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

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.

Happy New Year from Vagobond

Welcome to 2015!

I’m not sure what 2015 holds for Vagobond.com but I do hope that it’s a great year for you and your travels.

As for me personally, I will not be doing much travel this year. With a 3-year-old and two businesses on the Oregon Coast – this isn’t (most-likely) going to be a year where I go out and see the world – but there is certainly still plenty to write about. This year on Vagobond I plan to

1) Re-visit many of my travels from the past fifteen years

2) Look at destination planning and exploring some destinations I would like to visit in the future

3) Talk about some stategies for getting more from your travel through spending less, seeing more, and really getting into the places you travel.

Every Friday, I will post a new story and through the week, I will repost popular articles and stories from our archives. It’s far from the days when there were two new stories per day on Vagobond, but perhaps by the end of 2015 we can be back on track for that.

I wish you a very Happy 2015!

~Vago

Singapore Hotels and Hostels

Singapore is just one of those places that you have to visit at least once in your life. In terms of travel, nothing could be easier. Everyone speaks English, it’s modern, and it’s easy to get around. You can fly there from all over the world or if you are in Malaysia you can take an easy bus ride for about $30 U.S.

singapore hotelsI went with First Coach out of KL and enjoyed the ride. Comfortable, air con bus with a stop for food at a big roadside plaza.

Once you arrive you will realize that there are literally hundreds of hostels and hotels in Singapore to choose from.
As you know, one of my odd hobbies is wandering in and out of hotels and here are a few that are worth taking note of. The 1929 Hotel was right in the heart of Chinatown and at first looked like a classic Victorian style hotel, which I like – but when walking in I found that there was something ultra-modern about 1929. I toured the rooms and was blown away by the glass walled bathrooms and the iPod docks in the rooms equipped with Wi-Fi, a Jacuzzi on the roof and a nice garden. The restaurants smelled delicious though I was full on street food so didn’t stop to sample.

Another amazing boutique hotel in Singapore is Wanderlust. Wanderlust is clearly a hipster concept hotel and it is a place for 29-50 year old people who have some money (that’s not me by the way, but I still admired the concept) For those who don’t know wanderlust is a noun that means an irresistibly strong desire or an impulse to travel far away and explore different places. I felt like this hotel was worthy of the name.
boutique hotel room
From their site:

Wanderlust is a left-field and totally experimental boutique hotel set to draw madcap voyagers and curious travellers to its doorstep. Located in Little India – a bustling cultural enclave where Indian immigrants once settled, and the building was originally an old school built it 1920s.

With four thematic levels of 29 rooms by award winning Singapore design agencies, each group was given full creative freedom.
– Lobby Level – Industrial Glam by Asylum – A juxtaposition of the surrounding’s setting and contemporary design.
– Level 2 – Eccentricity by :phunk Studio – Colours everything from the walls to the neon lights and the rainbow corridor leads to a outdoor deck with a customised mosaic-tiled jacuzzi.
– Level 3 – Is it just Black and White by DP Architects – Walk across the black corridor and enter into the contrasting white rooms to discover Origami and Pop-Art works.
– Level 4 – Creature Comforts by Furious – Get cosy with friendly monsters in each room that presents a different vibe and be assured of a fantasy-filled experience.

Those looking for a less eclectic high end experience can simply head to the iconic Marina Bay Sands where they can swim in the pool that pours over the edge of the odd spaceship thing docked on top of the three towers. This is an integrated resort like nothing else you’ve ever seen and even if you aren’t staying there, it’s worthwhile as a tourist stop.

Skypark pool at Marina Bay Sands

Now, I’ve gotta admit, I’m a sucker for names and when I heard the name of the Celestial Resort Pulau Ubin Singapore, I just needed to check it out. Then I looked online and said….eh…not so much. Reviews included the words bloodstained, worst service ever, mosquitos, and hell. I decided to pass since it was a bit out of the way. If you check it out, let me know.

Singapore lion cityOn the budget end of the scale there are a lot of options. Most of them I saw were on the level of Backpackers Inn – Chinatown. Not that clean, not that fun, not that interesting. I can’t particularly recommend any of them since River City Inn offered me a free nights stay but when I was delayed by a day sent me an invoice and Ark 259 was cheap and had rooms but was perhaps the loudest hostel I’ve stayed in. Here is a list of all the hostels in Singapore.

And for those looking for something more enjoyable,here is a fairly complete list of hotels in Singapore.

What hotels do you recommend in Singapore?