For the first 20-odd years of my life, I had never traveled outside the United States. Then, I was fortunate enough to get to spend two weeks in China. The thing I will always remember, the thing that fundamentally changed me to my core, was this: I was expecting things to be different, and some things were, but what was remarkable was how things were the same.
When you get right down to it, I think that’s what Anthony Bourdain was trying to teach us. Yes, we have differences, and those should be embraced. But we should never forget what we share. It’s the fundamental same-ness of the human condition that can bring us together if we stop fearing our differences.
I’m not going to specualte on Bourdain’s mental health. It’s clunky and cliche to tell people who are struggling to “reach out.” But I will say that it should be plainly obvious by now that you can’t tell who is or isn’t struggling by just looking at them. Kindness and empathy should be the order of the day.
RIP, brother. You will be missed.