It has been a long time since I last got round to a newsletter. This retirement is busier than working. Since I last wrote we have been to Cambodia, Northern Thailand, Australia & Greece. We have just returned from 4 weeks in Bangkok helping to rescue animals from the floods. Check out this link shot by Cindy & I during our time in Bangkok. With volunteering full time for the Soi Dog Foundation life is very hectic. On our visit to Greece we spent time on Thassos which was a day trip on the Overland, it has changed but still has that feel of old Greece. Cheers Derek

Keramoti Revisited

We flew to Thessaloniki & picked up a hire car for the 2 hour drive to Keramoti. Keramoti used to be a 2 night stop on the Swagman Tours route to Kathmandu & a chance for the passenger to visit the island of Thassos. We used to camp behind Petros's restaurant on a point about 600 meters from town. From here you could watch the ferries ply between Thassos & Keramoti, while having a cool beer & some great Greek food. We booked to spend the night so I could check the place out & visit the old restaurant. The next day we set off to find Petros's place, at first I thought I was looking in the wrong place, it all looked so different. Finally I had to admit that it was gone, the only evidence that it ever existed where some concrete foundations & a row of trees.

Petros's restaruant

Camping in Kerimoti

Greek dancing to the "Jukebox"

Now only the trees are left

Thassos Now...

Still a great place to visit if you want to see Greece as it was 30 years ago. Heavily forested in the north with typical sparce vegetation in the south. Some lovely old villages in the hills with narrow cobbled streets, is now a day trip from Bulgaria!

View from ruins above Limenas

Limenas from Ampitheatre

Narrow Streets

Ringing the bells

Sundowners trip - Taj Mahal on 3 May 1972.

Back Row - left to right
Kevin (the tour leader) - Frank – John – Phil – Adrian – Herman – Philip – Bruno – Megan – Eddy – Derek – Dulcia – David – Barry

Middle Row - left to right
Linda - Libby (my Wife) - Margaret – Alison – Emma – Carol – Lyn – Carole – Jane – Chris – Cleonne – Caroline – Win – Joan

Front Row – left to right
Ann – Richard – Trish – Penny – Orma – Jan – Bob – Beth

Details supplied by Tony Harrison whose wife Libby was on this trip.

A trip to India?

Thank you for a wonderful website. I live in Sweden; Portugal and India. For many years my dream was to go back  to India overland, I have done it two times, once hitch hiking 1974 and the 1978 with Magic Bus.
Afghanistan made me a profesional photographer and author, check my website.  Since then I travel and work with different projects in India, lately I'm going every winter to Auroville in Tamil Nadu. I make books, write articles and solo exhibitons......
Since a couple of years it came up to my mind to travel overland once again. I checked several websites and it seems to be possible. I like though to go with my own little bus, but together with other people. Like a caravan. I will check next time I go to Inda if I can bring my 3 dogs!!!
Well I just want to say hallo, I am enclosing a couple of photos on myself in Afghanistan. I will come back to you later when I have more things to say. I will look through my material and see if I have some more interesting photos to post on the old buses, the journey etc, the problem they are on slides and needs to be digitilized. I have them later so you can put them on the website. Just now I have an exhibition at a National Museum in Portugal, called
 c/o POSTE RESTANTE......the adress we all used those days...on the hippie trail.
Kind regards Kärsti Stiege

Mail Bag

Enjoyed finding your site. I've attached a diary I have recently found covering my own overland journey. Unfortunately I was a very seriously frightened hippy at the time so it's rather an internal dialogue. Have a glance if you would and let me know if you think anyone else might like to read it. I won't be offended if not. Also, could you tell me how much a bus ticket to India was in 1976? thankyou. Dominic Quarrell, Glastonbury, UK You can read Dominic's Dairy HERE

Hello  Does anyone know where Kevin Dunning of Sundowners lives now? Best wishes Sahra Foulkes


I’m midway through reading the account of your overland expedition from London to Nepal in the 70s, and I’m moved to to e-mail you to tell you how much I’m loving it! I was born in 1971 and obviously had no idea all this was going on! I have read a book about the ‘Hippie Trail’ called ‘Magic Bus’ but having read your account I think I will read it again as the two will complement each other.

I’ve been involved with the bus industry most of my working life and am also involved in vintage buses. I’ve done a wee bit of backpacking in SE Asia/Oz/Nz in my time and would love to do something like this, but alas the world has changed. I was prompted to look up Penn Overland on the web after the recent BBC4 Timeshift programme about coaches which featured this company, and my search led me to your site.

One of my friends has a couple of excellent Bristol RE preserved coaches on which he’s made 20 or so European trips. I’ve been privileged to join some of them, but nothing adventurous as this.

Well done on a fascinating website. Donald Booth

Hi Derek,

Thanks again for a great Swagman Times and please don't feel the need to apologize. Without your effort, there would be nothing!  It is because of me Googling Swagman Tours in 2007, that I found Swagman Times, John Witchard and eveventually 75% of our 1976 Eastbound Overland 'Swaggies' As a result, we were wmderfully reunited in Sydney after 32years of no contact. 

You're our hero mate!! :-). and the reason we are all back in touch. Thanks and no apologies necessary! Hey!, JoAnn and I even got to meet Norm Harris into the bargain! What a great character and the original vessel behind our Overland in the first place! 

Keep up the good work (when you can spare the time), we love it!!

Best regards, Roger Mason, Toronto, Canada

I think he wrote this before the 9 month break between issues, I will try harder next year. I think I remeber saying that to my teacher when I was a kid.


What a pleasant surprise.  I took the Encounter Overland Bedford truck from Victoria station to Kathmandu with roughly 30 other people in 1973.  At the time, the company was located in Knightsbridge.  I understand that they moved from this location to someplace less costly.  The cost for this 3 and half adventure was $650 and it was worth every penny.   Our driver's name was Chris and from I understand he came down with hepatitis shortly after our trip on his way back to the UK.  Right now, close to 40 years later, I am planning another great adventure with my best friend, Andy an English guy I met on the truck.  We've been friends ever since then.  In fact, his girls used to baby sit my kids when we would visit each other in Boston or London.  Since then, my wife have moved to MN, but this summer Andy and I  are planning another great adventure, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in August'12.

Thanks for putting this site together, Paul Zellweger

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This newsletter is produced by Derek Amey - Phuket Thailand. -