From New York City to Nigeria, Miami to Myanmar, Anthony Bourdain had a natural knack for ferreting out authentic experiences no matter where he was in the world. In World Travel: An Irreverent Guide, on sale on April 20, readers get one more chance to spend some time with the prolific writer and traveler who is still very much deeply missed.
Bourdain and longtime collaborator and assistant, coauthor Laurie Woolever started discussing the idea for World Travel in March 2017, but work for the book would not start in earnest until the spring of 2018, right before his death in June of that same year. There was only one meeting; however, it was a productive one. Here, Woolever shares what it was like to bring the book into the world.
How did you and Anthony Bourdain narrow down the locations featured in World Travel?
As I detail in the book’s introduction, we sat down together and mapped out a list of what should be included, based on places that he could recall off the top of his head and had a specific memory or relationship with, or another reason to want to recommend it. Of course, there are other places he was quite fond of, that for one reason or another, didn’t make it into the book, but this book represents a very good selection of those places he’d send someone if they asked him for advice.
Can you explain how you arrived at the subtitle, An Irreverent Guide?
Anthony Bourdain was a respectful but always irreverent traveler and guest, everywhere he went in the world, and his commentary on the types places we chose to include in World Travel—fine dining in Lyon, strip clubs in Atlanta and Los Angeles, a crab shack in Cambodia, a museum of erotica in Peru—really reflects that dichotomy of irreverence and respect.
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While World Travel is very much a celebration of food, travel, and Anthony Bourdain’s life, how does it feel to you to see this project come to completion?
It is of course tremendously bittersweet to see World Travel now out in a world without Tony, but I am very proud of it, glad to have had the chance to make a tangible piece of his legacy, and grateful to the people from his life who contributed the essays throughout the book.
What do you think Anthony Bourdain would have thought of the final product?
I never want to speak for him, but I have to imagine that he would have been proud and excited to share this book with world travelers and armchair adventurers.
World Travel: An Irreverent Guide goes on sale tomorrow, April 20, 2021.