It’s good to step outside of our box

As I absorbed the news of the death Friday of chef, television host and author Anthony Bourdain, I thought of some of the comments I’ve either heard of read from a man who worked to connect the world through food and friendship.

One, in particular, stuck with me, and I think it sums up his life philosophy and sets a goal for all of us.

“If I’m an advocate of anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.”

I don’t think Bourdain was necessarily saying to pick up our lives and become nomads, spending the rest of our lives traveling from place to place without having somewhere to call home. No, to me this was his way of encouraging us to step outside of the box many of us tend to build up around our lives; to expand our horizons, to meet new people, to try new things.

We get comfortable in the lives we have established, setting up a meat-and-potatoes world when there are all sorts of cuisines just a few blocks away.

In a time when there is so much talk of building walls, would we be better off to reach out and try to better understand each other?

Surely there are places we’ve all wanted to visit, whether it was another country, another part of our nation or even just another community in West Virginia.

For that matter, I’m willing to bet there are restaurants in our own community some of you have never tried and events you have never attended.

Adventure of any kind can help us to learn and grow as individuals. Sharing our knowledge can do the same for others.

Experiencing a different lifestyle or culture, whether it be for a few days or a few hours, can have a profound effect on us.

Even just picking up a book and reading about the history of a group can open us up in some of the best ways.

The world is vast and its people diverse. Some of it is good, and parts aren’t, but it shouldn’t be completely unknown to us.

There is an inate need in the human mind to explore and discover new things. Just think about where we would be had Columbus, Polo, da Vinci, Galileo or Lewis and Clark decided to just sit at home and not try something different.

So, I encourage everyone to take that quote to heart. Try a new restaurant, plan a trip to a place you’ve never been, say hello to someone, learn from each other and make the world at least a little better.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)