New York City native, Nate Chambers is more than a city boy. The determined and adventurous traveler branched out of the big city lights to travel the world on a mission to chase the adventures calling his name. In our exclusive interview with Chambers, the travel influencer opens up to us about his travel journey, his brand, The Vagabond Experience, and what you can expect to see in the future!
Tell us a little about yourself?
Born and raised in New York City to Jamaican parents, I’ve always found pleasure in exploring new things. Whether it was my own backyard in Jamaica, Queens or the cultural hubs in Brooklyn, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself into new places and figuring things out. I’m currently living the expat life in Dubai which gives me the flexibility to travel as often as my heart desires.
How did your love for traveling begin?
It took some time to realize this, but my love for travel started with my parents. Growing up, I witnessed my mother’s fascination with Central America. Several times a year you would easily find her exploring Costa Rica, Panama or Honduras. Similarly, my father started his travels at a young age – first, managing the Bob Marley Press Plant in Jamaica before relocating to the UK and then on to Panama. Subconsciously, this had a major impact. In 2009, I took my first solo trip to the UK and now, 80+ countries later, my love for traveling remains prominent in all that I do.
What made you want to create The Vagabond Experience?
I’ve lost count how many times I’ve heard the term “vagabond” thrown around when I was younger. It represented everything I feared becoming and went against how I was raised – unambitious with no clear direction/purpose in life. In 2009, shortly after finishing my exchange program in the UK, I began reading the book “Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel” by Rolf Potts. Immediately, I was inspired! Potts explained that anyone with an independent and curious spirit should travel the world freely. This once negative term quickly transformed into a new way of life. It was then that I took on the persona as a Vagabond and created The Vagabond Experience – wandering from place to place seeking unconventional adventures and eagerly taking time off from my daily routine to discover and experience the world on my own terms.
You have been to so many different places? Is there a place that has left a special mark on you?
As much as I travel, every destination still sparks that same sense of excitement I had during my first trip 10 years ago. One destination that has left a special mark was South Africa – not necessarily because it’s my favorite place (although I thoroughly enjoy SA), but more so the mental journey leading up to this trip and the impact it had thereafter.
By the time I was 23 years old, my travels brought me to a few places in Europe, Central America and parts of the Caribbean. The thought of traveling anywhere throughout the African continent was unattainable – too far from home, too expensive to get there and far too dangerous (at least that’s what I saw on TV). On the eve of my 24th birthday, I re-read a few excerpts from Vagabonding, packed my bags and headed to Cape Town. This remains one of the best decisions I’ve made and has set the tone for the future. I now visit the continent at least once a year!
You also share many different food experiences as well. Is there a city or country whose food game shocked you?
Steak is my favorite type of food, so much that I planned a weeklong trip to Buenos Aires simply to indulge. What shocked me the most was the experiential approach to dining in the city. Many cities within Argentina are known for their “closed door” experiences, in which locals invite guests into their homes (usually loft-style) for an authentic Asado dinner. Depending on the night, dinner is enhanced by a tango show, local rituals, and boutique wine tastings.
What do you hope to accomplish in the years to come?
I’m working on a few things – a travel documentary and an app, but I can’t release too many details just yet. Stay tuned!
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All images provided by Nate Chambers