It has taken me a few days to process grieving someone I never knew in person, but I felt like I did. We met – often times in my living room.
He took me to places far away when I had to feed the travel bug, when I wanted to plan a trip and when I needed to be cheered up. Some were places I knew I’d never have the chance to visit. Others were places I never knew I wanted to visit before.
He was raw and honest and compassionate. He tossed the script aside and told the better story. He had the insatiable zest for life. A life that looked so glamorous on the outside but turns out was tortured on the inside.
My friend Jaime and I always said we’d be star struck by very few people except him. And what would we ask if we only had one question.
Part of me wonders if he ever saw so much suffering around the world that he would return home with a sense of sadness or helplessness. He always said travel is beauty but travel is pain.
I also wonder if he ever felt like he just couldn’t see enough. From the small amount of traveling I’ve done in comparison, I know that feeling of being unsatisfied, because it’s never enough. You’ve seen the best there is to see, eaten the best food there is to eat, met the best people in the world and you still want more.
My international travel companion Rachel always says, “If I die traveling at least it’ll be doing what I love.” For him, an overcrowded tour bus teetering off a cliff or a random crime would’ve made more sense. But this doesn’t make sense. I feel for him and his struggles and how hard every day must have been for him – and for so many others.
His words affect me deeply and I only want to read and hear more. Here is one of my favorite quotes:
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s OK. The journey changes you; it should change you…you take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
He sure did. Thank you, Bourdain, for being the champion of women and minorities, for being the face of international travel, for connecting us to the world and encouraging us to explore, eat, drink, relate, move, be true to ourselves and enjoy our time on this Earth.