Have you ever met someone who is living the life you want to live and who really isn’t all that different from you, which makes you think anything is possible? I feel that way about the amazing Nathan (Nate) Fluellen of World Wide Nate fame. Nate has his own multi-media platform including a TV show funded and supported by BET Founder Bob Johnson, entitled “World Wide Nate: African Adventures”, a 22-minute per episode extreme adventure program streaming on UMC.TV, highlighting Africa as a premium tourist destination and working to dispel myths about Africa as a monolithic location despite being a continent of 54 distinct countries, warn-torn, impoverished and lacking but rather as a place of wonder, natural and human, abundance, cultural diversity, amazing opportunities for tourism, travel, and re-connecting to our ethnic and cultural heritage roots.
The show premiered on December 15, 2017 and thus far, the show has focused on Nate’s adventures including an animal translocation mission at the Phinda Game Reserve. That show entailed moving a wild male cape buffalo from one part of an animal preserve to another to make it easier for him to find the ladies, saving a rhino who got into a fight with another rhino and was injured, snorkeling with 12 oceanic black tip sharks off the coast of Durban, South Africa without the protection of a cage, glacial ice and rock ice climbing, to white water rafting down and bungee jumping into the mighty Zambezi river, and in the Congo hiking up for over five hours to the mouth of the Nyiragongo Volcano aka Mt. Nyiragongo, the largest lava lake in the world, one of only five in the world and one of two on the African continent, among other adventures …. and he has much more in store for his viewers in future episodes.
For someone who has traveled to over 60 countries and been on six continents, the obvious question is what is your favorite travel destination? Without hesitation, though he did preface his response by saying every place he has been is distinct and he has had a great time in each one, Nate said his hands down favorite city in the world is Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; so much so in fact, that he spent this past New Year’s Eve (NYE) there and has been there for three NYEs thus far and has plans to return.
Nate’s love for Rio stems from the fact that for him, Rio feels like home and is a place where he is among family. Rio for Nate is an alternate world or a parallel universe, where “our boat went left and their boat went right”. When Nate is in Rio, he feels more of a connection to his African roots and heritage because in his view the Portuguese were not as ruthless and painstaking about stripping away all aspects of African roots and heritage from our ancestors and as a result for many Afro-Brazilians their connections to their origins, history, and African roots persisted. This connection is very much on display in daily life, even influencing wider Brazilian culture.
Nate loves the beaches of Rio from Copacabana to Ipanema, to the carefree lifestyle of the Carioca people aka Rio residents, (referring to Rio residents as Cariocas is like referring to residents of New York City as New Yorkers). Nate has traveled extensively throughout Rio from the ultra-chic, ultra-rich neighborhoods to the favelas (the Brazilian version of the “hood” in the US), all in an effort to connect with Brazilians from all walks of life and to have authentic and meaningful experiences. Brazilian culture is so diverse and multi-layered that Nate strives to peel back a layer each time he travels to Rio and is in large part why he goes back so often.
His favorite country is South Africa. His love for South Africa dates back to Nate’s childhood when he was a little boy in Chicago watching “Shaka Zulu” and the admiration he cultivated and felt for the Zulu people and African culture, which in turn sparked his curiosity to travel to South Africa. What he discovered when he got there was nothing short of mind-blowing in terms of challenging stereotypes and ill-conceived notions of Africa. Imagine going to the beach and seeing nothing but black and brown bodies and the occasional white body instead of the opposite? That is what he experienced when visiting the beaches of South Africa. When he went to Kruger National Park, he was overwhelmed by the natural beauty of the park and the feelings of wonder one can experience in the presence of big game wildlife and was hooked on South Africa henceforth.
Nate is a person who likes to test boundaries and push the envelope. He says, “If it is new and interesting and it seems like a good story, he is down for it,” when thinking about the types of travel he likes to entertain and what he wants to promote to his base. Growing up he would watch movies like the National Lampoon series, Friday the 13th, and others that promoted camping, camp life, and would want to do those things too. However, he never did at that time because he came up in an era where those activities were characterized as “white people stuff”. However adult Nate is here to tell you that activities like ice and rock climbing, surfing, camping, snorkeling, diving, swimming, etc. is “everyone’s stuff” and he is happy to be the spokesperson for that lifestyle, demonstrating the endless possibilities available to us all.
To learn about Nate and his adventures please visit: www.worldwidenate.com