I owe Anthony Bourdain so much

I myself have contemplated walking to Santiago de Compostela, or to Rome. Long before I ever encountered Anthony Bourdain (my initiation was his series “The Layover” where I fell in love with his crisp diction that suffered no fools). I wanted to take a road less travelled, but divorce, new jobs, new life, everything postpones that walk.

I think it was Boing Boing where I found out about Appetites, his only cookbook and one of the cookbooks I have learned to treasure in the short time it has been out. His tips for making a grilled cheese or an omelette have made me feted at the office, I admit, when we cook a communal lunch and I am happy to cook for others. I could never work as a cook, but in a way it reminds me of acting, and the applause afterwards.

His death will remain a mystery for me, for what I hope are good reasons. Suicide is stopped by one question, really: “I wonder what will happen tomorrow?” And it is sad to think that at age 61, he had no good answer.


Best description of PTSD I’ve ever read and eerily similar to my own story. You have a talent for writing, you could probably write this into a good biography/novel.


For all the untold hours I spend clogging up my brain up with absurd Internet noise and nonsense, this story cut straight through to the guts, man. It was medicine made out of words.

About two or three paragraphs in, some kind of ancient and calcified emotional boulder suddenly dislodged, and I read the rest of the story through spasms of sobs and tears. I had forgotten the antiseptic properties of a solid, heaving, full body weep. Thank you very much for reminding me, it had been too long.

I only know Bourdain through following his work over the years, but I can very well imagine he would have genuinely appreciated being the inspiration for the brave and artful reflection that you given us here.


Lovely essay, and I mean that. The honesty in the essay matched some of what I love about Bourdain - he’s ruthlessly honest about himself and rarely if ever spouts any bullshit.


could it be that fame and fortune requires always more commitments to others, ever more responsibilities and expectations on self and to others? i suffer depression, always have. it’s a real drag.


Rare is the post that can move me to tears.
A pain shared is lessened, a joy shared increases the amount of joy in the universe.
Thank you in equal measure. Keep that love like the rare blue wine of memory.

RIP Anthony Bourdain, may your wandering spirit find peace at last.


Thank you, Seamus Bellamy, for sharing your Self with us.

As the wife of a person with PTSD - and who has a version of it herself as a result - reading words like this are the reminder that I often need. How else can we live, after all, but one day - sometimes one moment - at a time?


Spent most of life with suicidal depression, questioning whether I really existed or not. Came from loving family that divorced at young age and one side had lots of mental issues of rage and bipolar inherited. Was and am fat and nerdy, bullied 1st half of life. Turned onto an angry, Japanese bilingual biker greasemonkey. Still massively angry and depressed waking up American everyday slaving in a career I ended up in I hate, machining, and not using my Japanese degree. Miss tooling around Japan the 3 years or so I lived there. Somehow I have never been addicted to any drugs, save chainsmoking cigars, and drinking nothing but 100 proof plus whiskey. My father is a morose alcoholic. My mother is awesome.

Bourdain was the guy I wished I could be, like so many others. I can’t cook worth shit though. His writing was the only stuff I ever saw myself in, having friend die from meth when I lived in oklahoma shithole of a town learning watchmaking, and then all hell broke loose.

A lot of shit I can never talk about to anyone has happened to me, against my will. Ive seen hells I never wanted. I wake up to them everyday. And Ive been unemployed 8 months, despite trying to be employed in a career I continue to hate.

The only times outside Japan I ever felt relief from the hell was watching No Reservations, reading Kitchen Confidential. Parts Unknown got too happy for me, but I still enjoyed it a lot. No Reservations seemed more like no one guided his narrative, misery was escaped by wondering grizzled effectively. I forgot my life watching his show then.

I figured if anyone wouldn’t give in, it was that magnificent fucker. He survived even more than me, and came out world famous, rich, admired, and paid to effectively escape this shithole most of the year.

I guess some darkness never leaves you. His caught up with him. Maybe having the greatest job in the world after the most fucked up past leaves you with no one left to really relate to. Noone left who can sympathize, only envy you. Maybe that’s why he did it- no one could believe a guy with that kinda life could possibly be sad.

I wished I coulda bought him one drink, and talked sushi with him for just 5 minutes.

Rest in peace Tony, you were the only man in the world that didnt want your life. I can’t imagine what kind of hell makes a man escape such a life, and a loving daughter. Be at peace you magnificent bastard.


Rando Dude,

If you can write like that, you have a profession & life that will endure any hell.


Seconding what Papasan voiced. Our culture unfortunately doesn’t have a surface value for heartfelt reflections of what we have personally experienced - but if you get beyond that surface, you see exactly how much it is worth when we do share what we have been through. Oftentimes, it is exactly what the rest of us are waiting to hear. I hope you continue to share your story, and that you are able to see the value in it - for all of our sakes.


This is so well put, I don’t think I can express it any better.


It’s taken me a day or so to get the courage to reply. Thank you for sharing your story. I’ve enjoyed many of your contributions to boingboing. I’ve struggled with ideation and reactive thoughts about taking my own life. I don’t know why, . I’ll just leave it at that. I know it’s a constant struggle.


…but is it really worth the drive to Acton…?
:smiley: TO/Niagara native here.


This was an achingly beautiful, sad, hopeful ;piece of writing, @SeamusBellamy Thank you.


@SeamusBellamy thank you for writing this. To you and anyone who struggles with mental health: I hope you always find help when you need it - and we all need it sometimes. Remember there is an infinite list of things you can explore to make staying around worth it - the first one I’d recommend is meditation if you haven’t already tried it. Best wishes and take care everyone.


I’m currently being crushed by multiple deadlines, but that’s my fault, and a fine problem for a freelancer to have.

But, yes, overall, I’m OK. Thanks for the concern.


I loved his show “Parts Unknown”. He will surely be missed. Its a great tragedy that suicide is on the rise in the US.

I don’t even know how to begin becoming a writer at this age if that’s what you’re implying.

The thought has occurred to me before without extreme verocity, and while I have had an interesting life along with the kind of interesting Chinese curses wish on people, I don’t have Tony’s spectacular ability to fill in the gaps with apocrypha that keeps your mind’s ear on its toes.

Basically I’m not good at bullshiting to fill the gaps.

Some people have suggested I become a writer but I honestly have no conception of how to do that. And I suck at telling stories in person I’m the last person anyone in the room listens to unless I am drunk.

Didn’t mean to detract from Sheamus’s important narrative because I really enjoyed his piece as well and he’s done some things and been through some things I can’t imagine.

Best way to keep someone from committing suicide- and I say this as somebody who has often been in that spot for less than trivial reasons as well as trivial reasons, if you are their friend- find the person who loves them the most, and have them break down emotionally what would happen to that person if you off yourself. Get them to develop a strong sense of guilt that overrides the need for death.

Thats the only reason I’m still here. But depending on your situation life can still be hell. Sometimes there is no good way to wake up everyday, you just do it. Even when every second you’re awake is a second you wish you were just asleep to escape everything or rather just not fucking deal with any of it anymore.

1 Like

What you wrote here is a good start.

1 Like

I’d aspire to be Hemingway because I liked his aesthetic and I like scotch but we all know how that turned out.

Kind of self-defeating if you’re trying to escape suicide, to emulate Hemingway.

Bukowski, Hunter S. Thompson, Bourdain. That’s my vein.

Edit- Gibson and Sterling in there too. Cryptonomicon’s flow was sublime

1 Like