Under The Influence Episode 3: Anthony Bourdain  

Well it’s been one year since we lost you.  What can be said?  … We are sorry, truly sorry to have lost you.  Words can’t begin to express the impact you’ve had on my life and the lives of countless other adventurers that you touched through your world explorations and musings.   

As I myself entered naïve into a post-graduate future with a post-9-11 world laid out before me you came on the scene with No Reservations in 2005.  This provided a platform for the curious, the poor, and the tentative to live vicariously with you as you globetrotted to far flung destinations.  In the lighter moments we were able to share in life’s simple pleasures: food, drink, art, music, architecture, culture, etc.  And in the dark moments you elucidated the invisible thread that binds us all as a human civilization.  Regardless of age, race, sex, and background you showed that we all can connect and find common ground.   

There were a couple standout moments:  Your ad hoc (and Emmy winning) coverage of the Israel–Hezbollah War in Beirut.  Your positively magical, truffle and foie gras infused, trans-Canadian fling with the “Joe Beef Guys” and Martin Picard.  Your Sichuan excursion with Eric Ripert… Poor Eric, it was delightful to watch you absolutely destroy him with spicy food.   

Once I had the means to travel I was able to visit some interesting places myself:  Spain, France, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Singapore, and even Canada (twice).  I tried to approach each trip with the level of openness you demonstrated.  In doing so I opened myself up to the culture and the people of those places.  I experienced my time not as a tourist but as an eager explorer willing to engage the locals and immerse myself in the deeper, quieter aspects of everyday living. I thank you for that. 

Ultimately, after 13 years, you felt like a close friend.  I think a lot of people feel this way.  That’s why it was so hard on us all when we found out we lost you. Who was going to vanguard the adventures?  Who was going to protect the world against the rising xenophobia?  It’s scary to think about where the world is going these days and I hope that those of us willing to do so will pick up the torch and carry the worldly message of inclusion and love.   

It must be said; we all saw your grief.  I don’t think any of us expected it to happen so suddenly, but many thought it would eventually come.  There was deep seeded pain that was left untreated and ultimately it proved to be your undoing.  I don’t know if anyone really tried to help you.  I don’t know if you tried to help yourself.  I hope that for those out there still struggling that they turn to the help they need.  There are resources out there: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org.  We all process grief differently and in the only way I know how, I wrote you a song.  I hope that you are now at rest and free of the demons tormenting you.  Maybe someday I’ll join you in the next big adventure and if I do I’ll be sure to bring along some Xiaolongbao for the road.   

Much love, 

Matthew 

 

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