Category Archives: What Am I Doing Here?

The Opposite of a Vagabond and the Opposite of a Vagobond

Happy 2016 – almost. It’s a few days off. An interesting question was posed by a long time reader several months ago. She asked “What’s the opposite of a Vagobond?”

It’s been bouncing around in my head through the holidays this year. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, my 44th birthday, and now on to New Years – I didn’t really have an answer. Or perhaps, I didn’t have an answer I was ready to give. Now, I think I can provide an answer – please don’t be too shocked.

The first thing we need to do is define what a Vagobond is – I spell it differently for a reason. A vagabond (normal spelling) is a person who wanders from place to place with no home or job. A Vagobond (my spelling) is someone who travels in such a way that they don’t need to have a huge budget (but can) and they come into close contact with the people, cultures, and landscapes they travel through. So, the opposite of a vagabond (normal spelling) is someone who does not wander from place to place and has both home and job. The opposite of a Vagobond (my spelling) is someone who needs to have a huge budget and avoids close contact with the people, cultures, and landscapes they are among. So, the anti-vagabond is a working/family person – someone who is settled and has both home and job. The anti-Vagobond is essentially, an ugly traveler – the type of traveler who has to travel first class and five star and spend a significant budget, complains the entire way, and does not leave the safe confines of the resort, try new things, or expose themselves to the people they are among.

Opposite of vagabond – person with steady income and settled home
Opposite of Vagobond – ugly traveler

To wit – and this is perhaps why I took so long to think this through – the past several years I have been quite the opposite of a vagabond but not once have I fallen out of being a Vagobond despite the stable life I have built for my family here on the Oregon Coast of the USA. While we have settled a home and built a life in the USA, we have, thankfully, not become ugly travelers. That being said – the transition from Vagobond to non-Vagabond has been an odd one. For those who don’t know, here is the story in brief:

In January of 2009 I left the USA without an intention of returning. I met and fell in love with my wife in Morocco. We were married and lived in Morocco and Turkey and were joined in our adventures in August 2011 by our daughter who we like to say was made in Turkey by a joint Moroccan and American partnership but was born in Morocco with USA citizenship. In 2013, we emigrated from Morocco to the USA because children in the US have many structural and societal advantages over children in Morocco or Turkey – where we also considered living.

I had what didn’t seem to be unrealistic expectations that as a seasoned travel writer, blogger, editor, and international hotel consultant, I would be able to land a job in the San Francisco Bay area. Yeah, right. I hadn’t considered the fact that I was a 40-something self-employed guy with a Bachelors degree and no job history in nearly a decade that wasn’t ‘self-employed’ which meant I had no Fortune 500 pedigree and I wanted more money than fresh graduates. We also had no housing references and quickly realized that we could not afford the insane California rents with first/last/deposit.

So we ran to the cheapest coastal town we could find so I could build something to support us. Since 2013 we’ve opened an antique shop and started publishing a small local events newspaper. Between our shop, the paper, Ebay, the flea markets, and a bit of writing/blogging income (it’s not what it used to be, that’s for sure) we’ve been making it here. It’s been a struggle, but we have a steady income and a settled home with a garden, furniture, and even a couple of luxuries. We haven’t had enough time or money to do very much traveling. Since 2013 we’ve explored the Pacific Coast from Victoria, British Columbia down to San Francisco and along the I-5 Corridor from Sacramento to Bellingham. I’m going to finally start writing about some of these adventures. In addition I did a no frills trip from Eugene to Tucson by air and then driving mostly non-stop from Green Valley, AZ to our home here in Reedsport.

It’s time to start revisiting some of my travels and photos from the past and I feel confident that 2016 is a year that we will again be doing more travel – maybe it’s just a hope, but when you start feeling that itch on your feet (and you’re like me) it means that great travels are coming. In the next weeks – I’m going to start sharing some of the gems of the Pacific Coast with you. And soon, I have that feeling, there will be exciting travels to share with you again.

In the meantime – I hope you enjoy the site and I wish you a Happy New Year for 2016.

Christopher Damitio aka “Vago”

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!