“I’m not afraid to look like an idiot,” said the late chef, author and television personality, Anthony Bourdain.
I personally have taken that quote to heart.
I woke up on the morning of June 8 and checked my phone as I always do. I tried to force my eyes open as the light burned them. As I squinted and tried to focus my eyes on my phone, I saw a notification from The Washington Post which read, “Anthony Bourdain has died at 61.”
My jaw dropped. Flashbacks of my mother and I gathering around the television to watch his weekly travel program ran through my mind.
Anthony Bourdain was a beloved television host of shows like No Reservations and Parts Unknown. He was a celebrated chef and writer who wrote about travel, food and culture.
He inspired my mother and I to travel whenever we could. Though we were a small family with little extra income, my mother saved every penny so that each spring we could go on an adventure, like Bourdain, and see the world and what the rest of the Lord’s children were doing.
Anthony always said that in order to learn about a culture, you must first learn about their food. My mother and I spared no time trying everything we could in places like South Africa, Dubai, Germany, Iceland, Finland and Kuwait.
As a missionary, I took this principle even deeper and made a vow that I would never say no to a new food. I learned quickly while living in South Korea that food was not just an important part of their culture, but it was everything, and it defined South Koreans as a people.
The culture of South Korea took my heart by surprise, and I fell in love as I followed Bourdain’s footsteps and let every aspect of the culture enter my heart.
We are all children of our Heavenly Father on this earth. We all have different backgrounds, opinions and tastes. In the hustle and bustle of our modern society, we tend to lose that principle and forget that we all have something amazing to share.
I firmly believe learning about different cultures and traveling is the only way we will truly be able to feel perfect empathy and understanding for others not of our culture.
Though Bourdain has passed, his legacy will stay forever in my mind, and the principles he taught will always have a place in my heart, especially as I teach them to my future spouse and children.
There are a myriad things to learn in this life. Bourdain once said, “Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind; no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom … is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”
Bourdain taught me to be curious. He taught me that we will never truly understand or appreciate one another unless we take the time to get to know each other and where we came from. Most of all, he taught me the way to empathize with and love my brother.
Bourdain’s legacy will not only live on in my own heart, or that of my family, but in the hearts of all those who strive to travel and learn about the immense beauty of this world.
Bourdain’s life may be summed up best in his own words: “It’s been an adventure. We took some casualties over the years. Things got broken. Things got lost. But I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”
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