I left him in Tanzania: How Anthony Bourdain Destroyed My Relationship

SK Parfait Africa, Culture, Health & Wellness, Lifestyle, Tanzania, Travel 2 Comments

I’m not implying that Mr. Bourdain ended any personal relations, rather the exposure to his show Parts Unknown brought about a sort of enlightenment on what everyday life could become if present circumstances remained. The following is not a tale of any direct actions of Mr. Bourdain, but rather his influence, inspiration, and inadvertent ability to surface enlightenment on desires of the heart. Below is a true story showing how this new sense of self-realization unfolded.

Never given command of the remote control, this newfound Netflix & Chill presented itself to watch something more than reality TV, which is as real as imitation cheese in Wisconsin, real scripted, and a real oxymoron. I quickly searched for Parts Unknown to help satisfy my love for culture and travel. Scrolling through episodes I paused on those of countries previously visited, in consideration of catching a clip of a site once stepped for a memory relived. Scrolling stopped as soon as Tanzania was shown. In a flood of childhood memories, I envisioned a lecture with Jane Goodall and PBS presentations of Mary and Louis Leakey in Olduvai Gorge. Beckoning a Bourdainesque bucket list, I clicked on Tanzania to learn more.

The episode began and quickly showcased street food. Moments later he walked in with a concurrent look of disgust and disinterest. He said, “Ugh, what are you watching?” Not to disregard the fact that he had never heard of the show or the author, he had no interest in my explanation of wanting to explore Tanzania and learning about a new culture. He said I could go solo and I immediately realized this man could never be a travel companion. If street food scared this wanderlustless lad, then how would he rationalize future conflict and change? To be honest, all street food is questionable, but isn’t that where some of the best and most authentic cultural confections are found? It’s about having a mind open to the parts unknown, the countries yet to explore, and the food to be had. Life is not scripted, but solely your reaction to what is presented and pushed into view. As Anthony Bourdain says, “Your body is not a temple it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.” I’d like to add to that and caution you to jump off that ride if the brakes are on because no one should hold you back from your goals and ambitions for life. This circles back to acceptance of diversity and individuality and rationalization of personal relationships. I was lifted out of the current situation, processing what I would accept in a partnership and failed to notice that he regained control of the remote. He said, “This is enough of that…here we go,” and quickly chose Trailer Park Boys. Comic relief is sometimes necessary, and each to their own on watching mindless material as perhaps it replicates meditation, but seriously? From Bourdain to Bubbles, this spectrum had clearly differing dimensions. A lead character with a passport and street food on one end, and an ankle bracelet and a rum and coke on the other. As I sat there dumbfounded by the channel change, not even the kooky character Bubbles, with his magnifying glass goggles could force a smile, for I knew this could not be my destiny. The spectrum represented not only taste in television, but hunger for the unknown in one, and contentment with what is for the other.

 Defining moments make you realize what you truly want or need and that everyone you meet on your path has some purpose, if only to indirectly help you discover what that purpose is. An event may be miniscule, but it can create a thought that runs rampant throughout that ride, alluding to a future regress back to your beginning. Do not compromise your goals in attempt to make things work, having the “this is it” mentality. If you commit yourself to one person, you lesson the opportunity to meet new faces, explore new places. Sometimes a breakup brings about the best bibliography that one could never fathom. What you are willing to accept in a relationship changes, even the rationalization or manifestation. On the other hand, what gives your life meaning probably won’t change, so I encourage you not to push aside those deep desires. Search for someone that makes you forget the place and the people, with the perception that time is limitless and no one else exists. Be so engrossed in your goals that you won’t accept anything less than encouragement and support, for a match that sees your soul and restarts that ride. Don’t perpetrate a pedestal but burgeon that balance beam. Find a person that won’t shatter once that pedestal is removed but somebody that will help you balance or bounce from any fall or fortitude that life forces your way.

Again this is me, but I’d guess there’s a good chance that if you admire and respect the work of Anthony Bourdain, you just might feel the same. Regardless, we all have the same end goal for life and love. We need to accept and understand different cultures, personalities, and goals to honor the possibility of a perceivably perfect reality while enjoying the ride.

-Stephanie Krubsack

Comments 2

  1. My partner and I are touring Tanzania, and my oldest son said we had to try The Rock on the beach on Zanzibar — he has also been talking about visiting restaurants that Anthony Bourdain has talked about (he and his partner are travelling through Asia and SE Asia) — and so I wanted to look up Anthony Bourdain in Tanzania and of course his show came up, but so did your blog post which I really enjoyed and appreciated — so glad you escaped the Trailer Park!

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