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Vago Damitio – Extraordinary Free Vagabond Radical

I suppose it’s high time I wrote my own story – before someone else does. This is just the cliff notes version, Steven Spielberg has been asking to do the film.  ~Vago Vago DamitioVago Damitio is the master of Micro Victories. He is a  free vagabond radical having fun and pissing on the accepted and the expected. He currently lives in Reedsport, Oregon with his wife and daughter.   The Early Years 1972 Vago DamitioVago Damitio was born on a crunchy snow white morning in Tacoma, Washington to a waitress and a musician on December 27, 1971. He is the fifth generation of Damitio’s born in the Puget Sound Region and descended from the Walkers, Boones, and Mcleods on his mother’s side. There is some talk of royals and Cherokees in his family but one thing is certain, he was born of a family of pioneers. His ancestors were some of the first Amercians in the Pacific Northwest, the first Europeans in the Americas, and the first oil men in the Gulf States. Both of his grandfathers worked in the Middle  East during the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. Their far ranging tales and his grandmother’s collection of National Geographic Magazines led him to a thirst for travel and adventures. 1976 Vago DamitioHis given name was Christopher and he was variously known as Chris, Christ (rhymes with Twist), and finally Vago.  His childhood was spent exploring old ghost towns of the West, hiking in the mountains, and camping in the great National Parks of America.  Significant time was spent digging underground forts and building treehouses in the mountains and forests of California and Oregon. An early love of books led to all of these forts being well stocked with books about travel and adventures. From about the age of ten, Vago set about discovering how to survive in the wilds and create everything he needed. From solar stills to trapping, tanning skins to building bows and arrows from raw materials, to knapping stone tools surviving in the wilds with minimal tools or equipment. He would set out on solo camping trips in which he tested himself in the wilds from about the age of twelve onward.  He became an expert with firearms and upon graduating high school opted to join the US Marines because it seemed like the most challenging thing he could put before himself. Sergeant of Marines Vago DamitioHis decision to join the Marines was also based on a sense of patriotism since the US was about to engage in the first significant war since Vietnam. Stories of the mighty Iraqi army and how difficult it would be to defeat the terrible Republican Guard laid his duty before him clearly.  The war was over before he’d completed the three months of boot camp in San Diego.  Over the next four years, he served honorably, became an expert with rifle, pistol, and knife,  and achieved the rank of Sergeant before completing his obligation and earning an Honorable Discharge. He was never required to kill anyone in the service of his country, which was a huge blessing. Radical and Dropout Vago DamitioIn 1995 he returned to the Pacific Northwest where he worked in radio, film, and print journalism while achieving a minor degree in journalism.  His explorations of Alaska, the UK, the USA, and Canada brought him into contact with new ideas and new people and in 1996 he decided that firearms were too dangerous to be in the hands of individuals and responsibly sold all of his guns. In hindsight, he wishes he would have simply melted them down so there would be that many fewer guns in the world.  From 1998 to 2000 he published and edited Conchsense , a magazine dedicated to finding the meeting point between creativity and community. By the end of 1999, Conchsense had become too radical for it’s advertising base after a year spent organizing for the World Trade Organization Protests in November of 1999. The protests were a success in that they shut down the WTO meeting in Seattle, but a failure in that they didn’t change the general idea and caused the global governing body to rethink how it would deal with protest and dissent. In 2000, Vago laid Conchsense to rest and joined a Silicon Valley dotcom startup called TechPlanet as a partner in Seattle. Techplanet was typical of greedy venture capital startups Vago Damitioand operated more on hype than substance. Seeing the writing on the wall, Damitio retired from corporate life with no money or stock options. His final act at TechPlanet was to send out an email to all the employees that they should leave before the company told them it wouldn’t be able to pay them. Two months later, the company sent a notice asking employees to work without pay while they secured financing.  Two weeks after that, the headquarters in Silicon Valley closed without notifying the other 52 offices around the US and that was the end of that. No one got any stock options. Vago DamitioVago’s next gig (late 2000) was working as a community organizer for ACORN (the Association of Communities Organizing for Reform Now) where he helped organize tenants to fight for bettter conditions from slumlords and worked on bringing about awareness of predatory lending. When he suggested to his union members that they go throw bricks through the Countrywide Mortgage windows,  his superiors decided it was time for him to move on. Too radical for ACORN. $150 VW BusAt this point, Vago decided to lead by example. He would move out of his house, live in his VW van (which he’d bought for $100), and demonstrate how those who would soon be evicted from their homes could not only survive, but thrive.  