My Anthony Bourdain Day

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My Anthony Bourdain Day

“There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors. Tennessee Williams

There has been a lot written about the death of Anthony Bourdain.  He inspired those of us who travel, cook or are foodies. i wrote one of my earliest blogs about him. https://travelwellflysafe.com/2013/09/04/anthony-bourdain-i-love-you/ .  Anthony Bourdain’s vulnerability and openness about his past struggles with drugs and depression were part of the fascination that I had with his show. He visibly carried so much darkness and yet, seemed to have the life that everyone wanted. He inspired a lot of people to cook and travel. He taught us to eat differently when we traveled. Everyone is a travel foodie now. I carry Immodium on every trip like he did, just in case a chief from a tribe offers me food and I am too polite to say no. Anthony Bourdain saw the amazing in the small everyday things that people did around the world and he shared them with us. 

Bourdain worked hard, took risks, and craved authenticity.  All of those traits are to be admired but it doesn’t make him a perfect person (none of us are perfect).  Admiration can be a dangerous thing. Make sure you’re admiring the values while maintaining a healthy and realistic understanding that everyone has flaws, even your heroes. 

We decided to have an Anthony Bourdain day in NYC. We started at the 9/11 Memorial downtown. Bourdain always included recent historical events.

We had lunch at Le Bernadin the three-star Michelin restaurant. The chef Eric Ripert, was his best friend.  

Chef Ripert is talented, crafting an elegant and tasteful lunch menu. It is a seafood restaurant and the fish courses are delicious and filleted to perfection.

  We laugh through lunch certain Bourdain would want us to enjoy it.

 Our dinner was hot dogs at Gray’s Papaya. It was a New York hot dog chain that is down to one store on Eighth Avenue and Fortieth St. The hot dog was the original NYC street food.

It is the classic New York Sabrett hot dog with mustard and sauerkraut. We lean up on a ledge and wash it down with a Papaya drink.

Afterward, we go to the Blue Note in the village and listen to some Jazz. He often ended his shows with local music. 

 It turns out that travel can’t fix you. Having your dream job does not make it better. I think he fought hard to stay alive and battle his demons. In the end, he needed to stop the darkness and pain that made him so compelling to watch. If this sounds like you, get help. 

Fly Safe Anthony Bourdain,

JAZ

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The In Between Traveler

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The In Between Traveler

“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.” Rumi

I’m probably never going to trek in the Himalayas, hike the Inca Trail and camp out in the Carpathian Mountains. I prefer not being locked in a fancy resort for my entire trip but I don’t mind a few days. On the other hand, I will probably never go on a charity vacation where you perform worthy labor on behalf of poor people. I don’t see a cruise as being a fun thing but I have never been on one.

I am the in between traveler. I search for the right balance between comfort and strangeness – not too hot and not too cold, not too scary but not too fake, not too primitive and not too antiseptic. I like a mix of culture, history and nature. I’m not jumping out of airplane adventurous but I enjoy going to places that many people have not been. I have been known to eat insects in countries that do that but tying my feet together to bungee jump off a bridge is not my thing.

I will always prefer to do something out of the ordinary when traveling but there are times that I want to do the touristy stuff as well. I hate words like glamping, staycation or bleisure (that one sounds like something that requires medical attention). I do not like when trips are described as soul-searching. Eat Pray Love came out a long time ago. I am over it. Nor do I like it when they are described as good for people who like to live on the edge. Do I need any more adrenalin in my life? I’ve learned that recommendations are tough. One person’s paradise might be my idea of hell. I do a lot of research.

I like mental adventures. I prefer to visit countries that have fought wars or had revolutions in my lifetime, extinct volcanoes, countries we are mad at that aren’t dangerous and countries with drug cartels that are safer now. I am interested in seeing history unfold.

For me, in between is the way to travel. The adventurers and the cruisers have their paths set. But the journey in the middle is the path of movement. As the travel guru Goldilocks says, “This one is too big and that one is too small but the one in the middle is just right.”

Fly safe,
JAZ