February 25th, 2021 / posted by paularath

Living in a tinker’s caravan in County Cork, Ireland, with a couple of British friends                                            Photo courtesy Helga Hoefert

When I was about 10 years old, I read a travel article in my mother’s Sunset Magazine about a trip in a horse drawn tinker’s caravan in Ireland. The idea quickly became an obsession. It took me ten years to get there, but the girl you see on the left is 20-year-old me, with friends I met at the W.B. Yeats International Summer School in Sligo, Ireland.

The jeans I was wearing in Ireland are my beloved green jeans. When I traveled to Europe for the first time in 1967, I was determined not to look like a hippie. In those days nearly all the young Americans in Europe were hippies – or dressed like them. They often got stopped and searched in airports, and it was hard for them to escape a stereotype. I didn’t want any of that.

I did not carry a backpack; I had a turquoise Skyway suitcase my grandmother gave me. I did not wear ratty sandals, I wore red ghillies (Scottish dancing shoes). Instead of flowing Indian dresses, my “uniform” was a polka dot shirtwaist dress. My coat was not a well-worn sheepskin jacket, it was a proper double breasted trench coat. And I did not wear blue jeans; mine were green.

Those green jeans spent 12 months going around the world with me, all by ourselves, from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland, to Hong Kong. They had many adventures, such as hiking in Norway, dancing in Mykonos, visiting the Wailing Wall in Israel and Taj Mahal in India, touring bazaars in Istanbul, kicking a soccer ball in London, walking the beach in Ireland. They served me well for years.

On our Irish caravan trip, we went all the way to the coast of Cork. The horse was smarter than the poetry scholars; he refused to go more than 14 miles a day!

In the summer of ’67, I spent a month in Norway with the family of Erik Holtedahl, who had been our foreign student at Punahou my senior year. My grandmother was Norwegian and so is my middle name, which was her first name: Ragna. I felt right at home in the Rondane mountains, in Oslo and in the Holtedahls’ second home, perched over a fjord.

In Norway, I hiked in my green jeans for a week in the Rondane Mountains with my Norwegian “brother,” Erik Holtedahl.  It was a glorious time and place!       Photos courtesy Knut Mugaas


We stopped by a glacial stream for a picnic lunch. The water is gorgeous but freezing cold. We ate cheese the color of caramel, a type of beef jerky, and that delicious iced water.

I honestly can’t remember what happened to my beloved green jeans. I looked for another pair similar to them for many years, and about five years ago, I found these:

Jerry gave me this terrific green safari jacket for Christmas last year, and I love it with my green jeans! The shoes are a gift from my dear friend Cheryl Tipton.

Everything in my wardrobe has to have a story, or else why bother with it?

Paula Rath



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Dana Ritchie Fujikake
February 26th, 2021 at 2:28 am

Your reminiscing and vintage photos simply swept me away!
I had beloved green jeans, too!
Thank you, dear Paula!


March 11th, 2021 at 4:57 am

Great girls wear green jeans!

Gerald Mayfield MD
March 11th, 2021 at 7:08 am

I love you more with each blog.

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