Over the next twenty weeks he lived the life of a road warrior while discovering how to live in America with no home, no job, no money, and plenty of ingenuity. Vago DamitioThe universe told him to quit in 2001 when he won more than $2000 on a slot machine at an Indian casino.  With that money he bought a ticket to China, secured a visa and left everything he’d known behind for the next four months while he climbed sacred peaks in China, met with the hill tribes in Laos, explored deserted islands in Thailand, and finally took a job teaching English in the tiny town of Parapat in Sumatra, Indonesia. He left Parapat when the parents of his students told him thatVago Damitio it was no longer safe to stay. Muslim vs. Christian violence was becoming terrible in Aceh, Medan, and other regions. While he would have loved to stay, it seemed wise to leave when the locals said it was no longer safe. Returning to the USA was a shock after living among people who were quite happy with very little. The USA by contrast seemed to be a country where people were unhappy no matter how much they super-sized their lives. After the tragic events of September 11, 2001 – Vago was a vocal opponent of revenge killing and making war to feel better but watched as flag waving American zealots ripped up his signs which read “Drop bread, not bombs. Enough have died already.” Kama’aina and Aloha Ambassador Vago DamitioSeeing that flag waving had replaced intelligent thought, Vago wanted to get away from the USA again.  By selling everything he owned he was able to buy a one way ticket to Hawaii. He arrived with $100 was relieved to see that in Hawaii at least, people weren’t screaming for blood.  From then until 2008, Vago lived in Hawaii and traveled in the Pacific exploring the Hawaiian Islands, French Polynesia, Guam, and the Philippines.  In 2003 he wrote his first book Rough Living: Tips and Tales of a Vagabond. It was from this book that he earned the name Vago. A friendly bartender at the bar where he would think, drink, and peddle his books began to call him ‘the Vagabond’, then ‘Vagobond’, then ‘Vago’. During his time in Hawaii he worked in Tourism. He workedVago Damitio camp as a kayak guide on the island of Kauai, a rain forest hiking guide on the island of Oahu, and developed luxury tours on the islands of Oahu, Kauai, and Maui for a high end limousine company. By the end of 2008, he had also earned a degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. During his time at UHM, Vago was the President of the Honor Student Society, Managing Editor of the student newspaper Ka Leo,  and president of the UH chapter of the Sierra Club. Vago DamitioHe graduated with highest honors in the top .1% of his class. Along the way, he worked towards a minor in film making at UH’s Academy of Creative Media. His anthropological focus was on the anthropology of tourism, and the anthropology of the internet with his thesis looking at the formation of real world friendships through online interaction. It specifically used the fan boards for the TV show LOST which was filmed entirely in Hawaii. His ground breaking work was presented at the prestigious annual gathering of the American Anthropological Association in San Francisco. Leaving Hawaii and Finding the World Vago DamitioAt the end of 2008 he left Hawaii to see if he could find his place in the world. At this time, he changed the focus of his blog from writing and cultural oddities to travel. Vagobond.com was born.  He met his future wife in Morocco in February of 2009. In April of 201o they were married. In August of 2011 they welcomed their daughter Sophia into the world. During the four years since he’s left Hawaii, he’s been to more than 40 countries but still not found anywhere quite as wonderful as the land of Aloha. Currently, Vago and his family live in Sefrou, Morocco where they are waiting to hear back from the US Visa and Immigration Service so that they can all return to the USA and perhaps eventually to Hawaii. Vago is the author numerous articles, pamplets, and stories. He blogs at http://www.vagodamitio.com and is the Editor in Chief of this site (Vagobond.com)  He is also the author of the following books: Vago DamitioRough Living: Tips and Tales of a Vagabond (2003) Slackville Road (2004) The Princess and the Vagabond (2005) The Hu Factor (2006) Lost in Transmediality: Exploring LOST and It’s Fans (2008)Vago Damitio Liminal Travel (2009) Spiritual Fasting: Faith, Love, and Jihad (2010) Finding your Passion Income: Becoming Free (2010) Douchebags, Fags, and Hags (2011) Meliptimous Taggle and Other Stories (2012) Not My Morocco (2012)vago damitio hawaii Smooth Living: Beyond the Life of a Vagabond (2013) The Keys to the Riad (2013)Vago Damitio

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Vago Damitio

Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook

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