All posts by Vago Damitio

Vago Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. He jumped ship from a sinking dotcom in 2000 and decided to reclaim his most valuable commodity, time. He bought a VW bus for $100, moved into it and set out on a journey to show the world that it was possible to live life on your own terms. That journey took him from waking up under icy blankets in  the Pacific Northwest to waking up under palm tress in Southeast Asia. Three years later, his first book, Rough Living: Tips and Tales of a Vagabond was published. After diving into the Anthropology of Tourism and Electronic Anthropology at the University of Hawaii (with undeclared minors in film and surf) he hit the road again in 2008. Since that time,he's lived primarily in Morocco and Turkey, married a Moroccan girl he couchsurfed with, and become a proud father. He's been to more than 40 countries, founded a successful online travel magazine (this one!), and still doesn't have a boss. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook

Cyprus – An Unexpected Christmas Destination

When most people think of taking an international trip at Christmas they either think of someplace balmy like Hawai’i or known for Christmas like Germany’s Christmas Markets – a less expected place is the middle of the Mediterranean in winter – Cyprus, for example.
While the Med can be stormy in winter, the temperatures in Cyprus actually are quite nice – hovering in in the 60s through most of the Christmas season and rarely dipping into the 50s. Some days are in the high 70s and 80s (these temperatures in Fahrenheit – the temperature rarely dips below 20 C in the Christmas season). It’s not just the climate that makes Cyprus a great destination though.

Cyprus has a long Byzantine Christian history and the season is festive with age-old traditions unique to the region. Among them are plenty of eating and drinking of local delicacies. Cypriots traditionally eat dried figs, nuts, and special loaves of bread called ‘Christopsomo’ (Christ Bread) on Christmas Eve. Honey cakes, walnut cakes, pies, roast lamb, stuffed Turkey and other familiar seasonal delicacies are also eaten on Christmas day.
Visitors will likely see crosses wrapped in basil which have been sprinkled in holy water and adorn the doors of villagers. These aromatic wards are to keep gnome-like creatures called the kallikantzari away during the holidays. Cyprus is steeped in magic and ceremony with processions, performances, and traditional celebrations leading up to Christmas itself (Christouyenna). The most important festival is held in Eleftheria in the city of Nicosaia on Christmas Day.

Perhaps the best reason to visit Cyprus during the holidays is to take advantage of the cheaper prices for hotels and flights to Cyprus. Visitors can get steep discounts during the winter months and even car rentals tend to be heavily discounted which makes exploring the island an activity that won’t break your bank.

Cyprus is known for it’s wineries and even has the world’s oldest wine – so don’t forget to sample the vino while you are there. Wine tourism has become a favorite activity in the last few years and there are well established wine routes and tours available – so no need to assign a designated driver.

Finally, as if there weren’t already enough reasons to visit Cyprus during the holidays – spa breaks are the gift that keeps on giving as you get to relax and return home from your holiday in better form than that you went in. Whether you choose to soak in mineral rich waters, enjoy a traditional steam bath, or get a massage worthy of a Greek hero – you will go home feeling refreshed and ready to come back for your next holiday.

Top 5 Australia Gold Coast Adventures

The world is a big place and while I’ve been fortunate to see a lot of it – there is a lot more of it that still beckons to me. I look forward to exploring far off India, Japan, South America, and lest we forget – Australia!

One of the destinations that I’ve not yet had the pleasure of exploring is the Gold Coast of Australia. I want to experience some Gold Coast Adventures. This is a region that offers everything I could want – warm waters, great food, sunshine, and exotic wildlife. I want to go the Gold Coast and here are the top 5 adventures that I will do while I’m there…


Diving the Great Barrier Reef
Of course, the top adventure is diving on the Great Barrier Reef. One of the world’s 7 Natural Wonders – I’ve always wanted to explore this reef wonderland and see turtles, rays, sharks, and the abundant sea life living in this spectacular living monument. I know that it can be dangerous – but there is very little in life that isn’t dangerous while being worthwhile.

Feeding Crocodiles
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to be the meal that they eat, but I’d love to get close enough to these incredible reptiles to see their gnashing teeth and chomping jaws. These are as close as you can get to seeing real dinosaurs and they scare the crap out of me – I’d just love to feel that primal fear but in a safe zone. Know what I mean?

4×4 Adventure Touring
Whether it will be in 4×4 buses or a private vehicle – I definitely plan on getting out into the jungle and onto the remote beaches of the world’s largest island. Yes, I want to see the cities – I want to explore Brisbane and see where the people live – but a 4×4 tour of someplace like Fraser Island is all about getting away from civilization – which I think is one of the best reasons to go to Australia in the first place.
Australia 4x4 tour

Meet the Australian Wild Life
It wouldn’t be a trip to Australia without meeting koala’s, kangaroos, wallabies, and my favorite – the duck billed platypus! I want to hike in the Australian rainforest and check out the birds and marsupials up close and in their native habitat. Did you know that a platypus is the only egg laying mammal? It looks like a duck, has fur like a beaver, a tail like a beaver, has warm blood, and lays eggs! How odd is that?

Great Barrier Reef

Exploring Cairns
Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney all have their draws – but the city I want to stay in for a while is Cairns. A tropical climate, a goldmining history, and an urban layout – this is the city for me. I want to cruise in the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and watch films on the beach – I want to surf and eat steak for dinner! This isn’t a huge capital of culture but it holds the cultural artifacts I hold most dear – warm water, great diving, rainforest hiking, abundant natural resources nearby and some great dining.

Vagobond Quietly Passed 1 Million Visits A Few Weeks Ago

I was updating our database today and realized that several weeks ago – Vagobond quietly and without any fanfare passed the 1 million visits milestone. This site has always been a labor of love and while we haven’t been doing much traveling and I haven’t been doing much writing or photography lately – the site is still heavily visited and a resource for many travelers. Thank you to all of you who have visited, commented, and shared your stories through the years. Don’t worry, the road beckons and we will be back on it. We aren’t going anywhere anytime soon – us or the site. Thanks again.

~Vago the Vagobond