Travel is life for Nathan Fluellen—and he knows he’s not a unicorn. That’s why he’s using World Wide Nate, a new show on Urban Movie Channel (UMC), to debunk stereotypes around Black men participating in extreme sports and travel. In each episode of this season, Nate takes viewers on boss adventures throughout the continent of Africa. CASSIUS spoke with the thrill-seeker to get more insight on his series, inspirations, and, of course, his must-sees in Africa.
CASSIUS: What sparked your interest in travel?
Nathan Fluellen: I was inspired by my family and childhood. My mother would go on missionary trips with the church, and when I was in high school, she’d leave me at home by myself. Back then, I’d throw a few parties while she was gone, but it also exposed me to the option of world travel. Another big influence was my uncle. He played ball overseas and was always sharing stories. Growing up, I had never been outside of the country, and when I got to college, one of my professors had documented 80 countries and challenged me to visit more. The initial intention was to just travel the world and share the stories with my future family, and eventually write a book one day.
C.: How did this transition from a fun hobby to your passion?
N.F.: Travel definitely made me wiser and more open-minded. I’m able to respect differences in people. I would say it’s provided a lot of great experiences to fuel my zest for life. To capture my experiences, I started blogging and people would read it. They were inspired. People would tell me, “I want to go on a trip with you and do the exact same thing.” I continued to write the blogs and eventually bought a camera to begin recording my trips and creating webisodes. I’ve always loved traveling the world, new experiences, and being stimulated by the new sounds and tastes. Having a TV show was always the end goal for my traveling adventures, and being able to show my personality.
C.: What makes your show unique?
N.F.: I’m from the Southside of Chicago, and when you hear about my city it’s always about Black men getting killed, gangs, and other negative narratives. When you see the different adventure activities and exploration that’s taking place, these are things the media rarely shows people of color doing. With my content, you’ll see me connecting with people and sharing different stories; Africa is so big and diverse. You’ll also see me doing extreme sports like mountain biking. I’m swimming with sharks that aren’t in cages. I’m also learning how to cook traditional African dishes. We’re always fed the narrative of war, poverty, and famine when we hear about Africa. My show is about normalizing the continent and showcasing its beauty.
C.: You’ve credited your mom and a professor for encouraging you to travel. How are you paying it forward?
N.F.: One regret that I have is that I didn’t study abroad in college. I’m also on this lifelong journey to become fluent in Spanish as a second language. So, one idea I have is to give back to my alma mater, Tennessee State, and begin to set up a pipeline for a scholarship that would allow students to travel and learn Spanish. I would love to utilize my connections around the world and bring that to my university to help more students study abroad.
C.: Last one. We’ve got to ask: You’ve been all over the continent. What are three must-see locales to hit in Africa?
N.F.: One, Zambia. You must visit Victoria Falls. It’s the largest waterfall in the world. Also, inside is what they call “Devil’s Pool;” it’s a natural pool on the edge of the waterfall, about seven feet deep.
Cape Town, South Africa. It’s full of things to do, like visiting Table Mountain or going to Boulder Beach to see African penguins.
Zanzibar. White sand beaches and the food is great. I traveled there one year for New Year’s Eve and kitesurfed. It was amazing.