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.