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

Discovering Tahiti Part 1

Saturday before last Mink Hippie and I boarded a Hawaiian Airline flight and flew to Tahiti, the largest island in French Polynesia. Tahiti lies in the South Pacific. Our flight arrived at 11pm and we called and were picked up by the German proprietor of Chez Myrna, Mr. Walter Dammeyer ( B P 790 – 98 713 PapeeteTAHITI Tel. / Fax. 42 64 11 dammeyer.family@mail.pf Papeete ). Chez Myrna was clean, had nice baguettes and coffee (instant) for breakfast, and served as a perfect launch pad for us to wake up and go to the Sunday farmers market in Papeete, the capital of Tahiti. As we walked through town we saw lots of signs saying ‘silence culte’. We finally figured out that they meant a church was nearby and people should turn their stereos down and not be too loud.

We had an excellent coffee at the airport and met a woman named Dorothy and an apparently unproductive conversation with a Pension we wanted to stay in. Unproductive as the connection was worse than both of our French and the man she said would come get us never did. The woman in the coffee shop said that he was a real ‘flintstone’. We never saw him. Instead we called Pension Vai honu (Tel: 68.87.33 Fax: 68.77.57) and were quickly picked up by a lovely woman named Jocelyn who told us about how when she was a schoolgirl she had been present when the Hawai’ian voyaging canoe Hokulea arrived in the bay at Fare.”]Mairie de Papeete ( Tahiti )

Papeete is a bit of a ghost town on Sundays and after going to the market and the drugstore (as mentioned in a previous post), we crashed the pool at the Sheraton and had a very enjoyable dinner of pizza and pasta in the restaurant there. The pool was surrounded by topless beauties including our Minkie who was gawked at by a fat man in a black thong. We laughed at him. A real creep. The next morning, Walter took us to the airport and we caught a flight to Huahine. Huahine lies 175 km. (110 miles) northwest of Tahiti in the Leeward Society islands.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 13:  The Fijian ...  

More to come later…..

Big Island New Year – Aloha and Ahui Ho

Aloha to Everyone out there…thanks for being patient while we were away….a quick update on what is going on….

Hamakua Coast Hawaii, Big IslandMink Hippie and I spent the past few days on the Big Island of Hawaii where we stayed at a promising healing retreat and resort called The Dragonfly Ranch. Mink Hippie enjoyed it more than I did. Don’t get me wrong, I love sleeping nearly outdoors, the bed was incredibly comfortable, and I liked the overall vibe of the place. I just didn’t really enjoy the overall hippier than thou attitude of the owner or the general state of dirtiness. A private bathroom in our lodgings would have made a huge difference, even an outhouse. Overpriced, but really pretty cool, and I don’t want to leave the impression that we didn’t have a great time on the Big Island.

dragonfly

We arrived on the 30th just at Sunset and because a kind stranger we talked to on the plane knew the manager of a car rental company we had a Mustang convertible for $46 a day when everyone else was getting charged $100 a day for Festivas. Or told there were no cars. It is always worth it to make new friends. Sometimes being friendly even saves you some cash, but usually the reward is it’s own.

Hawaiian GodsWe settled into the Dragonfly and went to sleep in the Pavillion where we were staying. In the middle of the night, I awoke to something odd outside our digs…it was a horse. To give you the sense of what was going on…This was basicly a roof in a meadow with a bed in the middle of it covered by a mosquito net. The horse was checking us out. Scared the crap out of me. MH slept right through it. MH was sure that the horse had a sexual interest in me…judging by the gigantic hardon he got everytime I was around…she may have been right…When she tried to take its picture, the beast turned away and the wood shriveled….chilling…

horse dick

Next day we drove to the Volcano through some incredibly stark landscape and a couple of really picturesque Hawaiian towns. We stopped and chatted with Elizabeth at Kau, Tropical Espresso and Organic Fruitstand where we learned that her uptight neighbors want her hand painted signs replaced with ‘nice vinyl signs’ to protect their property values. Lol. The espresso was great, the chocolate brownie was divine, and her slow roasted Macadamia nuts were incredible. We vaulted through the Thurston Lava tube looking for a ladies room for Mink, but there wasn’t much need to linger there. At sunset we watched the lava flow down the side of the volcano.

lava

The next couple of days were great as we had a quiet New Year’s Eve and woke up early to get a great breakfast and cruise through Hawaiian plantation towns and the Paniolo (Hawaiian Cowboy) town of Waimea. Yesterday we cruised the Hamakua Coast and waterfalls galore. We caught one more sunset on the way back to the airport and made our way back to our little town of Kailua on Oahu. I was happy to get home, not that the vacation weekend wasn’t good, but just that I love where I live. That becomes more obvious whenever I am away.

As to other things…

Well…it seems that our friend Bernest Ernstein has been deported from Japan for a misunderstanding regarding a pair of underpants…hopefully he will take the time to explain this and we will let you know when we know more.

Recent questions about my political leanings and religious philosophies have reignited my desire to learn more and I am returning to school to finsh my higher education. I’ve been accepted to the University of Hawaii and went through new student orientation today. I register for classes tomorrow and start classes next Monday.

Hurricane Katrina after Burning Man 2005

BurningMan

Well, after a completely surreal journey in planes, trains, RV’s, and art cars….I am back. Burning Man was indescribable…at least at the moment it seems so to me as I putter around my little place here in Hawaii and try to figure out exactly what I am doing here. Jet lag, culture shock, and general confusion as I look around and see how very….normal…everything is. My neighbor watering his grass, the breeze blowing through the mango trees, and the sound of roadwork coming from Kalaheo Avenue. I have to go to work soon…I mean I really have to go to work soon…like 20 minutes….and in a more urgent sense to make sure I can pay my rent… I don’t have the inclination to describe Burning Man right now, nor our serendipitous journey in the RV up the coast of California and through 3 deserts, nor our amazing adventures in the now non existant 7th largest city in Nevada.

For more on Burning Man have a look at this link:
Burning Man

Burning Man Katrina I would like to indulge in describing the most surreal moment of this journey. After 5 days in Black Rock City where there was no NPR, no TV, no commercial radio, no newspapers, and in short no contact with the outside world, we hurriedly packed the Tioga and began the long trek back to LA. We were shocked that gas prices had risen more than 20 cents a gallon while we were away. These things happen and we continued on our way through hundreds of miles of desert and ended up spending the night in an isolated RV park of which I will talk more later. In the morning we dealt with a flat tire and a rolled over hay truck and desperately tried to make it to LA in time to return the RV and catch our flight back to Hawaii….more on all of this later too. The surreal moment was looking at the New York Times (and every other periodical) cover story and realizing that New Orleans was destroyed, thousands are dead, hundreds of thousands homeless and evacuated, and that our country has completely failed in protecting the lives of those who need its help most. It was the first we had learned of it. My heart broke as I read accounts of those struggling, my anger rose as I read the spindoctors attempts to avoid blame for thier bumbling, and my sympathy and grief join those millions of you in hoping and praying that the worst of this is over and that life can resume in Louisiana. It is all I can write now.