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    • Anthony Bourdain was one of those unique people that found a way to inspire people from all walks of life. Whether you were a foodie, a filmmaker, a photographer, a writer, a speaker, a traveler or just an armchair viewer. For some reason, we all saw something of ourselves in Anthony, and we couldn’t get enough of living vicariously through his adventures as he ate his way around the world.

      For me, my love for the bad boy chef started during the first season of his show ‘No Reservations.’ The fresh faced adventurer launched the Travel Channel series in 2005, and through the next 7 years and 142 episodes, Bourdain took us everywhere from Iceland to Namibia to Beirut, the last of which saw him and his crew become trapped during the Israel-Lebanon War in 2006.

      Through it all, we watched intently as Bourdain ate everything that was handed to him while having casual conversations with locals that kept viewer’s ears perked. As much as I loved the visual aspects of everything Bourdain did, his words and the smooth way he voiced over the episodes was what excited me most. In my opinion, his no-holds barred words of wisdom were Bourdain’s greatest talent. He wasn’t afraid to voice his curse-laden opinion, and even when they were at their most biting, they just MADE SENSE.

      Anthony Bourdain has left behind an entire book worth of quotes to live by, but here are 13 of my favorite that I will carry with me for the rest of my life, in every corner of the globe.

      *Note: I originally published this on Resource Travel, but felt it would be a great discussion about each quote. Luckily, Cake is the perfect place for that!

    • “If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.”

      This is such a great quote, for so many reasons. Having been to almost 40 countries, I feel like I am a seasoned traveler, but, I didn’t get my first passport and international plane ticket until five years after the age he references. Looking back, I had wish I found my love of travel at an earlier age, but I interrupt this quote as Bourdain looking back in a “I wish” way just like I do.

      This quote is from his book ‘Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly,’ published in 2000. This is the book that put Bourdain on the map. It quickly became a New York Times bestseller and led to the first of his three television shows, ‘A Cook’s Tour’, which debuted in 2002 when the jack of all trades was 46 years old. Think about that. For the first 44 years of his life, the man we all feel we knew so well was known by almost none of us. While Bourdain then became known for his extensive travel documentary TV shows, maybe the quote was a self-reflection…’If I could talk to my 22 year old self.’

      And lastly, even though food was his passion and what he was most known for, it’s telling that he mentions ‘Find out how people live’ before he mentions food. Food will come and go, but people and cultures will always be there, and at his core, that’s what Bourdain was passionate about. The people.

    • “Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life—and travel—leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks – on your body or on your heart – are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.”

      This. My first trip out of the country was to Costa Rica back in 2007. I went to the cloud forest, the volcano, the beaches. It was amazing. But, I was a tourist, doing tourist things. It wasn’t until a trip to work with a non-profit organization in Peru changed the way I view the world and how I choose to travel. I know that my work in local communities has left marks, even small. But, most important, those experiences left huge marks on me and changed the person that I was into the person that I am now.

    • “The journey is part of the experience – an expression of the seriousness of one’s intent. One doesn’t take the A train to Mecca.”

      Bourdain is so right with this one. Most of the time, we always focus on the destination, not giving proper attention to the journey that gets us there. In my experiences, the journey, and the people that I met and the experiences I had on the journey, are often more rewarding then the destination itself. In our ever growing ambition to always be looking forward, don’t forget what’s right there at your side.

    • “I wanted adventures. I wanted to go up the Nung river to the heart of darkness in Cambodia. I wanted to ride out into a desert on camelback, sand and dunes in every direction, eat whole roasted lamb with my fingers. I wanted to kick snow off my boots in a Mafia nightclub in Russia. I wanted to play with automatic weapons in Phnom Penh, recapture the past in a small oyster village in France, step into a seedy neon-lit pulqueria in rural Mexico. I wanted to run roadblocks in the middle of the night, blowing past angry militia with a handful of hurled Marlboro packs, experience fear, excitement, wonder. I wanted kicks – the kind of melodramatic thrills and chills I’d yearned for since childhood, the kind of adventure I’d found as a little boy in the pages of my Tintin comic books. I wanted to see the world – and I wanted the world to be just like the movies”

      Chills. This is pure Bourdain. Not everyone has the craving for chaos like he did, but this is an important quote to think about, even if you aren’t as adventurous or fearless as Anthony Bourdain. The lesson learned from this is that there is a certain romance to be found by putting yourself out of your comfort zone. Slowly at first, but as you get more comfortable NOT being comfortable, the rewards of the hair-raising experiences will be in your soul for life. Do you want to sit around the fireplace telling your grandchildren about the time you took a photo with Micky Mouse at Disneyland Paris, or do you want to scream with glee as you tell them about the time you tried to go vodka shot for vodka shot with Vlad the Russian Mafia boss?

