Journal, Writing

Bourdain

I’ve been inspired by Anthony Bourdain’s work for years. He was an award-winning writer and an extremely effective one but his travels might be the real reason I considered him one of my heroes.

When I was around twenty years old, I set out on a career in photojournalism. I was shooting for the university paper and about to move onto freelancing for a small circular.

For better or worse, I got distracted by filmmaking and found my path deviating from this initial goal. But that didn’t stop me from being interested in far-flung areas of the world. And I never saw anyone cover those areas quite like Anthony Bourdain.

Over the last twenty years, I’ve thought about having my own travel show… a lot. But now that I’ve seen Parts Unknown, I’m not sure there’s any point. The kind of mastery that that program displayed was truly beyond compare.

Of course, this level of perfection came from years of practice that started all the way back with A Cook’s Tour. I’m not sure I’ve watched every episode of that first show but I have watched every one I could get my hands on. And a number of them twice.

Anthony Bourdain was fearless. I couldn’t imitate that if I wanted to, which leaves me with a dilemma. Do I just give up my goal of producing television? It’s hard to say but we’re all lucky Bourdain took a shot at it.

His death was tragic and I’m disappointed that we’ve missed out on more years of living vicariously through Bourdain. But I am grateful that we got what we did.

photo: Matthias Jordan

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Justin Meckes is a writer and filmmaker living in Chapel Hill, NC. His short stories have been published in various online journals and magazines. He has ghostwritten novels and is the author of several children's books. You can learn more about him at justinmeckes.com or by sending an email to contact@justinmeckes.com.