be absurd advice, but let’s just think about it a little: If you are in a foreign city, isn’t it far more interesting to go in search of the present than of the past? It’s just that people feel obliged to go to museums because they learned as children that traveling was about seeking out that kind of culture. Obviously museums are important, but they require time and objectivity—you need to know what you want to see there, otherwise you will leave with a sense of having seen a few really fundamental things, except that you can’t remember what they were.

2. Hang out in bars. Bars are the places where life in the city reveals itself, not in museums. By bars I don’t mean nightclubs, but the places where ordinary people go, have a drink, ponder the weather, and are always ready for a chat. Buy a newspaper and enjoy the ebb and flow of people. If someone strikes up a conversation, however silly, join in: you cannot judge the beauty of a particular path just by looking at the gate.

3. Be open. The best tour guide is someone who lives in the place, knows everything about it, is proud of his or her city, but does not work for an agency. Go out into the street, choose the person you want to talk to, and ask them something (Where is the cathedral? Where is the post office?). If nothing comes of it, try someone else—I guarantee that at the end of the day you will have found yourself an excellent companion.

4. Try to travel alone or—if you are married—with your spouse. It will be harder work, no one will be there taking care of you, but only in this way can you truly leave your own country behind. Traveling with a group is a way of being in a foreign country while speaking your mother tongue, doing whatever the leader of the flock tells you to do, and taking more interest in group gossip than in the place you are visiting.


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5. Don’t compare. Don’t compare anything—prices, standards of hygiene, quality of life, means of transport, nothing! You are not traveling in order to prove that you have a better life than other people—your aim is to find out how other people live, what they can teach you, how they deal with reality and with the extraordinary.

6. Understand that everyone understands you. Even if you don’t speak the language, don’t be afraid: I’ve been in lots of places where I could not communicate with words at all, and I always found support, guidance, useful advice, and even girlfriends. Some people think that if they travel alone, they will set off down the street and be lost forever. Just make sure you have the hotel card in your pocket and—if the worst comes to the worst—flag down a taxi and show the card to the driver.

7. Don’t buy too much. Spend your money on things you won’t need to carry: tickets to a good play, restaurants, trips. Nowadays, with the global economy and the Internet, you can buy anything you want without having to pay excess baggage.

8. Don’t try to see the world in a month. It is far better to stay in a city for four or five days than to visit five cities in a week. A city is like a capricious woman (or a capricious man, if you are a woman): she/he takes time to be seduced and to reveal him/herself completely.

9. A journey is an adventure. Henry Miller used to say that it is far more important to discover a church that no one else has ever heard of than to go to Rome and feel obliged to visit the Sistine Chapel with two hundred thousand other tourists bellowing in your ear. By all means go to the Sistine Chapel, but wander the streets too, explore alleyways, experience the freedom of looking for something—quite what you don’t know—but which, if you find it, will—you can be sure—change your life.

As an old hippie, I know what I’m talking about…


Comments Showing 1-25 of 25 (25 new)

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message 1: by Julia (new)

Julia I really love The Alchemist... I read it in grade 12 French class, and it really inspired me. I often reflect on its lessons as a guide for my own choices in life.


message 2: by Kirk (last edited Sep 20, 2018 10:05AM) (new)

Kirk Kittell
"The best tour guide is someone who [...] is proud of his or her city"


This is my favorite one. The people who are proud of their city will take you places you never would have heard of, introduce you to people you never would have met.


message 3: by Ellie (new)

Ellie Is the header photo of Paulo Coelho himself? Please say yes.


message 4: by Galadriel (new)

Galadriel Grace Ellie wrote: "Is the header photo of Paulo Coelho himself? Please say yes."
I am pretty sure it's a yes, some time ago though.


message 5: by Will (new)

Will Byrnes One of the fondest moments I had while traveling was in Paris, at a garden-variety restaurant. "This place looks good. Let's check it out." and having the best onion soup I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. Off-the-beaten-path should be a part of every travel adventure.


message 6: by Ventzi (new)

Ventzi Amazingly, this very closely matches my approach to travelling. ☺ Great advice!


message 7: by Penny (new)

Penny Will wrote: "One of the fondest moments I had while traveling was in Paris, at a garden-variety restaurant. "This place looks good. Let's check it out." and having the best onion soup I have ever had the pleasu..."