      *Fun Fact: Look for the 3 people on the left side of the frame to get a sense of scale for how massive this sandstorm was.*

    • “I’m a big believer in winging it. I’m a big believer that you’re never going to find perfect city travel experience or the perfect meal without a constant willingness to experience a bad one. Letting the happy accident happen is what a lot of vacation itineraries miss, I think, and I’m always trying to push people to allow those things to happen rather than stick to some rigid itinerary.”

      “I learned a long time ago that trying to micromanage the perfect vacation is always a disaster. That leads to terrible times.”

      This is actually two quotes, but they are one in the same. For me, travel isn’t about the swanky room at the Four Seasons. I would rather get off a plane and find my way to a cheap guest house in Amman, Jordan where the 24-hour front desk man is watching old videos of Hulk Hogan in cage matches. I was the only person staying in this house, and I understood why. Bed bugs, a death trap elevator, and creepy footsteps outside of my door at 3am made for quite the story to tell, all these years later. But the real reward? That front desk man told me every food cart I couldn’t miss and every back alley Shisha bar that would welcome me with open arms. I went to every place he told me. I was the only foreigner in each place, and I traded stories, laughs, good food and great smoke with the people I met. Those are the moments I would have missed if I didn’t put myself in a position to find the happy accidents. If I had a rigid itinerary. Tony is right. For me, that sounds like a disaster.

    • “It’s an irritating reality that many places and events defy description. Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu, for instance, seem to demand silence, like a love affair you can never talk about. For a while after, you fumble for words, trying vainly to assemble a private narrative, an explanation, a comfortable way to frame where you’ve been and whats happened. In the end, you’re just happy you were there- with your eyes open- and lived to see it.”

      Having been to both of those places Bourdain references, I can wholeheartedly understand this quote. While both are filled with tourists, somehow, you find your own zen and you feel completely at peace, and a silence envelopes your mind. You imagine the centuries worth of history that have lived in the walls. You think about the spiritual and religious meaning that they had for millions of people before us. Even in smaller, lesser known places, sometimes experiences just defy description and you can’t really express the feelings that washed over you.

      In this day in age where many travel moments are simply experienced for an Instagram photo, it’s important to keep this quote in the back of your mind. Often, I am so consumed with getting the perfect photographs, I sometimes forget to have my eyes open, being happy that I was there and had lived to see it. But when I do put my camera down and live the experience, those memories are as sharp as any photograph I have ever taken.

    • “It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn. Maybe that’s enlightenment enough – to know that there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom, at least for me, means realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”

      Unfortunately, this one cuts like a knife knowing that Bourdain still had so much life in him, and in his words, ‘how far he has yet to go.’

      The world is never-ending. There is always a story out there to tell. Always a new culture to explore. Always a new cuisine to try. And always, always something to learn. Travel isn’t a skill you can master. It’s simply a never-ending learning experience. And that, as Bourdain says, we are ultimately always going to be small and unwise in the grande scheme of the world. And that’s the beauty of it. You can’t learn anything by knowing everything.

    • “When dealing with complex transportation issues, the best thing to do is pull up with a cold beer and let somebody else figure it out.”

      Thank you Anthony, thank you. Just a perfect quote to realize that, not everything is easy or under control while traveling. And often times there is nothing you can do about it. And that’s ok. It’s just an excuse to enjoy the moment and be thankful you aren’t sitting behind your computer desk running TPS reports. Just have a beer and make out with someone at a fuel station.

    • “I think food, culture, people and landscape are all absolutely inseparable.”

      This is the reason why you can never see enough of the world. Each continent, each country, each neighborhood, is unique. That uniqueness comes from a multitude of factors, as Bourdain describes. But each inseparable quality comes together in a melting pot to make that location undeniably unique and interesting. When we try to change any of those, or don’t appreciate just one of those, the aspects that make a place an experience unique dwindles.

    • “Without experimentation, a willingness to ask questions and try new things, we shall surely become static, repetitive, and moribund.”

