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

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.


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.


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


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 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!