The Hippies of South America

I’m on a fairy hunt.. and I see Sarah as one of them. She’s a brave Canadian who’s roots are Asian yet spirits are from elsewhere. ^_^ She worked in super yacts, volunteered in hostels, and has become an actress at some point. All these she does for the love of travel.

This little lady is awesome according to my book of life. So I let her share stories in this website… i don’t necessarily encourage you to quit your job to travel like what Sarah did. But for those of you with brave souls, here’s a member of your tribe.


It’s Sarah, on another chapter of her life. I quit my job (again) to pursue and go somewhere far (again). This time I find myself in South America. It’s not because I hated my last job, I just needed a long break from workaholics and those who are in a constant bad mood. In this journey of mine, I met some very interesting, common yet unstructured, ingenious, free spirited, friendly, chatty, etc people on the road – the hippies of South America.

sarah tang in south america

One might probably define hippies as these dirty beggars without a penny to their name, hitchhiking around the planet. Maybe you’d think they have these bohemian style dress code with dreadlocks that swing back and forth like ropes on a boat. I don’t think it applies to every hippie, and it’s hard to generalise as they are not a tribe, not a cult, not a religion, but more like a community of free floaters, flowing around the globe and choosing a life that they want. Can you imagine quiting your job, selling all your things, kissing your family and friends goodbye, and start travelling for the sake of travelling? I am very sure they can.

So back to the topic. What makes the hippies in South America so different and capturing? For one, my hippie friends here dont’t have a lot of money, maybe even without money. However, they are not free loaders and definitely do not beg for money and never with a sign saying “need money to travel”. Instead, most of them have some skills to add to their name, such as making these beautiful designs of friendship bracelets, selling and making crystals and wired crystal ornaments, juggling in crosswalks or the plaza, baking and selling bread, rolling truffle balls to sell, wovening dream captures, etc. My favourite is when they busk and sing traditional South American songs on the street, in buses, and in restaurants. I loved it so much, I went to join my hippie friends’ band for a few days restaurant hopping and busking. And in every tourist city, should a hippie or a traveller without much of a skill needs money, there will be some badly printed sign outside a restaurant looking for a waiter(ress), cook and cleaner. I got my job as a cleaner/ waitress that way! That’s how they make money and support themselves. That’s how they can continue to live their travelling life. That’s how they are not a burden to the population or to the government or to anyone.

I forgot to mention, I started with zero foundation of Castellana (Latin American Spanish) and my various beloved friends here were very persistent to teach me Spanish, as they spoke almost no English. As for sleeping? Most of them own a tent. I don’t know how budget tight are you when you travel, but should I need the cheapest recommendation for a place to sleep, you bet I would ask the first hippie type of person on the street for that.

In this community without borders, I have felt very welcomed and very happy to share my time with them. As a traveller, be it hippies or just a regular traveller, we travel and learn by sharing informations. I will forever remember their genuine smile, their hospitality, and their lessons in sharing all they have.


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