Everywhere you would want to go to find yourself, get out of the big city life, and escape from the rat race (one of which I’m still holding out hope of seeing) you can find the Part-Time Hippy.
However, I think it is in India that the true mecca of travelling trousers and casual free spirits can be found. After all it was the place that actual hippies came to find spirituality, free love and peace within the great cloud of drugs and free thinking that rolled over the serene Goan coastlines in India in the 60’s and 70’s. While the true hippies have mostly packed up their ashrams and psychedelic paintings and decamped to even more remote places, ever increasing tourist hordes flock to get a piece of whatever trendy vibes are still left, so much so that it really does kind of spoil the serenity and purity that people were looking for in the 60s.
However, with a country awash with memories of a not so distant past and hundreds of tourists still thinking the hippy, free love lifestyle is something they need in their life, as spiritual healer or fashion accessory, there has been a huge increase in the Part-Time Hippy. While of course there really are those who affiliate themselves with the hippy lifestyle and do come to meet real spiritual healers to further their mindfulness, and make sure they still have some natural hope to look forward to, I can’t believe that the huge number of people who come really are fully fledged to the lifestyle.
In my opinion the Part-Time Hippy is someone who works a fairly well paid 9-5 office job, likes to hit the bars with work colleagues on a Friday, Thursday or sometimes even Wednesday night (leading to the rise of the ‘No Regrets Wednesday’ phrase), have a cheeky Nando’s or kebab and then doze off to Ed Sheeran played through their phones speaker to the pleasure or irritation of their uber driver. However, in an absolutely random moment of brilliance they decided that India and its spiritual qualities are what is needed to get them back down to earth, to heal their alcohol and coke habit and become a yogi master, pure right through to their soul.
After landing and making the slightly uncomfortable, I mean it is not uber lux is it, train journey to Goa via some of the cultural sites you pick up some garishly appropriate curtains passing themselves off as trousers and begin to think about growing dreads. As the days pass you begin to loathe shoes as the work of capitalist bastards who are just trying to steal money from our untainted soles (of our feet). With the rightist shackles thrown off you are on your way to becoming a free spirit, the blisters are just part of the healing process. Along with the cultural appropriation gray zone of a bindi, sarees, masses of hessian cloth, bangles and Henna you begin to collect a beautiful karma that Buddha himself would be proud of.
Finally you have removed yourself from the tourists constraints and have immersed yourself into the real people’s lifestyle. Your soul has been purified and you have made it an experience unlike anyone else’s. This may be a massive exaggeration and a little mean. However, the amount of people who cover themselves in apparently local patterned trousers and grow one dreadlock and walk around without shoes, trying to keep their head in the same position to give the illusion they actually float above everyone else, is huge. The patterns on all of the trousers have no place in Indian art and you definitely don’t see local people wearing anything like it. If anything they are quite annoying as the trousers don’t even have pockets. Yes they are quite cool but so are shorts or other trousers. Secondly the idea that it makes you look like you know what you’re doing and are a seasoned traveler is obscene. Wearing them is similar to to covering yourself in highlighter ink and making it very clear that while you might haggle you are still going to pay above what you should for anything. Also, trying to match and balance a bright orange patterned travelling pants with your range of uniqlo or primark shirts is just a really hard thing to get right.
If you do decide to go down the other route of holy man vibe with layers of fabric then perhaps this is the real deal. However, the nicer quality thicker material will probably just be a little much for someone not used to 30 degree heat all day. Sitting around in sheets of fabric that you can’t really remove will probably become a little sweaty, but I guess that’s all part of the look and mentality.
If this is your actual style then that is fine, but if you don’t feel comfortable wearing them back home in deepest darkest, spiritual Surrey then perhaps you too belong to the clan of the Part-Time Hippy. You may have repented your material ways in India, even swapping your clothes for garish floating sheets, but when you get back home, the oh so sweet thought of Macdonald’s saver range, after one too many drinks on a work night, will get you right back into your old groove.
While I’m sure I’m going to go down the path of free thought and traveling clothes and become a part-time hippy, for the time being I’m very happy wearing my primarani uniform.