I had that in Italy. I saw locals going in and thought 'that's the one for me' and had the best Cabonara I've ever eaten!


message 8: by Tuula (new)

Tuula But I like museums! Also contemporary art ones - so it is not all about the past.


message 9: by Carlos (new)

Carlos Sebastian Olate Coelho, the fake hippie :P

The novelist recently had an awkward moment with the Spanish weekly XL Semanal. During an interview at his home in Switzerland, he was asked if one can really be a hippie while living a life of luxury. "It is the exterior, not the interior," he replied tensely. Apparently regretting his answer, Coelho then asked for the interview say: "Erase Everything!... to start again."

The complete interview (in spanish) here:

https://www.xlsemanal.com/personajes/...


message 10: by Vale (new)

Vale Olguin Carlos wrote: "Coelho, the fake hippie :P

The novelist recently had an awkward moment with the Spanish weekly XL Semanal. During an interview at his home in Switzerland, he was asked if one can really be a hippi..."


Gracias por compartir, me he divertido muchísimo con esa entrevista. A Paulo se le puede ver la elocuencia e ideales más parecidos a los de Kiyozaki que a los de Hemingway desde la primera oración que uno lee. El libro aparenta ser un intento desesperado llegarle a los millenials, parece que no se ha enterado de que existen vlogers con filosofías de vida más coherentes en Youtube xD


message 11: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Love this!


message 12: by Joanna (new)

Joanna Yikes - these travel tips are pretentious as hell. Yeah, pass.


message 13: by David (new)

David These tips are just as pretentious and empty as The Alchemist. Who woulda thunk it.


message 14: by Ayushya (new)

Ayushya Healthcare hi good articels for travel tips thank for sharing
Nursing hospitality Home services


message 15: by Tuula (new)

Tuula Never read any P.C. despite people trying to press them on me and this list of self-satisfied, self-evident hipster crap surely does not make me regret it.
- Be open: Really? Thanks! Never would have thought of it myself!
- Travel alone: Another good and fresh tip, or it was 50 years ago. In any case, great advice for people who are able bodied, speak some languages, have no small children with them and have adequate time. Also, what if you plan is to relax on the beach, reading crap literature? Surely sometimes people just need to unwind, and it is not a great sin.
- Keep hotel card with you, don't buy too much, don't try to cram in everything: advice you can see in any travel brochure. Also, buying some local produce you can be sure your money goes 100% to the artisan, if you keep an eye on that.
- Every journey is an adventure: another platitude.


message 16: by Silvia (new)

Silvia Noll Ellie wrote: "Is the header photo of Paulo Coelho himself? Please say yes."

Yes!


message 17: by David (new)

David Joanna wrote: "Yikes - these travel tips are pretentious as hell. Yeah, pass." I don't necessary think so. Anyone can travel alone (or with a spouse)-but few choose to do so. Most try to do group tours.


message 18: by David (new)

David Probably my favorite travel book is "Vagabonding" by Rolf Potts. Many of the suggestions are virtually the same (or similar) to Potts'.


message 19: by Barack (new)

Barack Obama UHHHHHH TOP FAVORITE BOOK I READ THIS SUMMER!!! VERY MUCH TOP QUALITY GO BRONCOS!!!


message 20: by Bing (new)

Bing Cosby Barack wrote: "UHHHHHH TOP FAVORITE BOOK I READ THIS SUMMER!!! VERY MUCH TOP QUALITY GO BRONCOS!!!"
LITERALLY THE MOST WORST BAD BOOK I DID READ! DONALD TRUMP WITH THE HELP OF OOMPA LOOMPAS CAN WRITE A BETTER BOOK THAN THIS TRASH CAN. 9/11 WAS A SHAM.


message 21: by Poorundewoo (new)

Poorundewoo precious hints about which I never thought earlier, but which make so much sense.


message 22: by Sangeeta (new)

Sangeeta Waiting for the book. Alchemist from him is still my all time fave. None other matched the simplicity. But I guess that's because the author evolved.


message 23: by Vale (new)

Vale Olguin Bing wrote: "Barack wrote: "UHHHHHH TOP FAVORITE BOOK I READ THIS SUMMER!!! VERY MUCH TOP QUALITY GO BRONCOS!!!"
LITERALLY THE MOST WORST BAD BOOK I DID READ! DONALD TRUMP WITH THE HELP OF OOMPA LOOMPAS CAN WRI..."


lol


message 24: by Holly (new)

Holly "A city is like a capricious woman (or a capricious man, if you are a woman): she/he takes time to be seduced and to reveal him/herself completely."

Being a woman does not mean one is attracted to men! Come on, now.


message 25: by Priyanka (new)

Priyanka Singh not visiting museum is a bad idea as visiting the past and watching the relation in future is a really great thing you will discover..i think you must visit the museum.


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