Last week, Anthony Bourdain discussed how he chooses the destinations for his show Parts Unknown. Though the tone and style of Bourdain’s show aren’t really my things, I do appreciate the far flung and always-fascinating destinations he features. And I was particularly struck at how he chooses those destinations:

There are only so many places left in this world with beautiful views, and they are all under threat of different kinds. I think this is a constant of the show: Let’s got to paradise and find out, “is it really paradise? How long might it be? What kind of pressures are they under? How do they survive? How do they keep it real?

What I like about that comment is that Boudain acknowledges that, as travelers, we all want to go to the most amazing places. It’s a pretty universal sentiment.

But he doesn’t stop there. Instead, he sees “paradise” as the beginning of the journey, where the point isn’t to relax but rather to learn. In this paradigm, beautiful places aren’t so much destinations as they are opportunities to expand horizons.

Bourdain goes on to point that he is “part of a destructive process” because visiting places and sharing information about them inevitably changes them — an important point to keep in mind for any traveler.

You can watch the full interview with Bourdain (it’s less than three minutes long) here.

Related reading: 

Travel should make the world a better place

I interviewed Rick Steves about going to Cuba. This is what he said.

— Jim Dalrymple II



Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.

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