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Kenneth Liss

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From Heartbreak to the Hippie Trail: Sex, Drugs, and Backpacking in Europe, Israel, East Africa, and Asia

When Ken’s wife suddenly leaves him, little does he imagine this will give him a lifelong love for travel. Soon he is sharing a truck with Maasai warriors and his tent with a lion, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, and having his cheek broken by an irate restaurant owner in Singapore.

From being mistaken for Ringo Starr and having his frisbee mistaken for a bomb in Indonesia to smoking opium in Laos at the end of the Vietnam War and fleeing comically from a bathroom disaster as a result, he immerses himself in a ’70s world of drugs, sex, and backpacker life.

Will he make a success of selling Singapore-made shirts when he returns to the US or will his crazy lifestyle prevail?

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Who is Kenneth Liss?


Born in San Francisco, Ken Liss graduated from high school in 1966 and went to College of San Mateo then University of California, Berkeley where he spent his time mixing academics, LSD, and watching anti-Vietnam War demonstrations on the campus and adjoining Telegraph Avenue. He attended many live music shows in the early days of Fillmore Auditorium, Winterland, and free shows in Golden Gate Park, developing eclectic musical tastes.

After two years in the Army National Guard, he was released four years early after claiming to an army psychiatrist he had dreams of punishing his superior officers. Following a short marriage, which ended abruptly in 1972, he began traveling in Europe where he caught the travel bug. Today, he lives with his Vietnamese wife and her two daughters in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, and enjoys day after day relaxing and meeting travelers on the beaches of the Gulf of Thailand.

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