If he were alive today he would have turned 63 today, 25 June, 2019. Anthony Bourdain inspired millions of people to take another look at how we travel and what we do when we are abroad. This article is based on a piece I wrote last year in Tbilisi when I learned that he had passed away.
In an era where we seem to be fascinated with how fast people can visit every town and existing country in the world, Anthony Bourdain taught me that traveling should be about life-changing experiences and the ability to step out of comfort zones. It should not be a self-punishing obsession to pack as many activities as possible in a week. Mr. Bourdain literally changed the way I travel. I guess that’s why I’m not surprised by how personal his loss still feels to me.
Since we humans are the only species that cook our food, his approach was to show food as the single unifier of our humanity. He also made us aware that good and interesting food can be found all over the world and not only in a handful, mostly European countries as we have been told by many other food programs. Most importantly, he always let the locals talk, explain their culinary choices while other important issues naturally came up.
In a world that’s painfully divided, Mr. Bourdain taught us that difference and otherness whether it’s eating habits, culture, religion or worldview should not be something to be feared, but instead to be embraced. He had a way of making the world much smaller and happier than what we have been told. Through cooking, eating rituals and the desire to share food with family, friends and strangers, he made us aware how truly connected we human beings all are. That will be his lasting legacy in my mind. May he rest in peace.
Tbilisi, Georgia – Willemstad, Curaçao