      I have visited countless countries over and over again, seemingly on the almost same itinerary each passing year as I lead workshops for The Giving Lens. While the experiences are always amazing, I always ask myself ‘what can I do to try something new? To learn something new?’ Usually, those answers aren’t evident until they are right in front of my eyes. But without being willing to experiment, talk to every single person I can, and to try new things, even amazing places would start to make me static.

    • “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

      Very similar to the first quote in this article. Not all of the marks left on me have been positive. I have shed tears hearing the hard stories of children all over the world, been haunted by the images of children eating out of the discarded trash. I have found love and lost love. But through it all, every experience helped me understand the world and the beauty that this life is.

    • “If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody.

      Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.”

      Not everyone has the luxury of being able to travel across the ocean. But, almost everyone does have the luxury of being able to travel across the river that sits outside of their own backyard. To me, this quote just says ‘get up, get out, and learn from as many people as possible, even if they are in your own backyard.’

      Some of the most interesting people I have met and some of the most incredible experiences I have had were right in my own back yard, and I found them when I wasn’t necessarily looking. But I found them because I moved. Because I got off my couch and didn’t let anything stop me from just moving.

    • “Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonald’s? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.”

      So true. I have had a lot of weird food on my travels, some amazing, some horrible. But how can I fully embrace the local culture with a Big Mac? The Big Mac wasn’t being eaten by the Cambodians decades ago. Snake on a stick was. So, as hard as it is to take that first bite sometimes, I just think about Bourdain saying ‘I want to try everything once.’

    • Anthony Bourdain was truly one of a kind. It is said that he was really quite intraverted, although you would never know it from his on screen persona. If he was, he put his desire to see the world and connect with people above his fear of social settings. And in doing so, he taught us about life, love, food, travel. But most importantly, he taught us that the world is so big, yet so small at the same time. Everyone has a story to tell. He showed us that no matter where we live, we are all one in the same and there is beauty and romance in getting to know everyone’s story. Especially if it is sitting around a giant table filled with food and wine and surrounded by friends, both old and new.

      Rest Easy to the traveler who, despite all the miles, never tired of the experiences.

    • What a beautiful tribute, Michael. Thank you so much.

      I have a question I've long wondered about: It seems to me that in most popular travel destinations, the majority of tourists who can afford it stay in luxury resorts do. We were in Costa Rica recently and they seemed to be everywhere. I'm not knocking them, they're fabulous and people love them.

      Are there a lot of travelers who forgo the resorts for more native experiences? Is the popularity of Bourdain mainly as someone to live vicariously through? How many people who can relax in a resort for a week do you see forgoing that experience for more adventure?

    • Is the popularity of Bourdain mainly as someone to live vicariously through? How many people who can relax in a resort for a week do you see forgoing that experience for more adventure?

      I love Anthony Bourdain's shows, both because he had a unique way of amplifying the best things about the people and cultures he encountered and because I was able to travel vicariously through him in a way that I wish I could but know I can't.

      I enjoy traveling, but I don't enjoy being uncomfortable, hungry, tired, or even meeting new people. I find the idea of seat-of-your-pants whatever-happens-happens travel enticing, but when I've tried it, I've mostly hated it (though I've cherished the memories after the fact).

      So for me, in many ways, Anthony Bourdain represents something that I find lacking in my own personality: an ability to set temporary discomfort aside and make genuine connections with new people in unfamiliar places.

      The gift he gave me — and others like me — was the opportunity to put ourselves in his head for an hour or thirty minutes at a time and experience things we could never experience on our own. I'll be forever grateful for that.

    • Thanks Chris! Well, I wouldn't say it's the majority of tourists stay in luxury resorts. I think those are just the ones that are most noticeable. The ones taking the 'other' route usually are in a locals house, or a restaurant where they haven't seen a tourist ever. So it's easy to notice the luxury travelers. They stick out more, where a more authentic seeking traveler will blend in and be harder to find, like a leopard!

      Now, I should make sure to say that neither approach is right or wrong. There is nothing wrong with luxury travel. Sometimes, it can be nice to just escape your day to day stresses on a private beach with a cocktail and a big comfortable hotel room with an ocean view. Believe me, sometimes even I enjoy that! But for me, as a storyteller, I am interested in the real cultures and lives that lay outside the gates of the fancy hotels.

