Spanish World Explorer Alvaro Cerezo Shares How to Live Like a Castaway

Docastaway Alvaro Cerezo

His name is Alvaro Cerezo, founder of Docastaway, the only company in the world that helps people to become castaways on real desert islands. Alvaro is actually an Economist, but he never liked working in an office. His favorite activities include exploring remote desert islands for his clients but also spending time on those where historical castaways got stranded in the past.

Alvaro is allergic to cities. He enjoys solitude and the survival is just an extra because what it fascinates him the most is to feel far away from civilization, just like a castaway in the past. He said that life on a desert island nowadays is not so different from the one of a real castaway two or three centuries ago. Nothing has changed on these remote islands. It’s like travelling to the past.

Docastaway Alvaro Cerezo

How and why did you get into adventuring and traveling?

When I was eight years old, I used to spend my summer holidays with my family in a fishing village near Malaga, where is plenty of secret coves. I used to escape with my own little floating raft to a little secret cove called, ‘Calaiza’ I experienced for the first time what it felt like being a castaway.

When I was 19, I wanted to be a real castaway and set about finding help to fulfill my dream. I searched online (it was the beginning of internet) but I didn’t find anything, anybody, any organization, nothing offering this unusual enterprise. Then in 2003, I decided to do it myself and go on a real desert island, for the first time, to be precise, on the remote archipelago of Andaman and Nicobar (India). From then on I dedicated the rest of my youth to explore untouched archipelagos in different continents.

When I finished my University studies and knowing that it was impossible for me to spend the rest of my life working in an office, I did another search on Google but still there wasn’t any company offering castaway experiences. So as I was sure there were more people like me in the world, I decided to create ‘Docastaway’.

Docastaway Alvaro Cerezo
in Siroktabe, Indonesia

How do you prepare and plan your adventures?

When I was a teen, I used to prepare very much my next expeditions. Nowadays, I just improvise the day before.

In the past, I used to travel for three or four months. But nowadays, I can spend two or three years travelling without coming back home.

How do you finance your adventures?

My castaways finance my new explorations. My office work can be done from my laptop wherever I am. The only places where are not connected is when I am stranded on an island. Year by year my adventures are becoming more and more expensive, because every time I go to further archipelagos, specially in Oceania. When I am hard exploring in very remote areas.

Docastaway Alvaro Cerezo

How do you eat when you are travelling?

Eating has never been a problem for me. I can eat whatever is available. It depends where I am, but I can eat only coconuts or bananas for three days in a row. When I am travelling food means for me just ‘gasoline.’

…and sleep?

I sleep wherever it is available. In remote villages, I just ask anyone to host me in their house and I pay them a tip. Sometimes I go from zero comfort to 10 in only 24h. Maybe one day I sleep in super luxurious island resort (from our Comfort Mode islands) and next day I find myself in a tribal village sleeping on the floor surrounded by pigs. 🙂

Docastaway Alvaro Cerezo
Alvaro travelling with High Sierra Bag in the past

How do you bring your things with you?

I normally travel with a 20 – 25 kg luggage. Sometimes 30kg. I don’t travel with only- backpack anymore because I carry a lot of stuff for my work, like cameras, laptops, solar power, power banks, etc. So it is important that it has wheels. And it is also important that has big dimensions so I can carry wood, bamboo, machetes, and other survival material. I prefer to have empty space rather than a bag close to explode.

Right now, I am travelling with a huge Thule bag and I leave this bag in the houses/hostels when I go to explore and only carry a small Thule bag (it’s amazing how many things fit in this small bag). So far these two bags have been the most resistant I ever found for the sea and humid conditions. My last Thule bags lasted for two or three years travelling hard when other brands I used they lasted only one year before it breaks or the zips get rusty.

How do you organize things in your bags?

Everything is spreaded all over the bag. I am not a tidy person.

How do you protect your stuff?

Having waterproof/resistant bags is important. In fact, these Thule bags are water resistant in case a big wave crashes inside the boat.

Docastaway Alvaro Cerezo

Do you think it is important to invest in a good bag?

Absolutely. If a bag breaks up in the middle of a remote area, I am in big trouble. Then if I decide to buy a low quality bag in the local village (a Chinese brand), they don’t last more than a week before it breaks up again. So sometimes I have found myself very desperate to have a post address to receive a proper bag from Amazon, but it is difficult as I am always on the go, and I always leave the places before the package arrives. That’s the reason why I travel now with two small Thule backpacks instead of one (and I keep the other one in the big bag).

Docastaway Alvaro Cerezo

Any gear you wish you had brought with you from the beginning?

In addition to spare bags, I usually regret not to bring more spare credit cards: On the islands everything gets damaged quicker — because of the heat, the humidity, the saltpeter and the sand.

I also regret not bringing bigger multiplier sockets. Last time, I travelled with a 10-socket multiplier because I never had enough sockets to recharge all my 30 batteries in once.

…and did you ever bring too much of something?

I used to regret to bring to many clothes. But not anymore as I learnt the lesson long time ago. 🙂

Docastaway Alvaro Cerezo

What has been your best adventuring purchase below $100?

My Transcend Military drop proof HD. I always travel with two or three portable 2TB hard disk to keep my videos and also to have extra security copies. For me, the best model is the Transcend because it is Military drop proof. This drop feature is essential as I already broke Elements, Toshibas, etc. by just simple shocks inside my luggage. So far I never broke any of my Transcends.

What books/materials/gear/things that you use and can recommend?

Castaway books are always with me. When travelling I do:

1 – Sewing the pockets to the half of my cargo trousers (to avoid accidental falls/steals of passport, etc.)
2 – Getting super high quality backpacks (zips break in the most unexpected moments)
3 – Multiplier 5-10 sockets (sometimes houses or hostels have only 1 socket per room)
4 – Protect passport with a cover
5 – Waterproof smartphone (I lost so many by falling in the sea water, big wave or unexpected tide growth)
6 – Travel Pillow Cozzy that it can hold your chin.
7 – Earplugs
8 – Powerbanks

Docastaway Alvaro Cerezo

What will the future bring?

Keep exploring the untouched world. There are still some interesting desert islands out there.

Visit Alvaro Cerezo on his website and follow him on Facebook and Twitter


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