I recently sat down with Patricia Schultz, author of the wildly successful book (turned into more books, calendars, travel journals, and even a Travel Channel TV show…) 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. A new edition of her famous book has just been release as a vivid and stunning pictorial journey around the globe with 1,000 Places to See Before You Die: The World as You’ve Never Seen it Before.
We met for tea at the newly opened Hudson Yards on the west side of Manhattan, which has recently undergone a multi-billion dollar reinvention project. The new Hudson Yards gleams with shimmering glass skyscrapers, mammoth artwork (such as the now-famous Vessel, created by Thomas Heatherwick), and a plethora of new shops and dining experiences. And yes, Hudson Yards is featured in the new addition of her book.
As our drinks came to the table, I asked my first question.
So, what inspired you to write the original book?
Well, I had helped co-write a book for Workman that did pretty well, and I was already an avid traveler. So they approached me to write a new book with this crazy concept of being everywhere someone could ever want to go. I started off thinking that it could take me three years to write the book, but then, I just got lost in it. Visiting places around the world, writing down everything I could… It ended up taking a whopping EIGHT years for me to finish the original 1,000 Places book! And I feel very fortunate that I was given that much time to make it happen.
This new edition is very different from the previous ones. This is a larger book, complete with color photographs of every destination. What made you want to re-work the book in this new way?
I think there’s always a new wave of travelers being born. Whether you’re just now graduating college and are taking time to explore, or maybe you’ve just retired and finally have the time to take that dream trip you’ve always wanted. I made this book is for them. I think images are so evocative and inspirational, and that’s why I wanted to use them for this new book. I believe that travel is important. I made this book as a wake up call, as a call to action.
Too many people say, “one day I’ll take that trip…” And I say that day could be today. I want to tell people, the world is beautiful! Go explore it! You don’t want to be that person who sits on your deathbed saying “I wish I would have gone to….” You want to be able to say, “I lived my life and had a great time!” That’s what this new book is all about, and there’s no better wakeup call that being able to see the world!
Out of the 1,000 places in the book, where are some that have impacted you the most?
Definitely Italy. I spent some time living in Florence when I was younger and it changed me. I adore Italy. The music, the people watching, the culture, the food, the natural beauty all around you in both the people and the landscape – It’s like heaven on Earth. And in fact, Italy has more UNESCO Heritage Sites than anywhere else in the world! Italy taught me how travel.
I also think the African safari had a huge impact on me. Places like Botswana especially. I mean, the wildlife, come on, does it get any better? Until you see a herd of giant elephants in the wild, you can’t understand the pure awe-inspiring beauty of how immense and gorgeous they are. It’s beautiful.
And I’d also say Southeast Asia. From Singapore to Vietnam, it’s simply wonderful. The people there are so incredibly kind. And the food is bright, colorful, fresh, and delicious. I think those are the three places that have changed me the most.
Now, be honest with me… are there any destinations in the book you haven’t been to yet?
Well, duh! Do you know how hard it is for a single person to go to 1,000 places? I’m happy to admit though that there really aren’t that many. I’ve been around the block…or the globe I should say. One of the places I haven’t been to yet is New Zealand. But, I’m going there next month, so I’m very excited to cross that off my list!
Well, if you haven’t been there… How can you know it’s someplace people need to go to?
(Patricia laughed) I mean… have you ever seen a photo of New Zealand?
Yes, I used to live there…
Do you think it’s one of the most beautiful places you’ve ever been?
Of course! It’s incredible!
There ya’ go… I was right.
I’m in love with this woman. She travels, she wrote one of the best-selling books of all time, and she’s feisty and hilarious. It’s no wonder that people of all ages continue to gravitate towards her book, even almost 20 years after its original publication. Her personality is magnetic. She draws you in and makes you want to travel alongside her.
I was also extremely lucky to get an advanced copy of the book, and can personally say, it’s stunning. Large color photographs are paired with vivid descriptions and stories of the world’s most spectacular destinations. It’s perfect for anyone looking for travel inspiration or a great read.
1,000 Places to See Before You Die: The World as You’ve Never Seen it Before, is a gorgeous hardcover coffee table book priced at $50.00. It’s available on Amazon and Workman’s website, and wherever books are sold.