isabelle thye_anthony bourdain

The day Anthony Bourdain showed me a piece of the real world

I watched Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown while having dinner one day. It was the episode when he visited Libya in 2013.

isabelle thye_anthony bourdain

It was an eye-opening episode.

He talked to people who hold guns and went on the battlefield to take down Gaddafi during the revolution.

They were killers. A man said that Gaddafi left him with no choice. If they didn’t kill the villain, more innocent people will be killed.

A soldier showed Anthony the walls plastered with pictures of casualties. As he pointed to the faces he knew, he talked briefly about them as if death was as normal as brushing teeth.

A girl abandoned her studies in Canada and came back for her country. She devoted herself to treating patients during the war without any prior experience.

‘In the middle of it, I didn’t think if we can actually free Libya, I just go with the state of mind that I’m gonna do my best and I’m in peace with myself if I died. You never realize how much injury or trauma you got inside yourself. And then you find yourself here, right now. Now… this is the grey area.’

The state of Libya was fluid in 2013. When Anthony asked a man how hard it will be to restructure Libya, he said it was not hard at all.

‘We got rid of Gaddafi, nothing else is hard.’

I was stunned being exposed to real people who fought the war to free their country, and the optimism in people who have gone through the worst to believe that tomorrow will be better.

I looked at my bank account earlier that day, realizing that shit just got real. It was stressful to calculate how long I can sustain myself without getting paid by the company I just started.

There I was, worrying about not having enough money in my bank account.

What the heck. They are just printed piece of colour papers.

Then I told myself – keep your perspective, stay focus, and remember that life is a playground. Have fun!

Did Anthony Bourdain solve my problem?

Sort of. He let me see another facet of life where money couldn’t get you what you want.

It was a good day after all.

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