Anthony Bourdain was the traveller that I dream of being

I mostly try to avoid calling a celebrity a hero of mine. Being someone whose work I enjoy does not a hero make, and especially in recent years I am wary of heaping too much praise on (particularly a male) celebrity when I don’t know what they could have been doing behind the scenes on set or in the recording studio. But I have no hesitation in saying that Anthony Bourdain, who was found dead today of apparent suicide, is one of my heroes.

My three favourite things are travel, food, and writing, and Bourdain was an inspiration to me in all three. I’ve read several of his books, seen all of his shows (most episodes of No Reservations more than once), and any time I am going somewhere new one of the first things I do is check if Bourdain had done a segment there and what he had to say about it. He travelled the way I want to travel, and he ate the way I want to eat—not because of the variety and amount that he got to experience, but because of the way he honoured each place he went and each meal he ate.

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When Your Hero is a Villain

Like many people born between the late-70s and the mid-90s, when I was a teenager I was in love with Johnny Depp. I had seen a few of his movies over the years, but it was when I watched the first Pirates of the Caribbean film at a sleepover that I was struck by Cupid’s arrow. In time-worn fangirl tradition, I plastered my walls with posters of Captain Jack Sparrow. I worked my way through the back catalogue of his filmography, from the famous films like Edward Scissorhands, to the strange and obscure movies such as Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man, to the entire series of his breakout television role, 21 Jumpstreet, binge-watched in those pre-Netflix days on DVDs in my friend’s basement.

Years passed, and my obsession waned. After a while, I didn’t even find his presence in a film to be a draw; the last starring role of his I saw in the cinema was the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film, a disappointment made even greater by the love I had (and still have) for the original. But still, if you had asked, I would probably—until recently—have called Depp one of my favourite actors.

Then he assaulted his wife.

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