Wesley Eure’s

Tripping The Planet


For fun, about a year ago, I became the travel editor and started writing a travel column called TRIPPING THE PLANET for LIVE Magazine in Palm Springs. It is an extremely popular oversized bi-monthly publication owned and edited by my friends Juli Ragsdale and Levvy Carikker. It serves the entire community of Palm Springs and the surrounding cities. It is so much fun to write!!!

I love to Travel! But most importantly, I love a bargain!!

Always on a quest for adventure in the 80’s I grabbed a tent and a backpack and journeyed around the world with an eye on settling in Indonesia.  My travels took me on a camel safari over the sand dunes of India, being attacked by thieves on a 2 day riverboat trip from Mandalay to Pagan in forbidden Myanmar (Burma), hitchhiking on huge colorfully decorated trucks throughout Pakistan and finally, raising a monkey in Bali! My total budget  was $5 a day for all meals, transportation, entertainment and lodging...for two of us! We slept in barnyards, $1-a-night smelly hotels and grass huts! It was a blast. I was young...




But sanity and age kicked in and a few years later I began producing shows for Crystal Cruises. This time I sailed around the world like royalty on a floating 6 star hotel!

If you want to advertise in  LIVE please email me at trippingtheplanet@me.com. Plus I am looking for a sponsor for Tripping The Planet...you will get great exposure!

Below is the account of a very scary adventure I had trying to travel from Pakistan into India.....

When backpacking around the world in the mid 80’s my friend and I were stuck in Pakistan for two weeks because the boarder crossing into India was only opened every 14 days to foreigner tourists and we had missed the crossing by a day. 

Ever since Pakistan and India divided in 1947 tensions along the boarder have remained on heightened alert, especially in today’s climate.  Also adding to the turmoil of the region was the political and religious conflicts taking place just inside the Indian boarder at the Golden Temple of Amritsar in Amritsar, Punjab, India. As foreigners we were not allowed to stop anywhere near the Temple and were going to be escorted by gun toting guards the many kilometers to New Deli! I felt I was the poster boy for a war cover on the front of Time Magazine. But that is another story...

There was no public transportation to take you from one hostile nation to the other so you had to arrange your own private transport. We were using a backpacking book from Lonely Planet called Traveling on a Shoestring, which told backpackers to go to the rundown International Hotel in Karachi to hire a private car to cross with. After hitchhiking around Pakistan for two weeks we went to the International Hotel and found a young Indian man driving an old enclosed Mercedes truck who was making the crossing. We each paid our $10 fare and along with 22 other travelers from 16 different countries we crammed into the back of the sealed truck. Sitting on the truck’s hard metal floor we all rotated seats to have “peeking time” through the single small window offering the only fresh air and a sliver of a view.

At the Pakistan border, we waited in line at this very dusty and remote immigration checkpoint. It was really no man’s land. My buddy and I had our passports stamped “exit”. At that moment we were no longer legally allowed to be in Pakistan.

We all piled back into the truck and, after a short drive following the small caravan of cars, I looked in the trees and it was filled with vultures! I am telling you, the trees were filled with large black vultures with red throats! We were trapped in a Felliniesque world between Pakistan and India.  Indian boarder guards were planning to search all eight vehicles that were crossing that day before we were to be allowed to enter India. For only eight vehicles to be gone over with a fine tooth comb, it would take over nine hours and go well into the night.

Both of us were traveling with a large backpack weighing over 100 pounds with Teddy bears strapped to the top of the packs. Mine was a Paddington Bear an English girl have given me as luck for the trek. But the most important item we carried was a pop-up blue and white three man Big 5 dome tent we used to sleep in barnyards or train stations. In third world countries at that time no one had ever seen a tent like this, so every time we set it up a crowd would gather and start poking it. So finding replacement parts was impossible.

While going through Indian customs, suddenly my friend screamed at me, “Wesley, where are our tent poles?!” After a frantic search, I realized that I had left the small nylon bag containing our tent poles at the customs station back in Pakistan. My friend demanded I go retrieve them. Tearfully, I protested that we were no longer legally allowed back into Pakistan. He didn’t care! The poles were irreplaceable! “Go!” he shouted!

Trembling, I began the fearful half-mile walk back to the border of Pakistan where a curious crowd started to follow me. I kept saying to myself, “Are you nuts?” I kept answering, “Yes!!!”

When I reached the boarder I tried to explain, in English, to the Pakistani border officer I need to reenter Pakistan to retrieve my tent poles.

By now a huge crowd had formed and was laughing and pointing at me. A gruff young Pakistani guard pointed his rifle, armed with a bayonet, at me from across the boarder and indicated for me to turn the hell around! I didn’t need to understand Urdu to know I was in danger!

Suddenly the crowd on the Indian side yelled, “Run! Run! Run!” But the young Pakistani guard pointed his rifle at my head. an older bearded Pakistani border official started to laugh and signaled with me his hands to run across the border. Everyone on both sides of the border, both Indian and Pakistani, were laughing hysterically, egging me on...except the rifle toting guard.  I was terrified! I had heard all the horror stories about being held in foreign prisons! Hell, all I wanted to do was get to India to meet a couple of gal pals in Jaipur, the pink city, for Valentines Day a few days off.

I don’t know what possessed me, but, I took a deep breath and finally jumped across the border. Thinking back, I was out of my mind! No. I was stupid!!!

I ran the entire mile back to the Pakistinian custom’s station and arrived, out of breath and in a panic. I asked the passport officer who had stamped “exit” only minutes before if he had found tent polls tied up in a green nylon bag. Without any expression, he exited into a back room. I knew I was headed for jail But soon, although it seemed like an hour, he returned with my tent poles.

Gratefully, I tried to quickly exit, but the officer stopped me. I was sure I was going to prison! The guard insisted I examine the package. I protested and said, “No, no, no, its okay! I just want to get back to India! “But he demanded! So reluctantly, I opened the nylon bag and saw that all the polls were there and thank him profusely. The officer told me it was important I knew Pakistanis were not thieves.

And now the long journey back to India began.

I raced back at the border and faced a huge crowd of cheering and laughing Pakistanis and Indians on both sides. Again, the young Pakistani guard pointed his rifle and bayonets at my head, but this time I was in Pakistan. He seemed rightfully angry and challenged me not to cross back into India. I was terrified! The Indians on the other side of the border yelled, “Run!” I close my eyes, took a deep breath and jumped across the border. A great thunder of applause and cheers rang out from both sides of the boarder. For a single moment the Pakistanis and Indians had one common thing to laugh about...me!

I sprinted the half-mile back to where my traveling companion was waiting, arms crossed, and glaring at me. With no sympathy or compassion in his voice for the terrifying one hour journey I had just taken, he simply stated, “So, did you get the tent poles?” Exhausted and shaking I handed him the brown nylon bag and he coldly responded, “Good” and walked away.

P.S.My friend and I parted ways when we got back to the United States!

Just click on the link and go to page 13 to see the September 10th issue: http://tinyurl.com/3xs5qpn

Below are a few of my old columns.....