Can a TV show change the way you live your life? Yes, I believe it can. I watch very little television these days. I’ve learned sacrificing the small screen frees up hours of my time that I can use towards goals, projects, and other hobbies. Over the past 10 years many of my biggest accomplishments and progress have occurred by utilizing several hours each evening towards my personal, professional, and spiritual growth. 2 hours a night dedicated to work on my goals without television equals 14 hours a week of productivity. What could you do with 14 hours directed towards a new goal or project?

There were, however, two TV shows that I would never miss.  Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” on The Travel Channel, and later his “Parts Unknown” shows on CNN. Anthony Bourdain was a celebrity chef, book author, and travel documentarian whose television shows focused on the exploration of foods and drinks, different cultures around the world, unique and exciting experiences, and the human condition. Bourdain was cool, witty, open minded, flawed, fun, funny, engaging, curious, and inspiring. He was a master of placing words together to describe circumstances in a uniquely honest, colorful, and brilliant style. He was quite simply, a storyteller. Bourdain died on June 8th, 2018.

Each week I traveled vicariously through Bourdain’s shows. I visited Alaska, New Orleans, Southern California, Miami, Brazil, Vietnam, Italy, Iran, Libya, and countries all over the globe. After each episode I oddly felt like I experienced the trip in person, too. The shows were insightful, fun, exciting, and educational. They highlighted how traveling was made better by bringing good people and good food together. Bourdain loved meeting new people and loved learning about their lives. He rarely said no to a new experience, and he placed a spotlight on both the simple pleasures of life and the extraordinary encounters that traveling the world offers those willing to take the risk. Bourdain taught me that traveling rewards those of us who focus on the people we meet as well as the places we see.

I am now embarking on a season of life, God willing, that I will have the opportunity to travel to new places and partake in new adventures. Anthony Bourdain has changed how I will travel both near and far.

  1. I will invite others to join me when I eat. I now believe traveling experiences are made better by the people I meet and our shared time together. I’ve learned that I can discover more about people and culture through conversations over a meal than any source of media.
  1. I will push past my comfort zone and take initiative to try new foods, new drinks, and new adventures unique to my destination. Certainly, there will be many experiences I will dislike and many I will love. Most of them, I’ve learned, I will never forget.
  2. I will value the intimate moments created by sharing a meal with others. I will remember that a great meal should not be prepared in a rush, eaten quickly, or taken for granted. I learned a great meal, regardless of the ingredients, is best prepared with love, excitement, and enjoyed as a celebration of bringing people together.
  1. I will meet and build genuine relationships will people who differ from me religiously, politically, culturally, and ethnically. The ability to act with curiosity, love, and respect towards our differences, as opposed to criticism, anger, and pride, is a superpower I intend to grow. I’ve learned that understanding the life stories of the people I meet is an extraordinary experience.
  1. I will place great value in discovering what I can learn and apply from each trip as opposed to only focusing on fun and relaxation. Application of learned knowledge is the key.
  1. The Pursuit of Growth Co-Founder, Sammy Gonzalez, (also a huge Anthony Bourdain admirer) shared this lesson with me about traveling often and intentionally appreciating the amazing sites and wonders offered by our world. He said, “The more places you go, the more you realize you are a tiny little spec in this universe and timeline. Eyes wide open is a great way to live when visiting places.”

    These 6 takeaways apply for travel of any distance, and they are especially important for the handful of miles I travel each day surrounding the city I call home.

    Reread these 6 takeaways and ask yourself if you will apply each statement in your day-to-day life and your day-to-day travels. My answer is “Yes, I will.”