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Matador Trips co-editor, Carlo Alcos; Photos courtesy of Carlo Alcos

Do you know the names behind Matador’s blogs? In this new series, we’ll introduce you to the people who keep the Matador machine humming.

After recovering from two weekends spent re-flooring his campervan, Carlo Alcos takes a few minutes to tell us about himself.


Carlo Alcos

Role at Matador:

Co-editor of Matador Trips

Photo courtesy of Carlo Alcos

How You Found Matador:

I can’t recall exactly how I stumbled on Brave New Traveler, but that is the site that led me to Matador as the two had freshly merged. Specifically, it was Daniel Harbecke’s article Budget Travelers are Hippie Scum (try NOT to click on that link). It remains one of my all-time fave pieces on the network.

How You Got Brought on Board as an Editor:

I’d contributed a few articles across the network and was very active in the Community. I interacted with Matador members, read their blogs, commented on them, posted forum topics, and also read and commented on articles across the Matador network.

You’d have to ask the senior eds to verify this, but I think my involvement with Matador and the fact that the articles I submitted didn’t need much revising were key reasons why I was approached to join the team.

Where You Live:

Melbourne, Australia…for now.

Your Next Trip:

A 5-6 week cycling trip in Cuba — the inspiration started with this interview…Freewheeling: Lynette Chiang’s Two Wheel Journey from Cubicles to Cuba.

What You Do When You’re Not Working on Matador Stuff:

Besides holding down a 9-5 (I’m trying to quit…honest), I am currently in deep preparations and plans for leaving Melbourne in January 2010. My wife and I have about half a year planned; after that, it will be played by ear.

We’re working on a campervan conversion to tour Australia down the road: I Am S.A.M. the Van. I’ve just started my personal blog at and I’m also working on a new website, which will hopefully be launched before the new year!

A Favorite Travel Memory:

Here are two: skinny dipping in Lake Baikal in October and getting beaten with a besom in a Russian banya in Petrozavodsk.

Community Connection:

Want to read more from Carlo? Here are two of my favorites:

Hostel on Wheels: The Coolest Campers Around

A Budget Traveler’s Guide to Wedding Planning: 9 Useful Tips

About The Author

Julie Schwietert

Julie Schwietert Collazo is a writer, editor, researcher, and translator currently in New York, formerly of Mexico City and San Juan.

  • Paul Sullivan

    Love ya Carlo!

  • Candice

    Carlo is the reason I got my very first piece published at Matador…yay Carlo! You da man.

  • Nancy

    My opinion of your coolness has been validated! Great article. :)

  • Christine

    I didn’t need an article to know your coolness (and warmth), but it’s good to see it anyway :)

  • Hal Amen

    Carlo! Can’t wait to meet you in the “real” world, man. We gotta make that happen.

  • Abbie

    I really like this series, it’s interesting to read about everyone :) And Carlo- good luck with your cycling trip in Cuba!

  • Carlo

    Hey, that’s me!

    Thanks everyone for your kind words :)

    I definitely hope to meet some of you in person in the next year and more! Thanks Julie, made my Tuesday morning!

  • Nick

    “getting beaten with a besom in a Russian banya in Petrozavodsk”…now hang on, you can’t just chuck that out there and not expand on it in any way!!! I’m intrigued, and worried, but mostly just plain nosey…?

    • Carlo

      Hehe…Nick, I’m glad you asked! A banya is basically just a sauna…a frickin really hot sauna. It’s customary to lie down and have someone “beat you” with a besom…which is a bunch of birch branches/leaves tied together. They whack you up and down your body. I’m not 100% clear on the reason of this, maybe something to do with opening pores or something?? I didn’t find it particularly pleasurable.

      What’s also traditional (and I think they do this in the Scandinavian countries too) is to run out of the sauna and dive into a bank of snow, or a really cold lake (eg Baikal), then back into the banya. I skipped that part.

      • Nick

        Certainly sounds…memorable, if not fun! In the hammams in this region (sadly, there aren’t that many left in Egypt) you can have someone use a loofah type thing to remove your dead skin. Thick, soggy disgustingness, but you feel great after!

        I think you missed out on the hot-cold thing…I find jumping into really cold water is like a drug, just with a milder come-down and less free love. (I won’t ask you to elaborate on your skinny dipping experience!)

  • Lola

    More insight into the mind of Carlo!

    Great stuff. Didn’t even know about the campervan project until today :(

    Here’s to tons of travel adventures in 2010!

    • Carlo

      Careful though, don’t get too deep in! Scary stuff down there ;)

      Cheers, Lola!

  • Baxter

    Right on, Carlo – great to see you getting the good press you deserve.

  • Sophie

    “What’s also traditional (and I think they do this in the Scandinavian countries too) is to run out of the sauna and dive into a bank of snow, or a really cold lake (eg Baikal), then back into the banya. I skipped that part.”

    Yeah, we do this in Scandinavia too – although it’s most common in Finland. Nothing like a sauna, a bit of birch twig beating and a freezing skinny dip (and oftentimes vodka) to get the party started :)

    Have a good visit in Cuba. It’s lovely and warm, both the temperature and the people

  • Carlo

    @Sophie Oh yeah! How could I forget about the vodka…thanks!

    @Baxter Thanks man!

  • Matt Scott

    You’re a great support for everyone on the community Carlo. Thanks for all your hard work. It appreciated by a great many of us.

  • Tim Patterson

    Cuba! Sweet!

  • Carolyn

    I have a dream of SCUBA diving off Kangaroo Australia to see the leafy sea dragon .
    I saw them at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and fell in love with this leafy magical looking creature. I have to learn to SCUBA dive first – Kangaroo Island itself looks beautiful and very interesting – lots of birds, flowers, beaches, unusual animals. Now if I could only get paid to go there…

    If you are going to Australia and decide to check out Kangaroo Island (off S. Australia) I’d love to know more about it and what it’s really like!

    Also – thank you for encouraging words about writing up something for Trips or travel earlier. I did send one in about concentrating on Central Park in NYC. I used to spend hours there when not in out of the way museums.

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