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Q & A - Marshall & Debbie Hockett, Authors of 'Tripping 1975' & Susan J. Farese, SJF Communications

Updated: Jun 28, 2020

Authors Marshall and Debbie Hockett with Publicist Susan J. Farese at the Poway LIbrary, 12/2019

We recently were interviewed by our publicist Susan J. Farese of SJF Communications about our travels that were a part of Tripping 1975 . You'll learn a bit more about us, our romance (and maybe chuckle a bit at the humor) for sure! Enjoy!

For those of you that are interested in our book, you can purchase it here!:

Tripping 1975: Falling in Love One Country at a Time

SJF: How/why did u decide on a yellow VW camper van - ‘The Banana’!

MH/DH: It wasn't by choice. It was what the dealership in Luxembourg had waiting for us when we were there to pick it up. It was perfect because it looked like we could have fun in such a sunny and friendly looking van. An obviously appropriate name for a yellow van was "the banana". SJF: What were your thoughts when you first arrived in Europe in 1975? And when you were leaving Europe at the end of the trip?

MH/DH: When we arrived in Europe, Marshall was afraid that he would feel like a bum. Neither of us had ever camped in our lives and now we were going to be LIVING IN A VAN FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR! Within a week, we had no problem. We were having such a good time seeing the sights and meeting new people. This was going to be fun.

Debbie had a little trepidation wondering if she could be gone that long from home. That feeling soon faded and she was always looking forward to the next adventure.

When it was time to leave, we both wanted to stay and travel to Russia, but lack of funds put the brakes on.

SJF: What were the two most memorable experiences?

MH: Asking Debbie to get married.

DH: Being asked to get married.

MH: Being caught in the banana in a political riot between to opposite sides in Ankara, Turkey and just barely escaping. One person in the midst of the riot was killed and several were injured. (See "Tripping 1975, page 158 - 159.)

DH: On the same day of the riot, Turkish police were running across our friend's yard and shooting their guns at protesters trying to flee them. Very unsettling. Kind of like today in the U.S. SJF: What did you dislike the most on your 1975 trip?

MH: ANYTHING having to do with Bulgaria--remember, in 1975, it was still a Communist country. Everyone was very unhappy to see us.

DH: The very few campgrounds that did not have high sanitary standards. SJF: What did your parents say when you told them you were leaving for a year?

MH/DH: Our parents were concerned. It helped a great deal that Marshall had attended Stanford In Great Britain in 1968. SJF: How/where did Marshall propose to Debbie?

MH/DH: On the island of Crete, there is a town called Aghios Nicalaos. There is a special spot there where a river meets the bay waters and forms a beautiful small lake. Marshall took Debbie to that special spot. He took her hand and put it on his chest and proposed. It was super romantic.

SJF: Did you meet any special friends in 1975 on your trip that you still get together or keep in touch with?

MH/DH: Yes. Too many to list here. SJF: If you had to tell today’s young couples how to travel In a camper van what would you say?

MH/DH: Our best advice would be to choose the person you are going to travel with very carefully and be open and friendly to other cultures and people. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, the people are friendly and interested in you also.

SJF: Did you ever get homesick while away in Europe for a year? Please explain.

MH/DH: We both wanted to keep going, but ran out of funds. SJF: Any crimes during your stay?

MH/DH: Someone got into the Banana and tried to "hot-wire" her to steal her. It didn't work, thank goodness! SJF: Any spiritual awakenings or profound moments during the trip?

MH: Discovered his initials (MYH) carved into the wall of an Early-Man cave.

DH: Looking at the early-man art in numerous caves made me realize that these early humans were more advanced than most people would think.

Also, Waking up to the fact that, except for cultural differences--we are all the same.

SJF: Have you traveled back to Europe since 1975? If so, How many times?

MH/DH: Yes. Approximately 55 times. SJF: Tell us about your cruise now, how is it going and where are you going?

MH/DH: Unfortunately, our six-month around the world tour was canceled after three months of travel due to the coronavirus. The experience deserves it's own story.

SJF: Tell us about retirement life. Tips for the rest of us?

MH/DH: Wonderful. Plan well ahead, save as much money as possible, and be safe like you would be here.

SJF: Many thanks, Marshall and Debbie!

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