A Tribute to Anthony Bourdain
He is the reason I have wanderlust. The reason I explored Tangier with one of my best friends, and went on an adventure in Myanmar with the love of my life. The reason why I constantly want to learn. The reason why I'm not a picky eater anymore. And the reason why I like getting out of my comfort zone. A celebrity dying has never left me so empty.
He was more than a person. He was a beacon of hope to the world. He spoke to people from different countries with different political views, skin colors and religions with the same candor as his best friend. This in a time when it feels like every other news story is peddling hate. Yeah he was "liberal", but he was always open to a conversation.
I literally saw the world differently before I watched my first episode of No Reservations. I didn't think about the impact food had on culture. I was too scared to try street food in the far reaches of Asia. I was hesitant to go to a bar in a foreign country alone. Now I live for a samosa salad on a small plastic chair in an alley in Yangon. Or a solo night meandering the bars of Golden Gai. And have made many friends along the way. It's also amazing how he helps you view your own city in a different light. Having grown up in the suburbs of Chicago, I learned more from his shows about the city than I did in school.
To see his work evolve from a slightly corny travel show into a magnificent production has been astounding. If you haven't seen the recent Hong Kong episode, which aired on CNN last week, it is a thing of beauty. There have been plenty of knock off "travel and food" shows, but nobody can hold a candle to his work.
Even though I never met him, it feels like I lost a friend. Someone who I went out drinking with. Someone I welcomed in my home weekly for dinner. Someone I cracked sarcastic jokes with.
Rest in Peace Anthony. You should be proud of what you left behind. You changed the world.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement is intended. Cover photo is from The New York Times, Photo with Obama is from Rolling Stone.