Anthony Bourdain, Keep Traveling

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An epitaph post for Anthony Bourdain is unbelievable and heartbreaking. I would not have wanted this in a million years. A man who was so inspiring and motivating hanged himself is painfully unbelievable. He was my definition of an ideal ‘man’ because ‘He wrote, he traveled, he ate, he drank and he was hungry for more’. Anthony Bourdain was punk, well read, tattoed, strong, opinionated, honest, unpretentious, unbiased, carefree, badass, macho yet not a misogynist, classist or racist.  He was the ultimate ‘bad guy’ whom women love to fall in love with. He was that kind of a guy whom you would be scared to take to your parents but secretly just want to be with forever because you know life with him would never be boring.

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It was 2001 when I started watching TLC erstwhile Travel and Living channel and accidentally watched an episode of ‘NO Reservations’. I had not known him before and didn’t know about ‘Kitchen Confidential’ either. The episode was on Ireland and the reason I got hooked was Dublin, James Joyce, and Dubliners.  It was good to find a travel host who was talking about the literature, culture, and politics of a place along with food. His show was unlike other shows where they only showed the tourists spots and luxury resorts. His show was more like a journalistic documentary where they take you deep inside the alleys and lanes of a place. His show was global yet local.

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Why did Tony appealed to us so much? The answer is because Anthony Bourdain captured our collective imagination and was able to sell us successfully a postmodern dream, the dream of travelling the whole world. Post-Globalisation people’s movement across the world increased dramatically, common men and women started dreaming of distant land. Ordinary middle class turned into solo travellers and backpackers and precisely at this juncture Anthony Bourdain opened up a whole new world to us. He taught us to leave our comfort zone and reservations and adopt the local culture. While Samantha Brown was showing us the Cox and Kings or Thomas Cook way of traveling Tony showed us the nooks and corners, street food and home-stays. He was not an isolated traveller whose only aim was to see the country; Tony was an invested and involved traveller whose aim was to ‘feel’ the country. So while the other travel shows were showing us the luxury resorts and best restaurants Tony was showing us home-cooked food, bomb blast in Beirut, famine in Somalia and drug abuse in Punjab. Each and every place he visited were not mere tourist destination anymore they became alive in our TV sets through Tony’s amazing narration.  He was not only asking locals about places to see and eat but he was asking uncomfortable questions about their politics and culture. Food became his passport to know the place.

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The image of Anthony Bourdain turned him into the biggest ‘brand’ for travel and food. He was a ‘sophisticated punk’ ( who dined with President Obama) and people all over the world loved the way he carried himself. He was a tall and handsome man with bright eyes and crooked smile. He had an amazing voice and an equally amazing sense of style. He was adored for his tattoos, thumb ring, and ear studs (though he stopped wearing them after his daughter was born because he felt fathers shouldn’t wear them).

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The entire world envied him for his ‘perfect job’ however nobody cared to look at his darker side where he fought drug abuse, debt, break-ups, divorces, and loneliness. Tony could have died been due to cardiac arrest, car accident, plane crash, or even severe food poisoning, however, he died of depression and that is something that is bothering everyone. A person who always advocated movement, shouldn’t have stopped like this. This is so unlike Anthony Bourdain, the man who would always remain a hero for me. Alas!! My dream of meeting you would remain unfulfilled.

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My friend Amit optimistically wrote this when he gifted me the book way back in 2007. Alas!! it will remain unfulfilled forever.

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Linking this post to #MondayMusings hosted by dear Corinne.

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Monday Stumble Linky

 
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40 thoughts on “Anthony Bourdain, Keep Traveling

  1. mammaspeaks says:

    Balaka, good that you wrote on him, he certainly deserved this post. Like you, even I stumbled upon his food show and found it so different from the regular candy floss travel shows. I still remember the one on Rio. He was eating street food with locals and was so happy. It’s hard to believe that he was suffering from within.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shalzmojo says:

    I think his suicide or rather the reaction to it has made a lot of people re look at him. He was such an extraordinary personality with his food based travel shows . His popularity was huge and it’s so difficult to grasp that someone as successful and well loved , admired, respected as him could take such a step.
    The masks we wear are mind boggling.
    Great tribute to him through this post Balaka.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      Life can be a bi**h at times..we laugh but our heart cries..some people just cannot take it for long. However i wish Tony would have fought a bit more.