      I think the popularity of Bourdain transcended both types of travelers. For storytellers and those looking for a more native, unplanned experience, we wanted to BE Anthony Bourdain. But I think the luxury travelers appreciated him because he brought them a little closer to the other side of travelers. Hell, even people who DON'T enjoy travel (yes there are some) loved him and his show just simply because it was entertaining and informative.

    • This. Exactly Ryan! It's not the way for everyone. Most people are in your camp and feel the same way. But that's precisely why you loved Anthony Bourdain. One of our most common traits as humans is the enjoyment to see things through other people. I bet most times you watched Bourdain, you were sitting on the couch with some good food and a cold drink. Nice and comfortable. That's your enjoyment. But you loved seeing the other side while you were comfortable

    • Fabulous, truly inspiring. I noticed all sorts of travellers in abundance in Kathmandu and Thamel region looked like heaven for travellers who prefered authenticity over luxury. Staying in neighbourhood of dense local population is a great experience as you are able to witness culture closely.

    • +1 - One of my dream trips is do a motorcycle tour of the Ho Chi Minh trail in Vietnam...the local guys outfit you with beat up 250cc bikes and you basically embed yourself with villagers along the way for meals and lodging (like a mat on the floor type of lodging). Those are the type of trips I come back a changed man - for the better.

    • I've been lucky enough to do a lot of traveling recently, and it's all been on a budget, so I've almost entirely avoided luxury, super-touristy places. That being said, the few times that I was in places like that, I've wished I wasn't -- all my best memories come from going to weird or unexpected places and just seeing what happens. I think Anthony had it right...the best experiences all come outside of your comfort zone, when you're doing things you never thought you'd do in places you never knew you'd be.

    • Great thread. Thank you for going to the trouble to put this together. Random thoughts....

      1/ The luxury experience is comfortable but also (mostly) predictable and controllable, especially in terms of time. Travelling rough, I think, takes a bigger commitment of time than most rat-racers can (or want to?) afford.

      2/ I understand completely the deep connection between food and culture; through history, before the last 100 years or so, our food supply was limited to whatever was to hand and so regional dishes (which represent survival) naturally are deeply embedded in a society. I'm not sure I understand the other part of the mantra, that you gain insight into people by the food they eat. Give or take some interesting socio-political oddities, people are fundamentally the same the world over, don't you think? We all have the capacity to be nice or dreadful. I don't see the connection between Scandinavian reticence and gravlax, or United Statesian openess and the hamburger.

      3/ Without realizing it, I always understood that there was a melancholy subtly underpinning everything Bourdain did. Sometimes, not so subtly. When I heard of his suicide, it was unexpected and yet not surprising.

      4/ It's a real shame to lose his voice -- which represented tolerance and inclusiveness, that we all share the same struggle on some level -- in these divisive and hateful times. We need him.

    • Bonocore's photo essay inspired me so much I listened to the special NPR Fresh Air episode they put together the day he died.

      Oh my God, SO GOOD! He told the story of The New Yorker article that put him on the map when he was 44. He never thought they would publish it, but his mom insisted he send it to them.

      Bourdain said the story behind his shows is countries make the news and we think about their nuclear arsenals or whatever, but who are the people we're talking about? Who are average Libyans, Namibians or Iranians? Wouldn't you want to know who they are?

      So he would go where tourists don't, to average people, sit down with them and ask what they're favorite foods are. They light right up and then they tell you everything.

    • I like that he travelled with an open mind. So many seem to travel with goal of reinforcing a sense of superiority. I once overheard a group of missionaries in the Guatemala City airport talking about what a dump the place was, how awful the food was and how backward and ignorant the people were. They had contempt for the very people they had been there to help. My experience based on what I've heard from American tourists in restaurants, hotels, and airports all over the world makes me think it's pretty typical. Bourdain appeared to have genuine empathy and a desire to learn why people lived, ate, and thought the way they did. He seemed to understand that these things grew naturally out of their history and circumstances and if any of us had been born to the same circumstances instead of with a silver spoon in our mouths we'd probably live, eat, and think the same.

      I recently rewatched an episode he did in a rural West Virginia coal mining town. He went in admitting he was a well off New York City liberal with like minded friends and really wanted to understand why they, among other things, supported Trump. He came away understanding it. Not agreeing with them but understanding and respecting their positions and not jumping to the intellectually lazy conclusion that people he disagreed with are ignorant and racist.