In a final act of rebellion, my wife Maria and I sold the house and bought a battered VW campervan. I resigned my job as a journalist and we headed into Europe.
This gesture might have worked but for two things. The van was more battered than I thought and we had a nine month old baby called Siobhan.
The memories of that summer of 1971 came flooding back this week with the news that production of the VW campervan is coming to an end.
More than 10 million have been made since it first appeared 63 years ago. European production ended in 1979 because it no longer met safety requirements but it continued in Brazil, where they didn't care. Now they do and new safety laws means it will finally bow out at the end of the year.
Which is a shame because the VW campervan was the motorised symbol of hippiedom.
I paid £195 for a venerable old lady of a van. Our initial destination was Avelino near Naples where Maria's relatives lived. The first summer, we thought, could be spent in their beach house and I would become a writer.
But life doesn't work like that.
After crossing the Channel our trail meandered through Belgium and France. It was peace and love, man, until we reached Aachen in Germany, when Maria declared the trip wasn't working with a nine month old baby who was sleeping in a box covered with her bridal veil as a mosquito net.
Next day I drove non-stop back to Ostend. We docked in Dover in the early hours and parked in a lay-by to sleep. I woke early and set off to beat the traffic through London.
Maria and Siobhan remained sleeping in the back. We were in the city and stopped at lights when I noticed the passengers in the bus alongside were staring into the back of the van. The curtains were open and Maria had pushed the double sleeping bag down to her waist and lay as naked as Aphrodite.
“Don't look now but you've got an audience.”
It's very difficult to suddenly cover yourself with decorum in such circumstances especially when you're a hippy. So she didn't. Not that it offended anyone: she was a beautiful 22-year-old. She feigned sleep until we escaped the bus and then got dressed.
The van broke down on the motorway to Manchester. Maybe I had pushed her too hard, too fast and for too long (the van, not Maria). A mechanic filled the engine with the thickest oil known to man and said: “You might make it home if you take it easy.”
We made it home at 20 mph. The old lady's engine then died for good.
It had been an enjoyable, if short, and memorable journey.
And as far as our life together is concerned (with Maria, not the van), it still is.