      Like

  3. Michele Morin says:

    I listened to an interview of Bourdain on the New Yorker Radio Hour podcast, just a year ago, and he sounded so hopeful and full of life. My prayer around this loss is that Bourdain’s choice will not inspire others to follow in his dark path.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      He was hopeful and full of life and that is the reason this comes as such a shock. He inspired an entire generation however it is unfortunate that he ended so unheroically. My prayers for all those who go against the will of nature and God. May good sense prevail.

      Like

  4. kgottberg says:

    Hi Trina! I am also very sad about Anthony’s passing. I found him incredibly honest, sincere and humble and willing to go where so many others were afraid. I knew he had a dark past and was at times quietly introspective but I don’t think any of us suspected how deep his depression really was. So sad that he was unable to find the resources and people who might have helped….and the rest of us are without an incredible talent. ~Kathy

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Unknown Journey Ahead says:

    All suicide is a sad thing; when it is someone who seems to have everything going right in his life – but I learned, listening to a TV tribute yesterday, that people have public personas and private personas – we may never get insight into the pain he was feeling when he made that decision to end his life.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. BellyBytes says:

    I loved this paean to a loved celebrity. I completely understand where you come from. His was a unique travel show that somehow electrified you with his personality and his comments….. I was horrified to learn that he had hung himself. That really shows the depths of despair to which he had sunk……
    And I love your new look blog. It is really slick and sophisticated.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. writershilpa says:

    Every word of yours expresses the love you had for this awesome, amazing and inspiring man, Balaka! I may have seen a couple of his shows, but from whatever I saw, he did come across as completely different from his contemporaries. Maybe the earthiness about his shows made him popular.
    It’s a sad scenario, indeed, when a person such as Anthony decides to give it up out of loneliness and depression and leave the world, instead of seeking help. We know not what made him take this extreme step, as we will never know what makes people all over the world take their own lives. But, it does teach us a lesson. To talk things out, to open up and give others a chance to open up, too. And, yes, to be patient with others, because we know not what battles they may be fighting.

    May his soul rest in peace.

    Hugs to you, girl! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      Shilpa, you are absolutely correct in understanding my feeling for him. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call him my ‘dream man’. I found him perfect and always hoped to meet him someday. There used to not be a single day when I used not watch his show, or read his blog or follow him on social media. He almost felt like family. My friends and family knew about my fondness for him. It was heartbreaking to hear his end and I kept on hoping that it was a hoax. It is unbelievable to imagine a hard and tough man like Tony do this. It only proves how false our thoughtprocess are. Thanks Shilpa for this heartfelt comment. Love you girl.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Esha M Dutta says:

    Very beautiful tribute, Tina! And what a man he was, but the saddest part of the whole thing is the fact that at the end of the day, he was only human, and ever so vulnerable inside, as any of us are! People very often associate happiness with success and overlook that in the inner most core of our hearts, we are all as delicate or fragile as the person sitting next to us, celebrity or otherwise! It is tough to fight depression, angst, anxiety and everything else that comes with it, and it has never been more openly visible than in our present times when we are constantly in the public eye. It must have been very hard for him and I’m sure no one knows it better than the man himself. I truly truly hope he is in a happier place now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      Such beautiful words here Mituldi..Thank you so much for these words. Yes, you are absolutely right, all of us are vulnerable and it is sad when people like him leave the world this way. I hope he is exploring a better world now.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Shailaja V says:

    I’ve been keeping away from posts about Bourdain because they act as a trigger for my own episodes of depression and bipolar disorder from 2001. But this tribute is beautiful, heartfelt and epitomises the man he was and what he stood for, as an entity not just in the food space but across cultures.
    Your pain is palpable and heartbreaking. I wish him peace wherever he is today and his family the strength to deal with this irreplaceable loss.
    We need each other, now more than ever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      I have read in your blog about your battle with depression and bipolar disorder. I admire your strength. You are a benchmark for those struggling out there. I wish Tony had not taken this drastic step. A genius like him left a void in our hearts. Yes, we do need each other more. Thanks for these beautiful words. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  10. endardoo says:

    Lovely post … just shows you all the fame, the kudos, the awards, and happiness is still not guaranteed. Also points, in extremis, to the gap that lies between public and private persona … what lies beneath, eh? #BlogCrush

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Liberty on the Lighter Side - (LoLS) says:

    His death is so sad. I love his travel ethos and willingness to connect with real people and their everyday lives, even in the midst of disaster.Just such a pity he wasn’t able to connect what would make him want to live, even after all his searching throughout the world. It’s always a disappointment when one of our hero’s dies, but especially if you had hoped to meet them, I felt like that about Nelson Mandela 😦 Thanks for linking up with #blogcrush.

    Liked by 1 person

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