Raw, unfiltered, showing us the world for what it is !
Learning about Anthony Bourdain’s passing has left me in a state of great sadness. Particularly incomprehensible to me is how a man who seemed to have it all could suddenly decide to pull the plug on life. Now it is not my place to judge or speculate on the reasons that led to this tragic outcome. We’re all made of so many layers, reaching far deeper than the often deceiving one we allow others to see. And as much as we try to relate, sometimes irrationally to TV personas, the truth is we know nothing of their struggles, their fears or frustrations. As much as Anthony Bourdain liked to claim he had come to peace with his demons and couldn’t dream of a better life, his suicide seems to tragically indicate otherwise.
What I liked about him on his shows was that despite his attitude, this “I am who I am, and I don’t give a Fuck what you may think of it”, his dilettante ways, his raw, true, “I’ll tell it like it is” demeanours, it was all without arrogance. He wasn’t here to bring the spotlight on himself, but instead here to listen. As such, he was all our sleek marketed TV world is not, and his show “Parts Unknown” reflected that personality to a T, while showing us the world in an unconventional way. He went for the essence of a place, its core, its multiple and often conflicting aspects with no filters. Never trying to make it prettier, never “faking it”. It wasn’t about trends, not about indulging, never about the formatted route. Instead, light years away from the current Instagram travel influencers or the to do list experts, here was a guy looking to meet others and learn about their lives and cultures.
And that was the original concept, not food. Yes he was a chef, but deep down it was just an excuse. As a matter of fact, as years and seasons went by, food had faded more and more in the background. The dining table a place to interact, the meals a moment to share and exchange. This turned out great for me as an audience since being vegan I was not, according to his own words, part of his thought after tribe.
Vegetarians: “Serious cooks regards these members of the dining public – and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans – as enemies of everything that is good and decent in the human spirit. To live life without veal or chicken stock, fish cheeks, sausages, cheese, or organ meats is treasonous.”
Yet, our obvious disagreement on that subject didn’t stop me from finding common grounds or values and share his hopes, his fears.
During his travels, he helped me understand others, showed me their perceptions of life without shining the judgmental light of western civilization on it. The real world is made of the good (most likely here to be the food, but not only), the bad and the ugly. And this is what travel is all about. It’s core definition ! Opening your eyes and understanding our differences. Taking what’s worth where ever it lays and becoming a better person in the process. Through his images and his words he took me to “Parts Unknown” I may never have the chance to see on my own, and reinforced my appreciation of this world we all live in. It was exciting !
He unfortunately left way to soon on what should have been a never-ending journey. One we must all take, curious and eager to always discover more.
So long Mister Anthony Bourdain and thank you for the ride…