Beloved celebrity chef and travel documentarian Anthony Bourdain has been gone for five years now, but his influence on how we travel and eat our way through the world remains strong. Ryan Bedsaul explores how Bourdain’s on-screen work, especially Parts Unknown, has helped him connect to and navigate the vast, enigmatic city of Los Angeles.

Back when I was feeling lost in Los Angeles with Bourdain as my guide, that’s exactly what I did. I moved. I explored my new city with an open mind and an appetite. I familiarized myself with its limited and underutilized public transit system, traveling every direction off the metro line that city bus routes would allow. As I trekked farther and farther away from home, each stop introduced me to a new corner of the city, from the untamed stretches of the Los Angeles river to the thriving ramen shops off Sawtelle Boulevard.

When I traveled through Morocco, I never felt as if I were that unwelcome or disruptive presence that seems foundational to influencer culture, but I know that, if I ever go back, there are other things I would do to more deeply engage with the people I meet. At the very least, I would be less concerned with developing my own narrative and more concerned with understanding the narratives of those around me, and that’s largely thanks to the way Bourdain reoriented my attitude to the city I live in today.

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.