Outside of sporting events, I don’t watch a lot of television. So when the news came over a month ago that Anthony Bourdain had passed, I didn’t really know who that was. So I did a little research, and quickly found that he might have been my spirit animal. He saw the world differently. I can relate.
I have 11 seasons of his acclaimed show Parts Unknown to catch up on, so I now watch 3-4 episodes per day. I’m glued. I love so many things about his way of thinking, but my favorite is quite possibly his most well known quote. “If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.”
That is so powerful to me, because I am fascinated with the “why” we as a society do what we do. Why do we treat people the way we do? Why do we behave the way we behave? Why do we teach our kids what we teach them? Why are we afraid to open our minds and our hearts? Fear, lack of understanding or acceptance, uncertainty? Which of these are natural human qualities, and which are learned from our own little worlds and the people we regularly interact with? Which are because we get comfortable? Lazy?
I’ve always been curious, but I never had permission to just travel. It wasn’t in the “college, graduate school, job, marriage, picket fence, children, career, 401k, retire, and die plan” we teach everyone. (Why do we teach our kids this plan again?) It fascinates me that everyone has their own individual passions that often go ignored because they don’t fit into the above plan. I was guilty. But listen, that permission doesn’t come from someone else. It comes from yourself. I finally gave myself permission to actually be myself about a year and a half ago, and Mr. Bourdain has just reiterated that for me. With every episode that I watch, I say to myself “Yes, yes. This is indeed possible.”
I usually travel based on natural curiosity, whims, interests, and desires. Trip Advisor, resorts, etc. do nothing for me. I want to meet the locals. I like to do it an original way. The anything but khakis way. One of a kind. But I am making an exception this week, although it is not really an exception at all. I am going to Houston, TX for the first time because Mr. Bourdain did an episode in Houston. It was fascinating, and I am going to use it as a guide for my trip. I’m not copying, because that’s not my style. But the show introduced me to a joint called Burns Original BBQ. And BBQ, to me, is like air. So damnit, I’m going to Burns Original BBQ Tuesday.
The more I travel, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I know. The more I know, the more I realize that I don’t know a damn thing. And that, my friends, is what the world needs more of. That’s what I’m an advocate for.
Have a great week. -Benj
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