It was like actually being there, right beside him. The lightning quick energy, the excitement of new experiences, the diverse culture, and the vibrant colors of rich, flavorful food. Anthony Bourdain created a rock star atmosphere for travel and cooking that was intoxicating. Each episode of A Cook's Tour, No Reservations and Parts Unknown was a moment of being transported from your crappy couch to an exotic location he filled with a vivacity and wit that kept you inspired for days. He made you want to give up everything to globe hop, to taste the very spice of life.
Anthony Bourdain is everyone's hero. Everyone wanted to hang out with him, be with him. You can't plan a trip without first checking his books or his television series. If you go to Paris, you go to the Absinthe bar, Cantada II, because he went there. If you go to Spain, you check out the Alhambra partly because to him, it was “one of the most enchanted, inscrutable, maddeningly beautiful structures ever created by man.” But it's like that everywhere, from Sri Lanka to Alaska. His candid, darkly humorous and incredibly intelligent take on virtually everything was part of his charm. His brash authenticity and honesty was just as inspiring as the places he went and the food he created, as well as ate. He was loved by chefs, tattooers, foodies, and everyone in between.
Coming only three days after the suicide of Kate Spade, an American fashion designer made famous by her minimalist handbags, the news of Anthony Bourdain is especially shocking and disappointing. Many of us are taught to believe that fame and fortune ultimately bring happiness, but this is obviously a heartbreaking fallacy. The hard truth is that mental health is often not only neglected or ignored, but purposefully suppressed in hopes of maintaining public normality. The trauma of his passing, as with others who take their own lives, is real; it's impact is visceral. It's clear that there is a problem here that we are not talking about enough. There is no strength in silence, and too often does the call for more open communication come after the loss of someone we love. Those looking for help should feel empowered, not stigmatized. Depression isn't a weakness, it's often a symptom of seeing the world as the difficult place that it is. And although we are very rarely given the tools or opportunity to find a healthy perspective, it's absolutely possible to find peace. It just takes an immense amount of support, guidance, communication, and effort.
People look up to Bourdain, they look to him for an example of how to lead a more authentic life. Anthony Bourdain's travel and cooking shows embraced all cultures and peoples with an inclusivity that was astounding. He showed that we need to love more openly, support more freely, and continually show compassion to one another. His inquisitive nature and infinite open-mindedness was part of what made him so successful. So, as we mourn his passing, while still acknowledging the absolute anger and sadness that comes from an event of this nature, we will also embrace the legacy of beauty that he leaves behind. His voice will often be heard within our wanderlusting foodie hearts.
We at Tattoodo send our greatest thoughts of love to Bourdain's family and friends during this difficult time. Rest in power Anthony. You inspire us to no end.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with depression, please reach out to those around you or to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Remember you are loved. You are necessary.