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New York Times / Life - Entertain

Readers Remember Anthony Bourdain, Passionate Traveler

Cuisine, culture, people — sharing memories of the television host and chef who encouraged to world to ‘discover our humanity’.

The death of Anthony Bourdain on June 8 in France drew hundreds of responses from readers of The New York Times. Here, a selection of comments about Mr. Bourdain, his life and how he inspired travelers to “embrace the unknown.”

We loved Bourdain because he wasn’t the “ugly American.” He traveled to our countries and didn’t treat them like objects of conquest and its peoples like the dregs of humanity. He gave street vendors the same airtime as Michelin-starred chefs.

— MALAOUNA, Washington

My youngest son (18 now) and I used to watch “No Reservations” together when he was a boy. We are both grieving his loss. My son is nearing the end of a six-month solo travel stint. He’s in Seville right now, embracing culture, food, people and learning to cook as he goes. Tony would be proud.

— @lisalisbet, via Twitter

So devastated. His passion for other cultures and travel inspired me — and millions of others — to embrace the unknown, pack a bag and enjoy a bite to eat and a beer along the way. I am so sad he was so sad along his journey. Rest in peace, Mr. Bourdain.

— Sara Lambert

I admired and delighted in the lives of Anthony Bourdain and my younger brother for many years. Both were fearless explorers who pursued life’s pleasures to the fullest. Both easily made new friends. Both struggled with substance abuse and depression for decades. Both bore their burdens with great humor and enthusiasm. Both died by their own hands.

But surely, how a person lived is more important than how he or she died. Especially if that person improves the lives of others, as Bourdain improved mine.

Until my 60th birthday, I had never traveled outside the United States. Better late than never. I’ve since visited Thailand, France, Spain, Ireland and the Dominican Republic. I’ve booked trips to Japan and Croatia.

And everywhere I’ve traveled, I’ve devoured the local culture, and the local food. I’ll never be as cool as Bourdain, but when I stroll through the Or Tor Kor Market, I feast on miang kham, durian, papaya salad, tom yum goong and mangosteens. More often than not, locals invite me to sit with them and share their food. So I’m convinced Bourdain was correct that travel and food are the strongest links between cultures.

Best of all, because of Bourdain and my travels, I’ve discovered that the United States isn’t the center of the universe. In countries around the world, people live their lives unencumbered by social media, American consumerism and Donald Trump.

Today and for the rest of my life, I will think of Anthony Bourdain often and fondly.

— PIERCE, Marin County

I shall miss you dearly Anthony. And will travel till I drop and meet all sorts of people and discover our humanity, as you invited us to do. Rest in peace!

— NICHOLAS, Bordeaux

This is beyond sad for me and my boyfriend. We followed Anthony and Andrew Zimmern like a Catholic follows the Pope. We planned our vacations around what, where, and who either of them recommended.

I lived vicariously through Anthony on his travels to Paris, Asia and other parts of the world. He took me there. I learned so much.

— LYNDA ANDERSON, Charlotte, N.C.

I was a fan from his earliest publications and shows and have made some of the strangest dishes thanks to him. He was the epitome of cool and even though he was a bit of the bad boy/part of the boy’s club, his value and respect for the cultures and peoples of the places he traveled to earned my respect and my regard.

I have traveled extensively myself and have approached the food of the many different places I have been fortunate to visit as a really important part of any adventure, thanks to him. The circumstances of his death make me want to send a message out there to the world just to say: “PLEASE!!!! don’t do it, we love you, it can be better.”

— KIERAN CLIFFORD, Ireland

Bourdain was a man who broke down the walls between “high cuisine” and the mass culinary world of the “everyday.” I often would Google and search places he went and ate at before going to a country. He was a large reason why I started really valuing street food as a main highlight of culinary art around the world, rather than fancy restaurants and stars. For that, I will always admire Bourdain.

— LIDIA TUTARINOVA, Rome

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