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In memory of Anthony Bourdain

There are two ways of traveling, which are really two ways of looking at the world. You can see another country as simply an experience to consume, a place to collect trophies. Or you can look at it as an environment to interact with, something that changes you through the encounter and that you inevitably change by visiting.

James Poniewozik

In memory of Anthony Bourdain 1

The second half of the above quote, while not by Bourdain himself, describes the very reason why Boudain became a major success. He saw travel as a way of knowing the world and himself better, taking risks and ultimately being rewarded many times over. And changing others too.

I am not a foodie, but almost everything about Anthony Bourdain’s approach to life appealed to me. While he had access to everyone from presidents and prime ministers to the top chefs on the planet, I mostly admired his excursions to the restaurants sought out by the locals.

Bourdain, who died Friday at 61, didn’t just offer tips on scoping out good street food or seamlessly navigating an airport. Whether he was eating bún chả with Barack Obama, sitting with kids in Gaza, or charming food vendors on every continent, to watch Bourdain conduct himself was to watch a global citizen in the most aspirational sense of the phrase. You could see it in the sweaty film that dappled his forehead as he drank a cold beer on a hot day. In the look of industrious seriousness with which he approached a steaming hot bowl of noodles. In the earnest politeness and gratitude with which he unfailingly treated his hosts. Bourdain possessed a no-bullshit vitality, a humble awareness of his privilege as a white, male American, and an appreciation for the things—cold beer, hot noodles, the fact that seafood always tastes better when you’re barefoot in the sand—that are true no matter where you find yourself on this big Earth.

Rosie Spinks



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