Doug Levitt has spent the last thirteen years on Greyhound buses. Logging over 120,000 miles on these humble transports, he has recently released a collection of work called The Greyhound Diaries chronicling his time spent traveling on the American highways–the relationships he’s forged, and the encounters he’s had.The singer-songwriter hadn’t planned on going on a decade-long gonzo foray into the bottom percentile of American life. A former war correspondent for CNN, he had volunteered with the John Kerry campaign in 2004. You can also follow him on twitter : Here.
Taking buses from town to town, he played music for locals in an attempt to register voters in small-town America for the Kerry ticket. Coming from a middle-class Washington D.C. background, he became enamored with the folks he met. These were people cut from every cloth of the U.S., but most were from a disenfranchised world he had never seen before. Former convicts, out of work Drug-addicts and mental health patients on the down-and-out populate these vehicles, and Levitt sought to understand them better, and America in the process. When the Kerry campaign came to a doomed close, Doug Levitt remained on the bus.
At sixteen years old, Levitt lost his father to suicide. During long miles and long conversations with his fellow passengers, he began to tell and work through his story. He was able to empathize with theirs. He’s encountered soldiers with prolonged guilt and heartache from deployments in the middle east who still carry guilt from lost comrades, or debilitating symptoms of PTSD. There’s the stories of addiction and redemption from grandparents, and tales of a corrupt prison system from former inmates. Levitt states that he was able to predict events such as the Great Recession and the rise of Trump from his conversations with fellow travelers. His time with society’s forgotten fringes has led him to greater self awareness and an understanding of the people at the bottom of the latter.Doug records his experiences and has selections of his recordings available in his public website.