Culture Travel

Parts Unknown

It’s unusual that the passing of a public figure would have much effect on my mood but when I learned that Anthony Bourdain had died a week ago I felt a pit in my stomach that has barely lifted since.

I first heard of him in 2012 when he moved his show to CNN, where I was working at the time. He had a unique way of getting beneath the skin of a place by experiencing it through food, often shared with interesting locals who narrated the stories of their lives and how it was influenced by where they lived.

He was fiercely independent, curious and open-minded, with the ability to empathise with people of all different backgrounds and circumstance. Whether dining at a hole-in-the-wall or a Michelin star restaurant, he was down to earth and detested pretence. He was the traveller I aspired to be.

My favourite episodes were his many trips to Asia, where he seemed most at home eating a bowl of noodles on the side of the street. Fittingly the last, and one of his best episodes to air before he died was Hong Kong, where the final scene saw him sailing off into the night on the Star Ferry.

The Star Ferry to Kowloon at night, the lights of Hong Kong behind me. It’s a gift, a dream, a curse. The best thing, the happiest thing, yet also the loneliest thing in the world.

Parts Unknown, Season 11: Episode 5

Rest in peace.

Author

Originally from the UK, David is designer and wanderer currently based in Tokyo. Prior to this, he lived in China and still returns frequently to continue exploring this vast and varied land. He started Randomwire in 2003 to chronicle his travels and occasional musings. Feel free to drop him a line.

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