The Trip in a world without Anthony Bourdain is, if anything, even more urgent and important to us at Roads & Kingdoms.
This post originally appeared on October 1, 2018, in R&K’s weekly newsletter. Read the archives and subscribe to the newsletter.
Hey there: What was your summer like? Mountains of barbecue? A lake house somewhere? Night fishing? Endless nightshifts? Family brawls? Some other shade of joy or despair?
Mine was a long kabuki of sunbaked scenes with friends and families while the real world, offstage, was defined by a singular, breathtakingly sad act. A couple weeks before the solstice, on location in Alsace, while filming for Parts Unknown, my partner at Roads & Kingdoms Anthony Bourdain committed suicide.
I’m talking about this three months later because today marks, at last, a new season. I can’t file all of the confusion of the summer away like sandals and guayaberas. But I can pivot just a bit, away from June 8, toward whatever comes next. So today we are relaunching The Trip.
The Trip, a podcast that ran for a limited season earlier this year, was an experiment. Not just a media experiment, but also an experiment about whether or not I could convince Bourdain to be a part of it at all. He was a master of strong opinions lightly held, and he thought he fucking hated podcasts, at least until the moment that I and a few other podcast addicts in his life, like his co-author Laurie Woolever, were able to convince him that he shouldn’t. And then he was all in.
So he did The Trip with me. He voiced intros masterfully. He had edited many of the stories that were turned into episodes, and he played able hypeman for the podcast they populated. While there is no role more primed for failure than being the guy whose voice had to follow Bourdain’s, I knew that it was Tony who made it possible.
The Trip in a world without Tony is, if anything, even more urgent and important to us at Roads & Kingdoms. So we’re going weekly, and we’ll keep going until we can’t anymore. Each episode will drop on Monday. We’ll be doing more of them out in the world (I’ve already taped in Mexico, Russia, Denmark and beyond). We’re cutting down on sound editing and focusing in on the interviews, in the hopes that my guests—most of whom are people you’ve never heard of, living very different lives from you or me—will share something that is meaningful to you.
We don’t know if you’ll like The Trip. But we think the world needs it. To paraphrase chef/humanitarian José Andrés, one of the guests on today’s episode: Bourdain’s genius was about building bridges in an era of walls. Our job is to keep building as long as we can.