"I do find that my happiest moments on the road are not standing on the balcony of a really nice hotel. That’s a sort of bittersweet—if not melancholy—alienating experience, at best. My happiest moments on the road are always off-camera, generally with my crew, coming back from shooting a scene and finding ourselves in this sort of absurdly beautiful moment, you know, laying on a flatbed on those things that go on the railroad track, with a putt-putt motor, goin’ across like, the rice paddies in Cambodia with headphones on... this is luxury, because I could never have imagined having the freedom or the ability to find myself in such a place, looking at such things. To sit alone or with a few friends, half-drunk under a full moon, you just understand how lucky you are; it’s a story you can’t tell. It’s a story you almost by definition, can’t share. I’ve learned in real time to look at those things and realize: I just had a really good moment." A. Bourdain
Three day before embarking on this journey, on June 8th, 2018, Anthony Bourdain hanged himself in the bathroom of a hotel room in Colmar, France. I remember watching No Reservations as a kid sitting on the beige carpet of my sisters room after discovering the living room tv was occupied.
At first I was amazed at Mr. Bourdain’s ability to eat anything with a smile, but as I continued to watch the show I saw deeper familiarities in his quest to find answers to life’s big questions. His words and sense of adventure were a lighthouse to a kid stuck in a small town, but I don’t think Tony ever traveled for adventure, he traveled to inspire.
Mr. Bourdain believed in judging people by their actions, that moving was synonymous with living, and that an offering of food in someones house was the greatest gift you could receive. He taught me that if you treat people with kindness and respect than you can connect with them regardless of race, language, or wealth.
Mr. Bourdain convinced me I could go anywhere in the world and he taught me not to listen to people telling me I couldn’t, or shouldn’t, go. The internet may connect our thoughts, but you can’t really understand a person until you’ve ridden their train, or eaten their food, or stared at their stars. People tell me not to travel because it hurts the environment, but I believe people’s inability to walk in someone else’s shoes will leave us with nothing worth saving. It’s a myth that our individual consumer choices can have any effect on the world our children will inherit and it’s our responsibility as parents to prepare them to live ethically in a broken world.
Anthony Bourdain taught me how to rebel and how to write, he taught me to use my wit to fight my battles, and that a strong drink after a hard days work will cure even the worst insomnia, but most of all, he taught me to look for the quiet moments that are hard to describe, you’ll find true happiness there.
I hope you finally found that moment Mr. Bourdain, this trip was for you.
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