Interview : Why Carlos Melia sometimes get caught off guard
Today we interview Carlos Melia, currently a travel agent, luxury travel curator & blogger, wedding planner, public relations & marketing. Carlos Melia currently is also a member of Tzell Network, Signature Travel Network, MLGTPP and IGLTA. He won Mr Gay International in 2008. He also works for LGBT organizations world wide. We talk about how he got off guard in a foreign country and what destinations have left a mark in his life.
Hello Carlos, please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Carlos Melia, 39 years old a travel agent, luxury travel curator & blogger, wedding planner, public relations & marketing expert. Being in this industry for the last 25 years and have traveled extensively around the globe since very young age, my main focus is Luxury Gay Travel, but as I always emphasize, despite my native tongue is Gay, I am fluent in Straight, so everyone is welcome.
You describe yourself as a Travel Agent, Luxury Travel Curator & Blogger, Wedding Planner, Public Relations & Marketing Expert. How did you manage to find success in so many roles.
Simple, all roles are integrated and part of what a true bespoke travel agent is supposed to be. Global travel experience, know-how, contacts and background working with different cultures, destinations, paradigms and entities. I always say that within the LGBT segment, I am a one-stop-shopping for travel suppliers, I am able to review, position, promote and sell them. Being a travel agent allows me to plan international gay weddings and all the details around them. By being a travel curator, I am able to scout for the best experiences, venues, hotels and destinations worldwide. As a public relations and marketing agent, focused on tourism and hospitality, I can package all these mentioned before and make then interact, to be presented to the general public.
You were chosen Mr Gay International in 2008. Please share your experience about it.
It was a fast track from being a respected professional, to being a worldwide known respected travel professional, and this happened overnight. It gave me the chance to open new market and horizons. The experience itself, now that I see it from the distance, was quite enjoyable. After winning the title and serving my term, I was appointed Director for South/Central America, Mexico and The Caribbean, a duty I took for the next three consecutive years. This gave me the chance to see and experience all sides and aspects of the competition. After three years, I was happy to step out and move on to new personal projects.
You travel independently, what are the positives and negatives of it?
Most pros might become at some point cons. I do travel independently, despite my joint and synergistic work with hotels, airlines, tourism offices etc. But I always express my honest point of view, without nor under any pressure to favorite any product, services or company. The cons I have found along the way, is reader and colleagues questioning me why I rarely do negative reviews, which has been an editorial decision I have taken long time ago. The premise is ” I do not like it, I do not talk about it”. CarlosMeliaBlog is only one of the few contact points I have with my clients, and there I choose to keep a positive voice, featuring those who stand out based on a combination of factors and overall experience. Negative experiences are kept to my own, classified material to be shared with my clients, and my final recommendations when planning their next getaway, event or travel experience.
Have you ever felt emotional in your travel experience?
Always !!! For me travel is all about experiences, if a destination does not move me or get me emotional, then I am not interested. Usually this doesn’t happen overnight. Destinations grow on me, and leave a mark and teaching to carry on. Nowadays I find my most emotive moments traveling across Asia.
What is the most valuable lesson you learnt from traveling?
Be open minded. There are so many paradigm out there, and practically despite of Globalization, you can still see each continent as a full different paradigm, that if you keep open minded and receptive.
What is your advice to gay travelers who are traveling in countries where the society is conservative?
Be yourself, respect the others. Keep your money were it is welcomed. Explore the world with open mind, away from any Ghetto.
What is your most favorite and least favorite country to travel?
Favorite countries are Thailand, Hong Kong, Laos, England, Italy, Turkey… among a few others. Least favorite would have to be Jamaica.
One place where you would like to go again and again?
Thailand, Hong Kong, London – England, St Barth…
What has been your most embarrassing moment in a foreign country?
Everytime I do not know a word in the local language to express my gratitude to the locals. I always try to learn how to say Hello, Thank You, Goodbye and Good Night. Sometime I am caught off guard and I feel very disrespectful.
What is your favorite travel app?
XE for currency Exchange. Camera + which I use for almost 80% of my photos. Other than that I do not use Apps much.