Nate Chambers is a New York native who has been just about everywhere in the world and back, or at least so it seems. In addition to personal travels, over the past five years, Nate has also lived and worked in the UK, China, and Dubai. Talk about world citizen?! Who better than Nate to be the first in our Fly Guys series, where we'll be featuring Black Men and their travels.
Soul Society 101: What are some of your favorite places to visit (restaurants, bars, lounges, sites) in NYC?
Nate: In New York City, there’s so many to choose from. Some of my favorite restaurants are Buddakan (amazing Asian cuisine), Koi (favorite spot for seafood), Keste Pizzeria (closest I've seen to authentic Italian pizza), and Il Mulino (expensive, but the service is unmatched!). I have a huge fascination with rooftops - most nightly outings are at the Gansevoort Rooftop or the Jimmy Soho. Also, a stroll or two through Central Park every so often is always a great idea!
Soul Society 101: What inspired your interest in travel?
Nate: I’ve always found pleasure in exploring other cultures. Everywhere from my own neighborhood of Jamaica, Queens to the cultural hub of Brooklyn and the charming surroundings of the Upper Eastside, there was a hidden wanderlust inside of me waiting to burst free. Naturally overtime, this interest turned into passion. It wasn’t long before I began chasing adventures all over the world. I took my first international trip as an adult in 2009 to Sheffield, England for a study abroad program. Exposure to Europe was mind blowing to say the least. Climbing the Eiffel Tower, taking selfies with the guards at Buckingham Palace, getting mentally lost in Gaudi’s masterpieces in Barcelona, and roaming through castles in Scotland left me utterly speechless. Since then, my life has consisted of “where to next?”
Soul Society 101: Does your travel have to do with your career, or is it mostly personal?
Nate: My travel has been strictly personal – it’s my way of leaving behind all trifles and starting over. I've made traveling work for me by making it a priority. Cutting back on spending, weekly searches for travel deals, and being overly ambitious to check off items on my bucket list has been my guide over the past few years. I currently work in the media/advertising industry, which tends to take care of most of my personal entertainment allowing me to save more to fund my personal trips. I do however, want to find the right career that includes international travel. I recently returned from overseas where I completed my masters of international business in Shanghai, Dubai, and London. This was my way of building an international professional profile to use as a stepping-stone to fully launch a global career. While living in China, I did take advantage in developing my marketing career overseas by working at a high-end interior design firm based in rural Shanghai.
Soul Society 101: What are your top 3 travel experiences to date and what did you love about each of them?
Nate: I remember grouping the Maldives into the category, “Go there when you are either extremely wealthy or win a sweepstakes.” Fortunately enough, I didn't have to wait that long. This past June, I made it a reality. I feel as though I skipped every step on the travel ladder and went straight to the top with this destination. Crystal clear waters, silky sand, and a private water bungalow in the middle of the Indian Ocean – priceless! Other great travel experiences were sleeping along the Mekong Delta in Vietnam with a local family while listening to their far-fetched impression of the American lifestyle and climbing the Great Wall of China. Learning about the Great Wall repeatedly in history courses and living in China for a year, everything came full circle. This is truly one of the greatest wonders of the world!
Soul Society 101: What is on your travel list for 2015?
Nate: Thus far for 2015, I have Uruguay, Argentina, Kenya, and the Azores Islands booked. I intend on adding at least 3 more! Zanzibar in September and Thailand for TBEX in November are ranking high as final additions.
Soul Society 101: What's your dream location to visit within your lifetime?
Nate: This is a tough one. In this very moment I would choose a 7-9 day climb to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The thought of climbing Africa’s tallest peak is my kind of adventure. Other dream locations that I've had the pleasure of crossing off my list were The Maldives, Bali, and Boracay Island.
Soul Society 101: If you could live a parallel life anywhere in the US or around the world, at the same time as your current life in your current city, where would it be and why?
Nate: Without hesitation, my top choice would be Dubai. I have become overly obsessed with this city since living there briefly earlier this year. Every day spawned a new experience. The people, the food, the service, and the stellar architecture have captivated all my senses. Expat life in Dubai is definitely in the near future!
Soul Society 101: What has your biggest learning experience from traveling been?
Nate: My biggest learning experience from traveling has been getting lost and finding myself. When I first started traveling, I did so for a distraction from life. Now, I travel eagerly for fulfillment. I've realized how fundamentally I have changed once I ventured outside my neighborhood of Jamaica, Queens. Travel has inspired me to befriend strangers, remove labels, and look beyond what’s in front of me. The more I explore and the further I go, the more the world opens me up. It’s just that simple!
Soul Society 101: What are some travel tips that you can share to help novice travelers create the best deals/experiences possible?
Nate: Plan and be prepared. I use Trip Advisor and online travel forums as my guide to get a list of must see attractions and insights from locals. For deals, I always start with TheFlightDeal.com for a heads up as far as travel sales. I also make use of my travel card, Chase Sapphire Preferred, to rack up points/miles to redeem for future trips. My 2015 trips to Uruguay, Argentina, Kenya, and the Azores Islands peaked at $1,000 USD total. Not bad at all!