I wasn’t an Anthony Bourdain super-fan. I was aware of his presence, but not obsessed. I feel like I completely missed out on something and am only now suddenly catching up under the darkest circumstances.
The most profound stuff, apart from much of his writings that I’m embarrassingly reading for the first time, seems to be coming from others that I respect as they reflect on the impact he had on them.
Here’s one of my favorites:
Andy Greenwald at The Ringer said Bourdain taught him (paraphrased), “…the confidence that gets you on the plane, and the humility to get you seated at the table.”
What I believe he meant, and this is nuanced, is that Bourdain had the bravery to travel into places most people would be uncomfortable. In this sense, he was a fearless explorer with the unfettered confidence to “get on the plane” and just go.
Once he arrived though, he didn’t let the fearlessness translate into brash arrogance. He knew how to be humble and let his sincerity show the locals he was all-in on learning and caring about whatever they cared about.
He was always there to share an experience, not selfishly grab one.
Watching and reading Bourdain is to witness a man who was an enthusiast for life itself, which is part of what makes his death so shocking. We truly lost one of the great-ones.
One more time (thanks Andy), to let this really sink in: “…the confidence that gets you on the plane, and the humility to get you seated at the table.”