When you’re an expat, life isn’t always easy. You spend a lot of time away from friends and loved ones, and the homesickness can get real. That is unless your name is Nate Chambers. For this full time executive and international vagabond, living in one of the world’s most sought after travel destinations, Dubai, allows Nate to jetset on his terms. Through his website The Vagabond Experience, Nate shares his luxe adventures and experiences with readers, and of course, with friends and family back home.
So how does a jetsetting man of intrigue balance it all? We caught up with Nate in between champagne brunches at the Four Seasons Jumeirah and spa meetings at the Burj Al Arab to learn his musts for a visit to Dubai, what countries have his heart, and the one hotel amenity he just can’t live without.
Your home is on many people/s travel wish list. What are three must-do activities for a first timer that’s outside the norm?
Once you get past the typical itinerary (not that there’s anything wrong with it) of the Desert Safari, Burj Khalifa, and the Grand Mosque to name a few, most of your outings will revolve around food. After a long scorching summer, one of my favorite activities is back in full effect, Brunch!
A Culinary Abra (Gondola) Tour:
One of my favorite areas in Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah, recently launched a resort wide night Brunch that spans across 3 resorts and 14 dining outlets serving up the best of the best – Mexican, Asian fusion, a seafood delight that takes place in the middle of the ocean (literally), and an amazing spread of steaks! The night starts with each Guest receiving a map of all venues participating within the Madinat Jumeirah complex accompanied with cocktails & bubbly, live performances, pop-up rooms, and various secret experiences throughout. Oh, and most importantly, your mode of transportation to each venue is via an Abra ride through Madinat Jumeirah’s beautiful lagoons.
Brunch in the Clouds:
This Brunch is as fancy as it sounds. Brunch in the Clouds takes place in the world’s highest suspended suite (of course) at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi. With only 50 diners at a time, each Guest has the liberty of exploring every corner of the 1,120 sq. ft. suite. The journey includes a private cinema full of candy, private bar with mixologist, an Oyster room, a Cavier ice bar, a private spa to use at your leisure in-between tasting, and the list goes on! Brunch in the Clouds takes place on the second Friday of Every month.
The Royal Treatment at the Burj Al Arab:
Yes, this will break the bank and set you back a bit, but hey, who are we to judge? Now, picture this – over 200 luxury duplex suites (yes, every suite has two floors), five swimming pools, an atrium filled with gold, a Phantom Rolls Royce as your transportation of choice, a special bottle of Hermes fragrance, panoramic views of the Gulf, and a variety cocktails & bubbly delivered every evening by your dedicated Butler!
What’s your favorite U.A.E. hotel for a staycation? Why?
There are so many to choose from, however, I have been very religious to my second family at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi. There’s nothing not to fall in love with here – the staff, culinary selection, the grand deluxe suites (bathtub with a view will become your morning ritual), and of course being able to escape the fast pace of Dubai occasionally is always a good idea.
You travel so often. How do you balance travels with your life in Dubai?
To be very transparent and keep it simple, travel is deeply-rooted in every aspect of my life, which allows it to fall into place without thinking. I try to do an adventure every month or two. Once I have a trip planned, I ensure everything on my to do list gets accomplished during the weeks leading up to departure. This can be anything from work commitments, personal errands, catching up with friends, etc. Having an upcoming trip is what keeps me organized. I hate the feeling of being on the road and worrying about pending tasks. Typical life for me in Dubai is working Sunday through Thursday, with occasional outings at night (Shisha, dinner, drinks, or whatever experiential activity Dubai has to offer that week). On the weekends, you Brunch and indulge in staycations with a few personal errands in-between.
What are some essentials you never travel without?
My Cannon 70D, Go Pro Hero, tripod, portable lighting, and two selfie sticks. 95% of the time I travel with only a carry on, with a weight restriction of 15-20 pounds. My camera equipment usually accounts for 50% of the weight, which is packed first. I then fit in my clothes and toiletries.
What do you love most about being on the road?
It gives me the freedom to be myself -no rules and no judgements. This is why I took on the persona of a Vagabond, so that I can freely wander from place to place seeking new adventures. I eagerly take time off from my daily routine to discover and experience the world on my own terms. Each adventure starts off with a blank slate allowing me to redefine my perspective and become the best version of Me.
Of all the places you’ve been, which destinations have stuck out the most and why?
Every country has its own special meaning. However, I love culture, adventure and luxury. Any destination that can fully capture all three will forever be near and dear to me.
- Costa Rica – white water rafting to/from your secluded villa as the main source of transportation (adventure); once done, arriving at an intimate rainforest villa perched on the side of a mountain overlooking the Pacuare River (luxury); and daily walks to visit and engage with the Cabecar natives, Costa Rica’s largest indigenous group (culture).
- Zimbabwe – an adrenaline-filled gorge swing across the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe (adventure); then basking in the views of the African wildlife from my private infinity pool (luxury); and getting the cheapest line-up followed by casual chit-chat about life at a local barbershop (culture).
What about hotels, do you have a favorite?
One of my favorite hotel is the Pacuare Lodge Costa Rica. Getting to the Pacuare Lodge is an adventure within itself! The day begins with a local breakfast against a backdrop of Costa Rica’s rigid landscape. You’ll enjoy the traditional dish Gallo Pinto, consisting of scrambled eggs, rice mixed with black beans, served with cheese, corn tortilla, and fruits. Then, for two hours, you’ll glide happily over rocks, paddle in hand, chanting “Pura Vida” as your raft sashays from rapid to rapid splashing its way down the legendary Rio Pacuare! This is how you’ll get to and from your villa. The adventure caps off with an individual staff meet and greet, a refreshing citrus drink, freshly baked banana bread, and a variety of local chocolate neatly placed in a heart-shaped dish inside your private rainforest luxury villa. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Name one hotel amenity you wish you had every day?
Where to next?
Good question. I just came back from New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and the Philippines. I’m leaving my next destination open and letting it come to me naturally. However, I have my eyes on Armenia.