“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay.”
– Anthony Bourdain
Friday, June 8, 2018. My day began as usual. First one up, first one showered, and sitting down with a cup of coffee to answer emails while the house was still quiet. “Usual” ended with a surprising, anguished “Oh no” from the other room.
Many miles away, morning was far from usual. A lifeless Anthony Bourdain had been found hanging in a hotel room by his best friend, Eric Ripert. We were devastated, as were millions around the world who feel as they’ve lost their famous friend who worked at CNN and the Travel Channel. And yet, we know our shock, dismay, and utter disbelief is but the smallest sliver of what his close friends and families are feeling.
What the hell just happened?
Without exception, his suicide seems to have come as a complete surprise to everyone. While we saw Tony on TV every week, and friends and family saw him personally – whether often or not – there was something we didn’t see. Ever. And we recognize that same something we don’t see in other victims, whether of the sadness of suicide, or the madness of mass murder. “We didn’t know anything was wrong. He seemed…normal.”
Oddly enough, Anthony Bourdain captured exactly what we’re feeling, years ago:
It’s an irritating reality that many places and events defy description. Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu, for instance, seem to demand silence, like a love affair you can never talk about. For a while after, you fumble for words, trying vainly to assemble a private narrative, an explanation, a comfortable way to frame where you’ve been and what’s happened.
That’s it, exactly. That odd feeling that leaves you wondering, What the hell just happened? How can this be?
We’re still processing. We don’t have answers. We don’t have solutions. All I know to do is ask, genuinely, “How ARE you?” To say, honestly, “YOU matter to me.” Is it enough? I don’t know, because we will never know just what clicked – or didn’t – before Anthony gave up. Or Kate Spade, or Robin Williams, Chester Bennington, my friends Robert and Leslie, and far, far too many others.
Remembering Anthony Bourdain
We will remember Anthony Bourdain for is his colossal talent, acerbic wit, amazing storytelling, and keen insights. From nearly twenty years of best sellers and award winning television, there are more quotable quotes than I can count! But I do have one particular favorite, from the No Reservations episode Around the World on an Empty Stomach:
”Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
Farewell, Mr. Bourdain
“[When I die], I will decidedly not be regretting missed opportunities for a good time. My regrets will be more along the lines of a sad list of people hurt, people let down, assets wasted and advantages squandered.”
Anthony Bourdain, from Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
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