Nathan Fletcher and Chippa Wilson in Caribbean Panama
“Travelers” are often pretentious. They like to make a clear and rigid distinction between themselves and “tourists.”
Travelers like to think that by staying longer in a place, they are somehow more entitled than the average visitor. But they’re fooling themselves. Travelers are just tourists with dirtier luggage. And Nathan Fletcher, who’s never been one to front, knows: To thine own self be true.
“I see us as professional tourists,” Nathan said to Chippa over the wild drone of the Panamanian jungle. “We go places and hang out and surf, and that’s about it. So everywhere we go, we’re looked at like that, which is fine. Because let’s face it: We’re just here to surf.”
“When you look around at everyone else that isn’t from here, really, you’re just like them, only you’re getting paid to be a tourist,” laughed Nathan Fletcher. “And to surf.”
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Nathan travels far and wide and often and very well, but is also unassumingly quiet and authentic, and like Chippa, he perceives a place for all it presents. While these professional tourists might not wander aimlessly like “travelers” do, they do pay attention.
“Traveling with Chippa is great,” said Nathan. “With his personality, he’s so easy to get along with. And technically, he’s always been a big inspiration for me.”
“From reef breaks to beaches and points, you name it, they got it there,” said Chippa. “The waves are super punchy, scary even, when it’s big at the beachies and slabby reefs.”
“I’ve traveled with Nathan quite a bit, and it’s always nice catching up and checking what he’s up too,” said Chippa. “He’s knowledgeable in and out, a true professional tourist. It was good watching him charge, too.”
“You wonder sometimes why you do all this, and if it’s even worth it,” pondered Chippa. “The planes, trains, boats, cars; the airport time, bad sleep and weird food. It’s a bit of a mission, but in the end it’s always worth it. To head to a place not knowing what you’re in for most of the time… That mystery is the real payoff.”