When my husband woke up this morning he checked his phone to see a push notification and let out an, “Oh my God,” followed by, “It’s too early for bad news for you, right?… Anthony Bourdain died.” Anthony, a household name my brother-in-law turned me onto during the “No Reservations” days, ended his life just days after Kate Spade’s suicide. Anthony was loved by many people, including professional communicators like me; a fan-girl who was devastated when she couldn’t see him judge punk rock karaoke in Austin. I had an admiration for him, and smiled every time someone said his name. Before taking any trip, my husband and I would watch a "Parts Unknown" episode from the region we wanted to visit and would comment on how Anthony was a such a badass. As the Holden Caulfield of the food and travel scene, he was completely honest about who he was and what he stood for. He hated phonies and wasn’t afraid to show his emotions. On camera, sometimes he could be cruel and a little arrogant—but he could also be kind, curious and generous. After hearing him talk at SXSW, I learned that he wanted to push boundaries with everything he did, and wanted to be true to himself. He didn’t call himself a journalist; he was an authentic storyteller (although I’m sure he would hate that phrasing). You wouldn’t see him play to the audience—and that’s what made him cool. Period.
Anthony’s life was aspirational to me. At one point of his life, he was living on the fringes and unemployable— but by putting his writing out to the universe, he manifested a career where he got to travel around the world, meet people and eat interesting foods. Sure, his mom had a connection at the New Yorker, which started it all, but he remained disciplined and did the leg work. On the outside looking in, he was a case study on how to transform your life. From the interviews I’ve read and listened to over time, he was a man who worked hard, had a creative vision, and expected good work. He also had a unique trait that not many possess: the ability to blend into any environment, like a chameleon who had experienced both heaven and hell. But despite the fame, fortune, and everything else that made him shine so brightly, Anthony suffered. He left us too early and he will be deeply missed.
I'm thinking about his family and friends, and sending some love to everyone out in the world. – Clarisa