Notes from “Roadrunner”: Awesome life lessons from the legendary Anthony Bourdain
Finally saw the documentary about the late and lamented chef, author & travel show adventurer. I’ve been a longtime fan.
His energy, his humor, kindness, graciousness and eccentricity showed through the entire movie. He never hid his personality & he clearly loved food, the nuances of foreign cultures and the wonder of travel. He exuded Incredible humanity. I think this was why we all fell in love with him. The ultimate cool dude. He literally was the “World’s most interesting man.”
He overcame an early heroin addiction and became a chef at some of the best restaurants in New York like Les Halles. He wrote the best selling and illuminating “Kitchen Confidential” which rocketed him to fame. This opened up his television career in the early 2000s doing “A Cooks Tour” which led to all the wonderful international food and travel shows we know & love now such as “Parts Unknown”, “No Reservations” & “The Layover.”
He was a shy, introverted man who only traveled in his adulthood. His first trip was a 6 week trip to Japan and Vietnam, he came alive as the reality started to match the imagination of international travel from books and movies. His quote rings so true in my personal experience:
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
As a recovering addict, he fully embraced his new life and in almost everything he did.
He was an incredible learner, first as chef, then author and then learning the television business on the fly. It was great watching him come to life and experience such growth. And what was also wonderful to see was all the friendships he built along the way with master chefs like Eric Ripert & David Chang as well as the artist David Choe. He was also the master of change and rebirth to becoming a full on television star. As he said “the least I can do is see the world with open eyes.”
I think so many of us admired his ability to be so real and just be himself. I saw him speak live once at one of the big Yahoo! Sales conferences as a keynote speaker. He was so unabashedly Tony. Isn’t that what we all want? To be able to be our true selves, to not hide anything and have the world accept us for who we are. He was an original. Tony inspired and positively impacted so many people directly and indirectly.
That was the great tragedy of his suicide and something that took so many of us by surprise. Seeing a man we admired so much take his own life is just plain shocking. We see the glamor and outside life of people but we never know the pain, the personal battles and challenges they are fighting on the inside.
So what did I take from “Road Runner” & Tony’s life?. Be more kind to yourself and others. And really try to embrace and show more of your authentic self. F-ck what other people think. It’s your life. As the man himself said: “The essence of cool is not giving a F-ck!”
It’s deeply informed my adoption of Kanye’s motto: “I have a dope life and I do dope sh-t!” Thank you and RIP Anthony Bourdain.