Rough Living: Tips and Tales of a Vagabond

This was the first book I ever wrote. You can still buy the original version of kindle or you can go modern and get the 2013 Master Edition which has been expanded and updated. Tips and Tales of a VagabondStories of ultra budget travels in Asia and North America, how to live life enjoyably without a job, plus the rather remarkable story of how Vago Damitio went from sleeping in his car to traveling the world. No money, no problem.

Available for the Kindle on


A Hippified Action Adventure Hero

Rough Living: Tips and Tales of a Vagabond is a self-published tome by Pacific Northwesterner Chris Damitio. The first half of the book consists of handy candid advice about living on the street, in the wilderness, your car, or just couch surfing. Notable nuggets include a section on hitchhiking etiquette from both perspectives and how to roll a cigarette out of the tobacco at the bottom of found butts. Whether taken as practical advice or appreciated by the vicarious
“armchair adventurer,” as Damitio likes to say, the contents are practical and entertaining.

The second and longer section of the book is a lyrical journal of Damitio’s adventures, both domestic and abroad. In them, the reader gets to see many of the tips and dangers spoken of in the first section played out in nonfiction prose. As someone who chooses luck and adventure over the indenture of employment, Damitio’s vignettes take place among the temporary communities of traveling foreigners and wizened urchins. As Damitio explores the planet, there’s a nice blend of jovial drunk and stoned adventures, and serious thoughtful reflections.

Like the Jacks, Black and Kerouac, Damitio’s style is both entertaining and industrial. There are occasional moments that slip into the Kerouacian touristy arrogance, such as the section in which Damitio smugly takes in a wealthy, vacationing couple by wondering if he could have a wife as beautiful as the woman if he were to afford as large a jewel as the one she sports on her finger. Lao-lao whiskey, opium, and pot all thread their way into the narrative, and Damitio’s enthusiasm for intoxication is just one of the many facets of his political philosophy that are revealed in the book.

Like a hippified action adventure hero, Damitio’s tales of travel show the reader how to be resourceful (he got his plane fare to Asia at the slot machines) and heroic (he helps save women from a lewd tourist, then saves the drunk tourist’s life). Rough Living is a perfect example of the old road romance made contemporary. For those tempted to test their luck, it’s addictive, like missives from an eloquent friend abroad.

~MARJORIE SKINNER- Portland Mercury

Fun and informative

A quick read with fun facts about the vagabond life. Cover how to stay clean, eat well, entertain yourself, educate yourself, and be safe. Very enjoyable. Makes me want to quit my job and buy a van.


It may not be a book for everyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you’re into counterculture alternative lifestyle, you will njoy the book.

Money Well Spent

It was money well spent. I recommend it to anybody who is interested in a simpler, cheaper way to live.

Optimistic and Positive

This book had me captivated with the optimistic and positive tone the author uses to uplift his situation.

Fantastic Read

I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this book! I felt like I was tagging along right there with you in so many of your adventures!!

Unique man, Unique book, Unique life

After first previewing its sample, I downloaded this kindle book. It seems to be pretty useful for someone new to the game of being houseless. Probably, less so for those that have been there, and done that. Recipes, methods, and experiences of a man that lives without a home yet Manages to eat, work, play, and live without overburdening society , or bending to its every whim. Neat ideas for those that get tired of bending and a stooping for “your betters”, the American way, at minimum wage, and need a way out . The author has a method and a path few can handle indeed it is Rough Living,but a living it is, and if You feel yourself circling the drain again, do not know what to do, or where to do it, these ideas maybe your cup of tea or a liferaft even.

Changed My Life

Reading this book made me buy a hammock. I’m not kidding–I actually sleep in a hammock now. Changed my life.

A Guide to Independent Living

I think independent living is a better way to look at this than homelessness. A very interesting read. I could not put it down. I hate my job, and wouldn’t mind a little Hawaii adventure myself. With our economy the way it is, Vago’s book should be read by all and kept for reference.

A Thought Provoking Read

Presently I am an armchair traveller and even own a small house (3 bedroom to myself!) but the thing is I am thinking that I will have to sell it because I will soon have no money to pay the bills and I am finding it impossible to find work even though (and I agree completely with how you describe it) I would try it again if there were an opportunity but… hence in searching I found your guide.

I guess I would like to have the best of both worlds, my nice very comfy bed and also the “grasshopper” experience.

I really agree with a lot of the things in your online guide in fact reading it constantly brought back memories of life experiences from all different periods of my 45 years, some from when I have bummed around although I can see that I was only playing at it although there were real enough moments aplenty.

You talk about people going crazy away from the fire shadows but I am beginning to feel like I may go crazy not being away from them.

Well sometime in the next half year or so it seems I will have to decide on selling up and hitting the road or whatever else I can do. I may try your techniques to try and make some kind of plan.

