It’s been a week since the rock star chef, travel writer, activist and t.v. personality that world has come to love Anthony Bourdain was cremated after his suicide on June 8th. The chef, author and what some call the voice of a new generation died in France. It almost seems fitting to go out in a city he loved. His death hits many like me, like a ton of bricks. It feels as like a very strange dream, surreal and nightmarish. After the news rocked the social media world and our literal lives, his books went to the top of the charts on Amazon. People began posting photos and reminiscing much like I did about what he meant to them. After I heard about this horrible loss from our cultural landscape, I sat outside and drank coffee. I shook off the tears that I was shedding for a man I never met but had yet inspired me and I thought of something he once said…the most kind thing you can do is make somebody breakfast.
So I sipped my coffee and made my mother breakfast. You see I moved back to South Dakota just over three months ago. I know, SOUTH DAKOTA…I like to think of it as a landlocked prison covered in mosquitoes. My reasoning is more sincere though than my semi disdain for my birthplace. My mother had to have open heart surgery and I came back to live with my brother, sister in law and nephew and help take care of my mom. I am still thrown for a loop by this on a daily basis as the drama of my family unfolds before me and I feel anything but able to handle the shitstorm that I see heading our way. The last three years I have been trying to figure out how to go about and be successful at travel writing. I know, just travel and write…duh.
The thing that no one who blogs about travel writing really tells you is that money doesn’t come from thin air. Many people work for a year, two years even to make enough to budget their travels. For the last 2 years I have been trying to make my life what I want it to be which is travelling, writing and eating. Basically I want to be a female version of Anthony Bourdain. Now I may not have the cooking repertoire that he has but I have the grit and the ability to murder my body by working 50 hour and 60 hour weeks serving people plates of food that they could have easily made at home but choose to spend three times that on going out to a restaurant. Then they eat half and don’t take their leftovers home…sadists. No I am pretty sure I can handle the tough blows of life as I have been taking the punches so far like Ali. But I have hope. The thing that still gives me any hope or continued desire to do this is that Anthony Bourdain didn’t end up writing his book until he was 44. I used this to remind myself that the sucky shitty parts of life are temporary and part of the journey. This especially was handy when I was walking to work in San Diego when I was working as a dishwasher at celeb chef Richard Blais restaurant, the Crack Shack. I started there a month after moving to San Diego and with no luck getting a job as a waitress or bartender, I looked to the only other thing that I was good at, the kitchen. I worked in the dishpit for a few weeks and was put on the prep side of the kitchen until I was put on the pastry department. I worked until I was absolutely sore all over. My hands were literally balls of tension when I would wake up and take the bus to work at 5 a.m. Everyday I walked down the hill to Little Italy when the world was still asleep and drooling in their beds and I would remind myself that Anthony Bourdain didn’t publish his book until he was 44 and I am 38 so I still have time. We all still have time to make our dreams come true. It’s never too late to have a new dream or set a new goal…CS Lewis said that one and I think about that too.
Yes, Bourdain is gone. The sage, wild hearted eloquent man has turned out his light. My heart and the landscape in which I live will never be the same because of his trailblazing ways. The only thing to do is to keep going. Keep working and dreaming and being a good person. Keep trying to make your community and world better, leave it better for the next generation. Don’t give up hope!!! I have been at that closed door and it feels like the world is against you but it is temporary.
It is all part of the process and part of our life journey. So chin up people, go forth and be kind and create some good in a world gone mad.