The Parts Unknown host, who will premiere the 10th season of the hit CNN show on October 1, told PEOPLE about how his girlfriend, Italian actress Asia Argento, has inspired his work, affected his travel itinerary (“I spend a lot of time in Italy,” he laughs), and is able to relate to his on-the-road lifestyle.
“[Asia] has spent a lifetime in film since she was 9 years old. She comes from generations of filmmakers on both sides of the family. She’s a really accomplished director and writer along with being a longtime actress and a real sponge for culture, music, literature. So she’s enormously helpful and inspiring,” says Bourdain, 61.
Since her debut on the Rome episode of Parts Unknown during season eight, Argento has offered recommendations for both the last season and the upcoming season, which will take viewers on a tour of the French Alps, Singapore, Puerto Rico, Seattle, Sri Lanka, Pittsburgh, southern Italy, and Lagos, Nigeria.
“We were shooting in Nigeria and I get a text [from Asia] saying, ‘Are you aware of the Nigeria psychedelic rock scene from the 1970s?’ and I’m like, ‘What? No!'” he says. “This was an enormously helpful, inspiring thing that altered the sound for the show and changed up a lot.”
More recently, the pair got to celebrate Bourdain’s work at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards. “Best Emmys ever,” he wrote on a photo of their first red carpet together last week.
WATCH: See Why Anthony Bourdain Wants to ‘Kill’ All the Friends Characters
“We both work a lot,” he says of the mom of two, “and we’re both away from home a lot so we’re both circus freaks in the same circus—or different circuses I guess.”
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And his circus shows no signs of slowing down. In addition to weighing in on everything from the type of cameras they’ll use for Parts Unknown to the hotel he stays in, the former chef is also behind two new upcoming documentaries, Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent and Wasted! The Story of Food Waste.
“I’m a person who likes being busy, I need a project always,” he says. “I’m not a person, obviously, who’s happy being idle for too long. I like waking up with things to do. I have a restless, creative mind.”