Let Us Introduce You: Nate Van Haute

Senior Nate Van Haute is no foreigner when it comes to traveling abroad: as an English, Spanish and International Studies major with a minor in Theology, he participated in mission trips to Mexico toward the end of high school but completed a three-month immersion trip to Nicaragua at the end of his freshman year as part of a theology program.

“I came back to SLU after the trip and was not happy at all,” Van Haute said. “All I wanted to do was go back to Nicaragua, so I changed my major to Latin American Studies and Spanish but realized that I didn’t need a major in those areas in order to go back to Latin America — I could just do it.”

After taking a gap year after his sophomore year, Van Haute spent ten months living in Central America on his own budget. “Spending my time in Central America sparked my interest in traveling cheaply and effectively,” he elaborated.

After coming back to SLU, Van Haute initiated his plan to help others travel, that which was not a structured program nor aimed to lead people on a trip to guide them. He mentioned his belief in “independent travel as the best form of travel because you are not partnering with any organization; rather, you are simply just going and entering into the communities yourself without anyone paving the way.”

Throughout the rest of Van Haute’s college career, he has continued his love of autonomous travel, from spending three months last summer in Morocco, France and retreats at Camino de Santiago to recently traveling to Nicaragua during the winter and Mexico City for spring break. The question comes to light, though, on the affordability of traveling as much as Van Haute has — “I am working a fair amount and simply being smart with my money,” he explained. “I think it’s a huge misconception that you need to work a ton in order to afford this or have high-paying jobs, but I am very good at not spending money. Travel is the only thing I spend money on; I don’t go out, eat out and I usually spend $15 per week on groceries.”

Van Haute’s presentation “How to Travel on a Student Budget” will be held on Thursday, April 6 at 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the Busch Student Center and will discuss tactics to efficiently save money and spend it on traveling instead.

“It’s really easy to travel cheaply nowadays, and there are a lot of tips I can give to people, to help them accomplish this goal” he said.

Q&A with Nate:

Q. What presentaions are you covering during Atlas Week?

A. I gave a presentation on Monday called “Backpacking with a Purpose” which involved the implications of volunteering abroad, and helped with “Social Launch: An Entrepreneurship Approach to Social Change.” My big event is “How to Travel on a Student Budget,” highlighting how we can save money to go abroad.

Q. Any take away lessons learned while at SLU or traveling?

A. Make the most of the opportunities while you have them because we are always wishing we were somewhere else.

Q. What has been your favorite class?

A. Spirituality in American Literature has been my favorite because it made me realize how much I love stories and that spirituality is engrained in everything.