America or Bus: Bussing Through the Heartland with Doug Levitt

When art meets mission you get a lifetime of memories and a melodious musical portrait of society. At least, this is what Doug Levitt has created. He has spent the last 7 years and 70,000 miles traveling this country by way of the greyhound bus. During this time, he has collected stories and witnessed the beauty and courage of America as they waded through times of political unrest and financial upheaval.

Doug Levitt is not a stranger to storytelling. To begin this odyssey, he abandoned his life as an international news correspondent for CNN, ABC and NBC. Although he had grown up as the son of a Congresswoman (Carol Schwartz), he had known personal hardship. When he was 16 years old Doug found his father’s lifeless body after he had committed suicide. The sudden tragic loss of a parent, spurned him on his path to fully develop his artistry.

He started this project as simply a 6-week tour across the nation. Inspired by the WPA (Works Progression Administration) initiatives of the 30’s, Levitt also wanted to expose the country at its best and worst. He wanted to depict a full picture of American culture as it stands right now. He knew, that included showing the poverty and emotional unrest that is often left out of our portrayal to the world of what it means to be American.

After the first 6-weeks, Levitt felt a call on his life toward a bigger purpose. He knew the story was not yet complete. This led him to spend another 7 years on Greyhound Buses documenting the lives of some of the least wealthy travelers in our society.

His travels not only inspired 2 hope-filled albums of heartfelt original music aptly named “The Greyhound Diaries“, but also a website of photojournalism that shows the faces and scenic views of a country that is not often captured in totality by the media.

Every snapshot and every song is a glimpse into everything we love and hate about our nation. There is beauty in the honesty and purity of seeing life through the lens of a traveler on a Greyhound bus.

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