“Fill someone’s day with good conversation, and I’ll show you a happy and purposeful soul.” That’s the voice of Nate Fluellen describing his deeply personal view of life as he journeys through it. One of Fluellen’s favorite life adventures is to travel to the continent of Africa and engage in conversations with the folks from its more than 50 countries.
Fluellen sees Africa as the land carved out of glory and a place where you often see smiles shine like the sun. Yes, he really speaks like this, and he gets very excited about the diversity and what he calls the real truth about Africa’s many cultures. While sitting with him at his home in Los Angeles, Fluellen surrounds himself with a few items and garments from indigenous people. They are similar to the garments featured in the movie sensation, “Black Panther.”
Calling Africa a misunderstood and understated marvel, he says the continent is where its people seem to always create endless opportunities that spark ingenuity. Fluellen, who calls himself World Wide Nate, is extraordinarily wise about the world. It appears that travel and adventure are in his genes. He sometimes likens himself to a griot or djeli (African keeper of stories).
He shares with us that much of what’s taught in schools about African people and their cultures is grossly understated and falsely presented. The United States has a population of 300 million people, but Fluellen says fewer than 10 percent of Americans and less than 1 percent of Black Americans travel to countries in Africa. Those who do visit the continent often find its people extremely gracious, welcoming and very knowledgeable about America. Many Africans enjoy lifestyles that are equal to and in some instances surpass those of some Americans.
Fluellen recalls meeting a native tour guide who was overjoyed to tears seeing him, a Black American, visiting Zambia. By the way, Zambia is the place of the majestic Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River. Producers of “Black Panther” simulated the falls as part of the fictional nation of Wakanda.
He credits his mother with influencing and planting the seed of courage to travel the globe. “My mom has traveled to Brazil, South Africa, Egypt and Italy multiple times, often for church missionary work. I have an uncle who always had these great stories about playing ball in Paris. I have two cousins who played basketball in Norway, Australia, and Spain. I have another cousin who travels the world working with international hotel groups,” he shares.
While attending Tennessee State University, a professor recognized Fluellen’s curiosity and strongly encouraged him to venture out and see the world. Part of the instructor’s challenge was for Fluellen to see more of the world that he had not seen. That meant he would have to travel to more than 80 countries. To date, Fluellen has been to 60.
He’s been actively living his dream since 2004 as the creator of the global lifestyle show, “World Wide Nate,” where he loves showcasing cultures, foods and excursions from across the world, as told from a fitness and clean-living enthusiast.
So, you might be asking yourself, “How can I travel the world? How can I afford to travel?” Fluellen says traveling the world has never been so affordable that it is today. There are many online travel showcases sponsored by countries that periodically offer incredible vacation packages at extraordinary pricing. Do a little homework online, ask friends and family who travel about their experiences, make a lot of phone calls and then negotiate for when and what works for you.
Another suggestion includes modifying one’s lifestyle. Some everyday working folks choose to buy expensive luxury cars or designer shoes, clothing, spend weekends at nightclubs or jewelry. While there is nothing wrong with that, Fluellen encourages you to think of the alternatives. The cost of three or four expensive car payments and insurance could fund your adventures overseas. He says it can boil down to what you value most about your personal life – spending money on things that depreciate or investing in yourself and destinations that enrich life. Fluellen shares with us that smiles, memories and life experiences are forever priceless.
Once you catch the travel bug, it’s likely you will never see the planet the same ever again. Fluellen says every time he sets foot on African land, “I cherish the experience because there’s nothing like meeting new people and exchanging your life experiences as they share their culture and languages with you.”
He proudly adds, “Whenever I learn a few new words, a few new phrases of someone’s language I feel as though I’m standing 10 feet tall and just a bit more connected to humanity. I’ve made a new friend.”
Lastly, Fluellen encourages folks to travel through various stages of life. Perhaps with your parents to see travel adventures through their eyes. Second travel as a single person and experience adventures on your own terms. Lastly, travel with your significant other and later on take adventures with your children and create legacy moments for all of you.
You can catch Fluellen in action during season two of his African Travel show, “World Wide Nate” on the Urban Movie Channel beginning Friday, April 6. You can also follow his adventures daily on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Photos credit: Nate Fluellen (World Wide Nate)