A paradisiacal deserted island. Only the rising and setting of the sun marks the passing of time, the waves crashing on the shore act as the soundtrack, the freshly caught fish cooked over an open fire for dinner. Who, after imagining a scene like this, does not dream for at least a moment to live this straight out-of-a-movie experience, to live an unforgettable adventure in an idyllic place?
This is exactly what DOCASTAWAY promises (and delivers), an idea born from the mind of Alvaro Cerezo, a nomadic dreamer with two feet firmly planted on the ground. A company designed to offer travelers the experience of living as modern castaways, offering a luxurious getaway in total isolation or the chance to test one’s endurance limits like a spartan.
If the idea intrigues you, read our interview with Alvaro, daydream with the magnificent images of the islands and don’t forget to leave a comment or two!
Enjoy the journey castawayers!
What is DOCASTAWAY all about?
The aim of DOCASTAWAY is to help people escape from civilization to become voluntary castaways for a few days. We offer a selection of deserted islands, located in different archipelagos around the world. We are not trying to teach Docastawayers how to survive on a deserted island, but rather to give lovers of nature and virgin beaches the chance to enjoy their holidays in the most far flung and paradisiacal islands on the planet. You don’t need to be a great adventurer to enjoy the experience, since we have also prepared a “comfort mode” where you can still feel like a castaway, without giving up the comforts of modern day life.
How did you come up with the idea?
Since I was a kid, one of my hobbies was to explore deserted beaches with my raft near where my family went on summer holiday, and of course, not under the watchful eye of my parents.
When I was older, which coincided with the start of the Internet and the emergence of Google, I started searching for a company or organization that could help me become a real life castaway on a deserted island, but to no avail. Then in 2003, I decided to have my own castaway experience, something that I repeat every year always on a different archipelago. In 2008, I was surprised to see that there still weren´t any offers for these deserted island experiences, but since I was convinced there were more “crazies” like myself somewhere out there in the world, I decided to create DOCASTAWAY.
Was it hard to carry out?
It wasn’t easy since thousands of doubts invaded my head at first. You have to keep in mind that in the beginning I didn’t know the exact profile of these castaways. In addition, working in remote locations is a daily challenge because it is hard to find skilled workers. To this day we continue to learn and improve so that our castaways can enjoy increasingly higher levels of isolation.
How do you find the islands you offer to your clients? How do you manage to “protect” them from tourists?
Finding a deserted island with the ideal characteristics for voluntary castaways and also where fishermen do not frequent, isn’t an easy task, it requires months of exploration in remote archipelagos to come across something worthwhile.
To protect these islands, we assign them imaginary names. It isn’t a foolproof method, but at least it increases the amount of time our castaways can enjoy the solitary life. Every year we try to discover new deserted islands to add to our portfolio, which we change constantly as we sometimes find they become “tainted” as time passes.
What is the average profile of your clients? What do they look for: adventure or relaxation?
I think there are two different types of castaways. First, you have those that want a solo experience, which without a doubt goes hand in hand with more quirky personalities and those that want to find out what their limits are.
Another type of castaway are couples who have experienced places like the Maldives or Phuket and were disappointed to see that they weren’t the paradises they had envisioned once they saw they would be sharing the beach with others. So now they come to DOCASTAWAY to have a true getaway on their next vacation.
Speaking of your clients, what experiences have stood out the most to you?
Undoubtedly, the castaway who caught my attention the most is Ian Stuart Argus. This 64-year-old millionaire, who was the owner of famous properties like No Man’s Land Fort and Hasting Pier, flew to Indonesia first class and stayed at the best hotel in town, to in turn, arrive on a deserted island with only a machete in hand. Ian slept outdoors every day and even ate cabbage and bread that the tide had brought in. Furthermore, many afternoons he went to the highest point on the island to connect to the Internet and be able to buy and sell shares on the London Stock Exchange. You can learn more about his fascinating story in this article.
What is a trip with DOCASTAWAY like? Do you organize the activities and itineraries or does it depend entirely on the client?
We plan the whole trip, we pick our clients up at the airport, bring them to the island, and bring them back to the airport on their last day. During their stay, we are always on stand-by close to the deserted island in the case of emergency.
Have you personally tried any of the experiences that you offer on your website?
I’ve tried all of them. Keep in mind that before we offer a deserted island to our clients, it’s tested by at least 2 or 3 different people to make sure, among other things, that the level of isolation is the minimum required. And obviously I am the first to test it.
Where have you traveled up until now and what is your travel style?
You could say that I spend my whole life traveling to remote locations across various continents, although I go to Asia more often, especially Indonesia and the Philippines. I just got back from Australia where I spent a few days with the real life castaway, David Glasheen, on his deserted island and in a few weeks I’ll go to a few remote islands in the Pacific (Vanuatu, Samoa, Fiji, etc.).
I don’t know what my travel style is, but I think I have a pretty nomadic lifestyle: it’s been two years since I’ve stepped foot in Europe, I travel daily to various continents, have no home base and my whole life fits in a suitcase that weighs 30kg.
If you had to pick one, where would you say is your favorite destination?
Hard question because of the amount of fascinating places that exist. If I don’t include deserted islands, my favorite country is probably India.