From HBCU Grad to Jetsetting Adventure Traveler
Written by Alexis Collins
Artwork by Cindy Nguyen
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine you’re boarding a plane or a surfboard. Now envision yourself embarking on enriching trips to distant lands, with memorable experiences that include swimming with jellyfish in Palau; running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain; and defying gravity while descending the Conveyor Quay tower in Montreal, Canada. Meanwhile, a day for relaxation for you might involve petting a sweet koala in South Australia. Can you picture it yet? These are just some of the many travels that Nathan Fluellen, ingenious creator, and host of the global lifestyle show World Wide Nate, has documented. His passport is inked with stamps from 70 countries and six continents taking viewers on his thrilling explorations of exotic foods and riveting cultures. As if that’s not impressive enough, in March 2016, Nathan became one of the first sponsored U.S. tourists to set foot on Cuban soil in over 50 years.
World Wide Nate has always held a penchant for travel, which was partially inspired by his mother’s missionary trips to South Africa, Egypt, Brazil, and Italy. Her enchanting stories and experiences amplified his thirst for travel in high school, it was then he understood that travel isn’t just a well-earned option, but a necessity. Once he enrolled in college, another influential figure would further shape Fluellen’s world viewpoints. “World Wide Nate started at Tennessee University. I had a professor, Dr. Galen Hall, who wrote an autobiography about his travels to over 80 countries and when he signed it, he challenged me to see more countries than him and to become an entrepreneur,” he revealed. Never one to back down from a challenge, Fluellen gladly accepted his predestined call-to-action. “Growing up, my family always traveled, so I knew that traveling the world was accessible to me, even as a Black person, but I put that in the bucket list as that’s something adults do,” he confessed. “When my professor gave me that challenge, I thought ‘Oh cool, I’m an adult now so I can go on and do it.’” Upon graduating from the historically Black TSU with an Economics degree in 2004, he embarked on his first pursuit to Barcelona, Spain.
Incentivized by his travels, he wanted to detail his intricate experiences in a book to pass down to his kids and grandkids, avidly typing a blog on MySpace. Increased public interest prompted him to expand his storytelling methods, ultimately buying a camcorder and taking editing lessons on Final Cut. His cousin introduced him to the digital editor of Ebony Magazine, where he became a webisode contributor and correspondent for the Miss Universe pageant in the Bahamas, and the rest was history. As a Black entrepreneur, he founded his award-winning travel and web series with the intent to devote the entirety of his jaw-dropping content to African Americans, who rarely see themselves represented in national news outlets. He wants to redefine the electric experiences of global adventure through an unapologetically Black lens, providing profound insight and video-centric stories that appeal to Black folks. Prior to the 2018 blockbuster release of Marvel’s Black Panther, a film that finally placed a positive spotlight on Africa and had us dutifully crossing our arms shouting Wakanda Forever (Rest in power Chadwick Boesman), Fluellen’s TV show, World Wide Nate: African Adventures premiered on the streaming platform, The Urban Movie Channel (UMC), equally illustrating the brilliance and vast traditions of the motherland.
Fluellen has enjoyed over 14 years of adventurous feats, allowing his audience to travel vicariously with him, drawing inspiration from his destination chronicles. His web series has been featured on the websites of TheGrio, Ebony, and Wikia, in turn, he gained sponsorship deals from major companies like Chase, Marriott, Time, Fortune, Essence, and Travel + Leisure. In the awards department, he was the three-time winner of LAWebfest’s Most Outstanding Series and Series Host. As far as pastimes, Nate’s hobbies include a six-day fitness routine consisting of boxing, body weight, and core exercises. Philanthropy is another treasured vocation; he joined Rak Life on a trip to Paje, Zanzibar, an initiative that helped feed 300 elderly. Furthermore, he’s keen on endowing a scholarship fund at his alma mater, Tennessee State University, that would send a select group of students to Colombia for a semester as part of a study abroad program.
Entertainment and education are key reasons why Fluellen chose his career path.“It’s always been the goal of World Wide Nate to document my experiences of traveling the world and to inspire my friends to go on and do the same. It has exceeded my small circle of friends, and it [has] spread around the world,” he said during an interview with Uncorked & Cultured. On top of his visual episodes, the South Side Chicago native has also applied his charm and global IQ to the blogosphere, writing posts that inform readers of international hotspots, accommodations, restaurants, and fun activity arrangements they can incorporate into their next trip. Adding flair to an already intriguing brand, the Instagram influencer, and travel enthusiast hosts a podcast on Audible aptly titled, “Escape With Nate,” where he brings fellow travel influencers and celebrities inside North American homes to organically share their past journeys. Using his platform to promote global connectivity and broaden perspectives during this time is the ultimate goal. Even with the newfound travel restrictions that were formed as a result of the pandemic, if you’re an armchair traveler who can only indulge in the momentum and magic from the comfort of your living room, Nate wants to take you there. “Every day I am accomplishing that mission and just trying to level up, to do it better by continuing to inspire people to travel the world. I use my platform to change the narrative and inspire us to do things that we normally don’t do or [visit] spaces that we don’t see ourselves in.”
Learn more about his recent launch of Kavata Swimwear, and his work building a Black surfing community. You can find World Wide Nate’s adventures on his website and on all social media platforms @worldwidenate.