A Tribute to Anthony Bourdain


Creative Commons License: Photo courtesy of Jeff Houck

On Friday, June 8th, I awoke to the news that celebrity chef and travel documentarian Anthony Bourdain had passed away from a suicide.

I’m not somebody who usually thinks too much about celebrities. Having grown up in Los Angeles and being surrounded by a lot of aspiring actors for my whole life, to be honest, the whole celebrity thing just never really impressed me all that much.

But Anthony Bourdain was different. He embodied everything I strive to be in my life…adventurous, open-minded, inquisitive, and honest.

He was an inspiration not only to me, but also to an entire generation of those of us who daydream of faraway places; those of us who decorate our homes with maps and artifacts from around the world…to those of us who always have the plans for another adventure in the works.

Tony had a troubled past and made no secret of his struggles with addiction in his life, but honestly that’s part of what made him such an inspiration. Here was a man who had been through some shit, and yet through his incredible talent and hard work, he had managed to craft for himself a life that most of us can only dream about.

He was a masterful storyteller and told beautiful, honest stories about the places and people he visited. What I loved about him was his approach to the people he met. He treated people as equals and was interested in hearing their side of the story. He approached people with empathy, respect, and a genuine desire to learn, and it showed through in his work.

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KHalas! #Oman

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I also loved how he didn’t sugar-coat things. When he had an awful experience somewhere, he wasn’t afraid to say it.

His raw honesty was refreshing in a TV personality. Nothing felt forced or fake, and I think that’s why he was so beloved.

To me personally, he was a major inspiration. It was actually while binge-watching Anthony Bourdain on Netflix that I decided I wanted to start a travel blog. Travel has always been such a huge, important part of my life, but seeing him tell his stories and share his adventures and tips inspired me to share my experiences as well. I never expected to become wealthy and famous like him (which is good because I would still be waiting), but there was just something about him that inspired me to want to do more and to give this blogging thing a shot.

A good friend actually sent me a message as soon as she saw the news because she immediately thought of me. Anybody who knows me has heard me cheekily say, “I want to be Anthony Bourdain when I grow up “.

And now he’s gone. The world has lost a beautiful, amazing man. There is a hole in the travel community that can never be filled, as he was one-of-a-kind.

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Jaffna. Photo by @DavidScottHolloway

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It just goes to show that even when somebody has a seemingly perfect life, you never know what pain they might have lurking beneath the surface. Sometimes, the brightest shining stars among us are also the ones concealing the most pain. We may never know what his thoughts were in those last moments, but I wish he had known how much love there was for him. I wish he had reached out to a friend.

If you’re feeling desperate or considering suicide, please reach out to somebody. I guarantee you have touched more people and have more people who care about you than you think.

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Out of Africa

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And maybe for the rest of us, take the time to check in on those people that you care about.

We’ll miss you, Tony.


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