Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom … is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go (A. Bourdain).

I just fell in love instantly with the show, the concept, and each episode. The way Bourdain would narrate each place he visited would awake something that I longed ever since I moved from France to the US: traveling. It is not just the food and the connections he created when filming all parts of the world that resonated with me, it is the way he is taking us on a private tour and taught us not just the gastronomical facets of a culture, but its history, complexity, as well as the challenges it faced and what each region tries to do to overcome them.

Bourdain became a historian, a chef, and curator, a tourist, and an environmentalist, but more than anything else a story teller. He was able to find the most remote places and exposed their beauty, their secrets, and their tortured histories.

This empathic way of approaching a different culture just opened my eyes to see beyond a place and to try to understand its context, its narrative and peculiarities. The episode on Mexico takes us not only through all the food stalls and typical tacos joints, it showed the dependence America has with its workers working the fields as well as the tension arising from the wall being built and expanded. It is with food though that Bourdain discussed all of these sensitive topics, rallying and unifying opponents and critics around a meal. He was raw and unapologetic and was able to engage in a constructive discussion while sharing wine and food.

To walk in someone else’s shoes to see how one lives was his advice and soon a motto I embraced. Traveling is one of the best ways to learn and I can’t express how invaluable he was to the community. He made us dream of places and took us on adventures that connected us to all parts of the world. To say that his show opened my eyes and deepened my understanding of different cultures is an understatement. His impact was truly immeasurable.

– Sorya Or (High school Social Studies teacher)