25+ Inspiring Anthony Bourdain Quotes About Travel

Over 25 of the best inspirational Anthony Bourdain quotes about travel!

The Roadrunner documentary recently came out – a raw look at Anthony Bourdain. The man who taught me – us – how to see and interact with the world. To say it was an emotional journey would be kind. Spencer came with me as a sign of support, knowing how much Anthony impacted my life. I credit him with inspiring me to make my first trip abroad somewhere extraordinary, somewhere out of my comfort zone – Egypt. It was the trip that changed everything.

Though of course, I’m not alone in my admiration for Tony. He changed travel and what it is, for the better. The movie shed a light on him in a great way – so if you don’t know much about him other than Parts Unknown or No Reservations, I implore you to go and watch it. It’s a wonderful testament to his life, but also to the struggles it brought with it, and hopefully sparks discussion about happiness and mental health.

The biggest lesson I learned from him is that travel is more than a checklist – it’s a feeling, it’s people, it’s food, it’s communicating without words, it’s being uncomfortable, it’s being open. So I put together some of my favorite Anthony Bourdain quotes to keep handy when I’m feeling lost in this world.

On Planning

As a massive planner, I’ve learned that planning is often a traveler’s downfall. I’ve adapted to winging it, to learning to go with the flow, and watching Tony every week helped me to learn how to do it!

“I learned a long time ago that trying to micromanage the perfect vacation is always a disaster. That leads to terrible times.”

“Nothing unexpected and wonderful is going to happen if you have an itinerary in Paris filled with the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.”

“I’m a big believer in winging it. I’m a big believer that you’re never going to find the perfect city travel experience or the perfect meal with 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 stick to some rigid itinerary.”

“Plans should be ephemeral, so be prepared to move away from them.”

On the Road Ahead

“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.”

“I learned a long time ago that trying to micromanage the perfect vacation is always a disaster. That leads to terrible times.”

“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.”

“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.:

“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?”

On Travel as a Whole

“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 have still to go, how much more there is to learn.”

“Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown.”

“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, 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.”

“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.”

On People

“Give the people you work with or deal with or have relationships with the respect to show up at the time you said you were going to. And by that I mean, every day, always and forever. Always be on time.”

“It’s those little human moments that stick with you forever, the random acts of kindness.”

“I don’t have to agree with you to like you or respect you.”

“Skills can be taught. Character you either have or you don’t have.”

“Meals make the society, hold the fabric together in lots of ways that were charming and interesting and intoxicating to me. The perfect meal, or the best meals, occur in a context that frequently has very little to do with the food itself.”

“I think food, culture, people, and landscape are all absolutely inseparable.”

“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.”

On Success

“Without new ideas, success can become stale.”

“What are our expectations? Which of the things we desire are within reach? If not now, when? And will there be some left for me?”

“I have a tattoo on my arm, that says, in ancient Greek, ‘I am certain of nothing.’ I think that’s a good operating principle.”

“But I do think the idea that basic cooking skills are a virtue, that the ability to feed yourself and a few others with proficiency should be taught to every young man and woman as a fundamental skill, should become as vital to growing up as learning to wipe one’s own ass, cross the street by oneself, or be trusted with money.”

“I am not afraid to look like an idiot.”

“If I believe in anything, it is doubt. The root cause of all life’s problems is looking for a simple f—ing answer.”

Pin this post for when you need a little bit of inspiration only Anthony Bourdain can provide

Anthony Bourdain Travel Quotes

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