Artist-Doug Levitt Pours out his Heart with Fellow Travelers on a Soul Searching Mission on the Grey Hound Buses

Doug Levitt is a former CNN foreign correspondent based in London. His passion for telling stories and music took him on a journey that even he, never imagined would make such a big impact on people’s lives. Ten years ago, Doug started riding in Grey Hound Buses across the US. He’s managed to cover nearly 120,000 miles journeying in different cities gathering stories from fellow passengers, taking photos and creating music from his traveling experiences.

In 2004, the former CNN war reporter was assigned a story to register voters for Presidential Democratic nominee John Kerry. He traveled in buses across the country from different randomly picked towns. The trips aroused his fascination, growing up from a middle-class lifestyle in DC; he had never met with these kinds of people on the buses and learn more about Doug.

The Grey Hound was a way of life to them. Some lived in small towns too far from any airport. Traveling by Greyhound was a revelation for him, seeing the country at every aspect of the American society is evident on the bus. On the bus, there is poverty, mental illness, addiction, and depression. His personal mental health was entangled in this journey too. Through strangers, Doug was also on a Healing Journey.

Doug Levitt’s latest travel chronicles highlight an experience from sharing a Grey Hound bus seat with a Nazi enthusiast. “He had a deftly meticulous prison tattoo – a Hitler and a swastika, on his arm and an Aryan Brotherhood sign,” recounts Levitt, a Jewish and former journalist. “I was truly scared, and astounded when he sat next to me.” They shared a double seat for the 20-hour ride, at some point, the guy offered Doug a sandwich and chose to bum on the floor and let Levitt sleep on the seats. Doug met strange people most of the time, no time to judge one another but truly share their deep hidden feelings or reveal disturbing secrets. Grey Hound diaries involve the collection of all these events, including music, poetry, and photos with complete strangers.

“Buses attract many ex-offenders because when they get out of jail, the state provides a bus pass back to where they were convicted,” he explains. His swastika-Hitler sporting neighbor, for instance, had just got out of prison and explained to Levitt the prison system, and how inmates racially segregate themselves and jailers turn into white supremacists.

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