The first thing I read this morning was news of Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. I didn’t know him personally. I never met him as a fan, but he inspired me. He took me to places I never thought to go, and on adventures I would not have otherwise had.
Through his books and shows I was inspired to travel on my own. I was inspired to read. I never know of the love I would grow of travel books. If it weren’t for Tony, it’s less likely I would have ever sought out a copy of Down and Out in Paris and London, or The Idiots Abroad. There are countless books that may have never met my gaze without that gentle nudge.
I was also envious of Anthony Bourdain. The veneer that I saw was framed in a very enviable way. Even in the midst of lockdown gunfire in Lebanon, the spirit of the intrepid adventurer was palpably alive. It was adventure TV though, and it’s the show’s job to make you want to be in the host’s place. For me, it did.
Several years back I took the opportunity to visit Bombay Beach, on the Salton Sea. It’s not precisely a resort destination. It’s not a place that I would have likely otherwise gone, but I saw the No Reservations Southwest episode where Anthony visited the Ski-Inn. I thought it seemed outer-worldly fascinating. I stopped at the Ski-Inn as well and sat at the same bar stool that Tony had sat in. It felt like a very tiny brush with a personal hero.
Anthony Bourdain seemed like the king of the world, a defiant, rebellious, and dashing culinary adventurer. I wanted to be like him. Travel the world. Take in the culture. Float down the Amazon, dine in the mountains, have drinks and bbq on the rooftops of Medellín.
Yet everything is not always how it seems.
I’ve got some tears in my eyes as I write this. Don’t be too proud or afraid to get help. Depression recognizes no station in life, affecting kings and cooks alike.
Please, if for any reason you need help, there is help out there:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Available 24 hours everyday
My sincerest condolences to all of Anthony Bourdain’s family, friends, and fans.