Anthony Bourdain has a vision of what a “normal” family is: “It’s one of those weird sitcoms where Mom and Dad and their kids all sit down at the table and eat dinner together.” But when it comes to his own life, “that’s just not the way it ever was,” he says.
Traveling 250 days a year while working on projects, like his CNN show Parts Unknown, means the chef had to miss his fair share of family meals. “I’m living the dream,” Bourdain, 60, tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue, on stands Friday. “I have the best job in the world and I’m very grateful for that. And I don’t plan on walking away from that any time soon, I can assure you—but it comes at a cost.” Most recently, that cost was to his marriage to mixed martial artist, Ottavia Busia, which ended earlier this year.
“Having been a chef for many years was in someway good preparation for this phase of my life,” says Bourdain, who just released his first cookbook in over 10 years, Appetites. “As a chef, I didn’t know any normal people either, I had no real home life and was always working when everyone else was playing, and was always somewhere out there.”
Bourdain compares his often-lonely life on the road to David Bowie’s song “The Space Oddity.” “I relate very much to that,” he says, “like I’m sitting in a tin can orbiting the earth for much of the time.”
“I now wake up alone in lot of faraway places looking at beautiful vistas and doing interesting things,” he continues. “But the truth is I’m alone for most of that time.”
WATCH: Anthony Bourdain and Wife Ottavia Busia Have Separated
For more on Bourdain, plus a recipe from his new cookbook, Appetites, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
Despite their recent split, the chef says he and Busia will continue to live their “very separate lives” — with one shared priority: their nine-year-old daughter, Ariane. “As a family, I think we’ve done a really good job and we’re doing a really good job and would like to keep it that way,” he says. “As a marriage, clearly its not ideal but there’s no injured party here.”
And for the few days a year Bourdain is home in New York City, his “normal” is making Ariane the center of his world. “On a typical day, I’m going to wake up early, prepare my daughter’s school lunch, walk her to school, pick her up at school and maybe we’ll cook dinner together,” he says. “That would be ideal.”