Anthony Bourdain’s work has insprired me 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 in my early twenties, I was planning to 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 these places quite like Anthony Bourdain.

Over the last twenty years, I’ve thought about having a travel show–a lot. But now that I’ve seen Parts Unknown, I’m not sure there’s a 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 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 everyone who viewed his shows was fortunate 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 him. But I”m grateful that we got what we did.

photo: Matthias Jordan