The Thing About Anthony B.
There's a part of all of us that wishes we could be Anthony Bourdain. Paid to travel the world, eat, drink, and be witty. There's no replacing him, but there are many mimicking him. He truly pioneered a new form of travel content, raw grit mixed with just enough glamour. He opened everyones eyes to uncommon destinations with unique foods and bizarre customs.
I always admired him for his adventurous spirit. I liked to pretend I was him whenever I ventured off the beaten path on my travels. At the same time, we all knew his story about addiction and self-hatred, but we loved him despite his demons. More than that, we marveled at his ability to overcome those challenges to become a legend of modern pop culture. Then, like many legends of pop culture, he killed himself.
Immediately I was mournful, or at least as mournful as one can be for a distant celebrity. As time wore on, though, I became disappointed. If the dude with the "perfect life" was so miserable then what was the hope for the rest of us?
That was when I realized where Bourdain had made a mistake. I realized that airplane windows don't replace airplane companions. I'd rather sit in a cramped middle seat so my significant other could have the window, than sit in first class alone. Certainly there is value in solo travel, but even then we always come home with stories of the people we met and the friends we made. This is because we naturally want to have experiences together, with somebody. I think through no fault of his own Anthony Bourdain had been forced to leave those important companions at home, and it cost him stability, happiness, and maybe his life. I think about this often.
This Cotta Brothers Travel Club is a podcast that leans entirely on the people we know and love. It is an intentionally distant cousin of Bourdain's travel content methodology. For one, it's done completely from my Miami apartment, and two because it cannot be
done alone. Honestly, the whole process is purposefully uncomfortable. In that way it is very much an homage to the way Anthony Bourdain would suffer a little to settle in to a new environment. For my brother Brendan and I, the challenge is to ask for people's time, especially if I haven't spoken to them in a while.
The result is something special, I hope the audience will agree. Not only a worthwhile guide to a new destinations but a genuine conversation between people that appreciate adventure.
RIP Anthony Bourdain, we'll always miss you. Thank you for showing us the world.