This might be totally obvious for some but it took me some reading until I found how to backup some local directory location 1 into some other local directory, location 2 with bup.
Use the -d switch (for "use this directory").
By default, bup will use the target/destination directory which is in the $BUP_DIR environment variable. Which is normally set to be ~/.bup.
Note that unlike git, bup does not work "in the current dir", so cd'ing into some dir and expecting bup to write the backup there does not work.
In case you don't know, bup is this in-development backup solution based on the git packfile format, allowing you to do incremental backups, have all compressed well and it actually preserves xattribs.
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