In your writing you seem very wise and well adjusted and decent guy. I’m almost suspicious how you can live how you do and still be like that? It also surprised me that a lot of things you talk about I also apply to living in this house. Common sense I suppose but its nice to see it written as confirmation.

I don’t feel I need to wish you luck. Maybe you are that millionaire already and if not well I am sure you deserve to be.

I hope you don’t mind me writing this. You always say to say thank you so I thank you for what I have read that you have written . I enjoyed it very much and will ponder it further as I search for my direction.

An Eye Opening Experience

The information in this book was really an eye-opening experience for me showing me how this can be done and how one can travel around and make things work.

Great, interesting read, full of information

I stumbled across a copy of this manual randomly somewhere on the internet. I had been searching thinks like “hitchhiking” and other such free methods of travel and someone on a forum linked this book. I ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting, pretty interested in all the advice that it contained about living life comfortably while still being without a home.

I would recommend it for anyone considering going on a little adventure of their own, anyone that is considering shedding the shackles of traditional living or even someone who just wants a short but fun read. I would certainly recommend it.

Life Off the Grid

Rough Living is well and honestly written. It tells how to survive outside the mainstream on little or no money. It’s also a darn good story of one man’s adventure. Mr. Damitio tells us honestly that he did some things that he would not do again, nor does he condone nor suggest anyone else use some of his methods; he simply tells us the tale “in the raw”. I found the book useful, besides being a great adventure tale. Thanks Chris, for everything. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants out of the “rat race”, it gives you an honest look at what it’s really like. Great book!

Tells it like it is

If you want to live on the edge but don’t want to take the risks involved, this book is a good way to do both. It showed me a world that I normally would never venture into. The tales are interesting and his honesty and craziness are reminiscent of the beatnik writers of the 50s and 60s.

I Wish It Was Longer

This guy goes from having a job to being homeless and broke and then somehow ends up in China and all these Asian countries where he makes friends and has incredible adventures. Then somehow he runs out of money again and ends up in Hawaii…

A glimpse into the life of living under the grid

The apparent hierarchy among various homeless types was a revelation, as were the various make-it-yourself appliances.

Handy Info

An excellent handbook to an interesting lifestyle. Discusses both pros and cons; is unflinching in it’s honesty. Damitio writes in a style that is philosophical, practical and fun. Highly recommended.

Good Advice

This is a really good and practical book on urban camping; ie, voluntary homelessness. It gives a lot of good advice and delves into a lot of the concerns you’d have if you were going to do something crazy like live in your car for an extended period of time. There are some topics that he doesn’t cover in detail, little things like how important it is to eat healthy, and what happens when you are wearing shoes all day every day because you have no place to kick them off and relax. But mostly he’s got the major points covered.


rlusmCould Not Break Away From It

I just downloaded and read your book tittled, “Rough Living, An Urban Survival Manual.” I could not brake away from the book until I had finished it. I am currently 25 and have just recently walked out on my very good job as a Toyota Fleet manager in Fairfield, CA to pursue a more fitting lifestyle so I would no longer fee as if I was wasting my youth. I have always had a different take on life from that of my friends and family. I have been telling myself that soon, very soon I am going to wander off into the woods with just a knife a water container and some matches. Frankly I believe that humans are ignoring what is so amazing about being human. We are (or rather can be) intelligent, adaptable creatures, and I just need to know that I can survive and function on my own without electricity, cable internet, media influences,jobs…all these conveniences that more and more just feel like a choke collar stripping me (humans) of their natural resourcefulness. Anyways, I apologize for rambling, I think I just need to hear my own thoughts out loud. I enjoyed your book very much and thank you for sharing your adventures and thoughts with the rest of the world. I cant wait to download more of your writings.

Motivated Me

I just finished reading your book, and I must say, I liked it a lot. I am heading to New Orleans shortly to help out in anyway I can. My problem is I had surgery done on my shoulder a few months back and it ran me completely broke. I never did have very high expectations, but I must tell you, your book helped to remind me and motivate me for my journey from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. thank you!

A Fabulous Tool To Change the World!

I just wasted a couple of hours of my company’s time reading your book, Rough Living. Thanks for writing it, as it was a lovely read… So, where are you now and what are you doing? You probably get a zillion e-mails, but I do hope to hear from you. I’ve been telling a lot of people about your book… I waitress and keep a copy at the restaurant, so when I bring it up with tables, I can show them. It’s fun… a great conversation piece and a fabulous tool to change the world. I’m about to read your other book… very excited about it. Have a fun day!If you’re ever in Baltimore, I would love to offer you lunch or dinner or breakfast… I’m usually a little cranky in the morning though so unless it’s on the weekends, I’d stick with lunch or dinner… Anyway. Thanks. Have a happening day.

The waitresses, proofreaders, the vagabonds, and the wanderers. You have made it worthwhile for me to have written.

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