Editor’s Note: We want to offer our sincerest condolences to Anthony Bourdain’s family, friends, and colleagues.
While Proud American Traveler genuinely disagreed with most of his politics and some of his traveling philosophies, there’s no doubt that his work has inspired many Americans to travel this beautiful world the Lord has blessed us with.
Before his passing, Anthony Bourdain had recently explained to Money Magazine’s Megan Leonhardt why he thought Americans are terrible travelers:
Anthony Bourdain thinks traveling to Paris just to stand atop the Eiffel Tower is lethal to your soul. And a selfie in front of the pyramids in Giza? Completely overrated.
Bourdain is on a mission to change how we see and experience the world. Skip the tourist traps. Avoid the lines. And please, please, never book a prepackaged tour.
My last trip was a tour de force of Scandinavia and the Netherlands. In a mere 12 days, I hit up Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Amsterdam. Ten museums. Countless swanky cocktail bars. Seven palaces. Palaces! And I Instagrammed every minute of it.
Bourdain tells me I’m terrible.
Okay, not exactly in those words, but he says these marathon sprints to as many places as possible are a bad idea. “I want to wander in one city, in one town,” he says.
He makes me feel slightly better when he says this is a mistake everyone makes—creating a hectic schedule of must-see tourist stops.
“It’s punishing,” Bourdain says with a grimace. “The sort of frenzied compression of time needed to take the tour, to see the sights, keeps you in a bubble that prevents you from having magic happen to you. Nothing unexpected or wonderful is likely to happen if you have an itinerary in Paris filled with the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.”
Of course, Bourdain did have a point here. American-style sightseeing vacations do tend to be exhausting.
I just returned from a trip to Rome. And I need a vacation from my vacation.
After a 10 hour overnight flight (in coach) on which I got exactly 25 minutes of sleep, we immediately launched into a 72 hour whirlwind itinerary of every top site in Rome — and beyond.
Out until midnight at the bars and restaurants. Up every day at 7am or 6am or (ouch) 4am to catch that shuttle bus to Pompeii.
Yes. Yes, it is.
But guess what? This is how most Americans travel. And we should.
There is a LOT of the world to see — history, beauty, art and real life — and you should want to see the very best, most important places … in the most interesting, and cost-effective way.
I wish I could spend the first three days of my vacation nursing my jetlag sipping vino in a back alley in the hip Trastevere neighborhood soaking up the local flavor.
Unfortunately, that’s not an option for me — or most American travelers.
Despite the fact that I obligatorily tossed a coin over my left shoulder into Trevi Fountain, there is a good chance I will never step foot in Rome again.
I’m just being realistic.
I mean, Rome was great. But been there, done that, bought the magnet…
…time to move on the entire REST OF ITALY, EUROPE AND THE WORLD I still haven’t seen.
Now, if this gig with Proud American Traveler somehow scores me my own cable TV show and I can quit my day job, then yeah. I’ll come back to Rome.
Again and again.
After all, it was easy for Bourdain traveling on a Fake News CNN expense account to say he’d rather hang out all day with the locals on a sidewalk cafe than go to the Coliseum.
But like many Americans, I only get a couple weeks of paid vacation per year — and I have to reserve half of that for waiting around for the cable guy or the day my water heater busts.
And even if you are in the position to travel for multiple weeks every year, there is still so much to see and do, you want to make the best choices.
For most Americans, an Italian vacation is a once or twice in a lifetime event — literally.
So if I am going to Italy for a week, I’m jam packing that itinerary with as many “must see” sights as I can.
But there is a smart way to do it. And a dumb way to do it.
Is it possible to see all the sights without standing in long lines, eating at chain restaurants and packing onto overcrowded tour busses that Bourdain rightfully despised so much?
This is where Proud American Traveler can help you.
At Proud American Traveler, we understand how Americans REALLY travel — why we travel that way, and why most of the time that is the RIGHT way to travel (if you do it smart, and that is really what Proud American Traveler is all about, helping you do it better, smarter and more cost-effectively)…
…even if famous CNN television personality and former chef Anthony Bourdain didn’t always approve.
We’ll guide you through the best destinations, the best times to go, and the best way to squeeze the most out of your precious one or two weeks of paid vacation.
We’ll show you how to survive that red eye flight to Europe, how to avoid the busloads of Japanese tourists at Old Faithful, how to thwart the pickpockets in Barcelona… and how to find the best creole restaurant in New Orleans.
Hopefully you’ll have fun and save some time and money along the way.
After all, we’re Americans. We have limited time and a limited budget — and we want to get the most out of both.
So keep reading. We’ll help you see all the sights, post all the iconic pictures AND…
…find those local places that Anthony Bourdain might have actually loved.