In an era where we seem to be fascinated with how fast people can visit every existing country in the world, Anthony Bourdain thought me that traveling should be of life-changing experiences and stepping out of your comfort zone. It should not be a self-punishing obsession. Mr. Bourdain literally changed the way I travel even though we’ve never met. I guess that’s why I’m not surprised by how personal his loss 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 and explain their culinary choices.
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, Republic of Georgia