A Letter To Anthony

We were all hit with heartbreaking news on Friday. Anthony Bourdain touched so many lives, mine included, and his absence from this world is a tragedy. I found myself tremendously affected by this news, as I’m sure many of you were.

Anthony,

I always hoped that I would meet you one day, maybe casually in a foreign city or by chance at a food festival. I wanted to thank you in person, instead I’ll have to write you this letter that you’ll never see.

Although I never met you, I’ve always considered you a dear friend. Is that strange? Can I have an emotional connection to someone I’ve never met? It certainly feels that way.

I’ve watched your shows on TV since early high school. Ever since you were on the Food Network and then moved to the Travel Channel. I read Kitchen Confidential and shared it with all of my friends in the restaurant where I worked. Regardless of the restaurant type or the location, it was so true and we all related to it.

What I really have to thank you for is how you inspired me to travel. I watched your show religiously. Where will he go next? It must be amazing to travel the world! I was so envious! I felt like I was traveling the world with you each and every episode. You opened my eyes to a world full of possibilities.

I remember the exact moment I made the decision to move to Barcelona. It was in 2008 when the Spain episode of No Reservations aired. I was sitting on my mom’s living room floor enjoying the last of my summer before Sophomore year of college began. I was eating grapes and goldfish. It’s funny how those details stand out, isn’t it?

Spain called to me through that episode. You made it call to me.

I applied for a study abroad program in Barcelona immediately. Everyone thought I was crazy. Why on Earth would I go to Spain? I didn’t know anyone there! I didn’t care, I was determined to go.

I got accepted in late September and that was the end of my simple Southern life. I became addicted to traveling. After my semester ended I found an apartment and stayed for another four months. The only reason I left is because I ran out of money.

I came back to the States and worked three jobs just so I could afford another trip abroad. I slaved away working doubles at a restaurant on the weekends, working grave at a library and picking up computer lab shifts between classes. I never slept. I failed two classes. Nothing else mattered except my next adventure.

I traveled to China for two months, moved back to Spain for a year, backpacked around Europe, moved to China for a year, backpacked around China, backpacked around Japan and moved to Australia for a year. How boring would my life have been without you?

Traveling is a drug that you introduced to me and it’s an addiction that I’ll never shake. My life has changed for the better. I’ve experienced so many different cultures, tried new and exciting things and ate foreign and delicious foods. My husband and I are together because of your influence on my life. Even now on date nights we watch your show and plan our next adventure. If you’re curious, we’re going to Argentina next year.

Thank you for inspiring a girl from Kentucky to travel the world. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. You will be missed by us all. I hope the food is amazing wherever you are and I hope that your adventures never cease.

Ashley

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