24 Brilliant Anthony Bourdain Travel Quotes

24 Brilliant Anthony Bourdain Travel Quotes

Anthony Bourdain was an authentic, globe-trotting, food star. He brought an incredible depth of thought to culinary and travel-themed programs. His passionate quest for new and different cultures and cuisines may motivate you to embark on an adventure of your own.

A little about the food media titan 

Anthony Michael Bourdain was born on June 25, 1956, in New York City. He was a chef, author, and travel documentarian. He starred in several programs in which he explored international cultures and cuisines. He wrote several books on food and his sojourn around the world, and had a bestseller in 2001, Kitchen Continental: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. Bourdain hosted the travel channel’s culinary and cultural adventure programs, was a judge in The Taste, and eventually began to host the CNN show, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, where he traveled around the world, bringing little-known places to light. [1] The show was first on the top ten list of travel shows on Netflix by Vancouver Sun News, who said, “Bourdain is a window from which to open up discovery of a place and its people from all walks of life, across all corners of the globe.” [2]

Bourdain was not your average, run-of-the-mill TV chef

He was always on the road, especially the less-traveled roads. He’d be seen eating street food in Peru, fermented shark in Iceland, and the heart of a cobra in Vietnam. He was also seen dining in people’s homes in Haiti. Sometimes, he’d show up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or post-Gaddafi Libya. People could not get enough of watching him eat weird things.

Sadly, Bourdain took his life on June 8, 2018, in his room at Le Chambard hotel in Kaysersberg, France, while filming an episode of Parts Unknown. Regardless of the unfortunate circumstance surrounding his death, Bourdain lived a truly fascinating life. [3]

Here are 24 quotes by Bourdain that will broaden your horizons and guide you on your journey.

Quotes about being open-minded

  1. “If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.” [4]
  2. “If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel — as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them — wherever you go.”
  3. “Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico, and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonald’s? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.”
  4. “Without experimentation, a willingness to ask questions and try new things, we shall surely become static, repetitive, and moribund.”

Quotes about making plans

  1. “Nothing unexpected and wonderful is going to happen if you have an itinerary in Paris filled with the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.”
  2. “I’m a big believer in winging it. I’m a big believer that you’re never going to find a perfect city travel experience or the perfect meal without a constant willingness to experience a bad one. Letting the happy accident happen is what a lot of vacation itineraries miss, I think, and I’m always trying to push people to allow those things to happen rather than sticking to some rigid itinerary.” [5]
  3. “I learned a long time ago that trying to micromanage the perfect vacation is always a disaster. That leads to terrible times.”
  4. “Plans should be ephemeral, so be prepared to move away from them
  5. “When dealing with complex transportation issues, the best thing to do is pull up with a cold beer and let somebody else figure it out.”

Quotes about the journey

  1. “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” [6]
  2. “The journey is part of the experience — an expression of the seriousness of one’s intent. One doesn’t take the A train to Mecca.”
  3. “Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown.”
  4. “As you move through this life and this world, you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.”

Quotes about food

  1. “Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.”
  2. “I, personally, think there is a real danger of taking food too seriously. Food should be part of the bigger picture.”
  3. “Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.”
  4. “I think food, culture, people, and landscape are all absolutely inseparable.”
  5. “Generally speaking, the good stuff comes in on Tuesday: the seafood is fresh, the supply of prepared food is new, and the chef, presumably, is relaxed after his day off.”
  6. “Good food is very often, even most often, simple food.”

Quotes about connecting with people

  1. “It’s those little human moments that stick with you forever, the random acts of kindness.”
  2. “To be treated well in places where you don’t expect to be treated well, to find things in common with people you thought previously you had very, very little in common with, well, that can’t be a bad thing.”

Quotes about the world

  1. “It’s an irritating reality that many places and events defy description. Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu, for instance, seem to demand silence, like a love affair you can never talk about. For a while after, you fumble for words, trying vainly to assemble a private narrative, an explanation, a comfortable way to frame where you’ve been and what’s happened. In the end, you’re just happy you were there — with your eyes open — and lived to see it.”
  2. “It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I still have to go, the more there is to learn. Maybe that’s enlightenment enough; to know that there is no final resting place of the mind; no smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom…is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”
  3. “I wanted adventures… I wanted kicks — the kind of melodramatic thrills and chills I’d yearned for since childhood, the kind of adventure I’d found as a little boy in the pages of my Tintin comic books. I wanted to see the world — and I wanted the world to be just like the movies.”

If you’re about to go on an adventure, or if you want to realize your epic travel dreams, watching some episodes of Anthony Bourdain’s travel show will teach you so much. You’ll learn how to remain cool and respectful, while still satisfying your curiosity about various cultures.

Whatever the case may be, bear these quotes in mind as they will give you a whole new perspective on traveling, and the inspiration you need to leave your comfort zone and experience what the world has to offer.


  1. “Anthony Bourdain.” Wikipedia.
  2. “The 10 Best Travel Shows Now Available on Netflix.” Vancouver Sun.
  3. “Anthony Bourdain: why his travel shows had global appeal.” BBC.
  4. “Anthony Bourdain best travel quotes.” Matador Network.
  5. “20 awesome Anthony Bourdain travel quotes.” Burger abroad.
  6. “47 Anthony Bourdain Quotes That Will Inspire You to Travel More, Eat Better and Enjoy Life.” Travel + Leisure.
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