TRAVEL HERE/TRAVEL THERE: TIPS FROM THE AUTHOR OF 1000 PLACES
Patricia Schultz, author of 1000 Places to See Before You Die, is a conservatively dressed lady who wears her hair up. She wasn’t who I was expecting. I sort of thought she’d stroll in wearing a sari or sporting a beret. She proves that anyone could be a world traveler – even you.
Traveling Alone and Along
She didn’t learn travel trailing along behind a vagabond parent or as the companion to an eccentric aunt. As a matter of fact, the only place she ever went on family vacations was Atlantic City.
The first moments of her presentation were devoted to traveling alone, which seemed an odd place to start. I’ve had few opportunities to travel alone, but I can attest to the point she was making, traveling alone doesn’t mean you’ll be lonely. People everywhere are dying to meet you and share their story.
From solo travel she moved on to an Asian proverb, “It is better to see something once than to hear about it for a thousand years.” On that, she and I agree completely. I love travel and travel shows and travel channels – in fact anything that has to do with travel. However, I do think that far too many people think they know someplace because they saw it on TV. You really do need to go, to know.
Urgent: Visit Now or Else
Then she embarked on a list of the most urgent places one should visit from her wider list of 1000 destinations. She did just update the list, so there’s a new one. She said the main difference, beyond cleaning off the places that were no longer accessible to the public, was more destinations in the once Soviet landscape. And where does the author of 1000 Places To Go Before You Die think you should see first?
She began in Scotland with Edinburgh, which I’d visited, and the Hebrides Islands, which I hadn’t. Then on to Paris, the most visited city in the world and I have been one of those visitors. Then she veered away from places that I knew. Bruge, Belgium with its chocolate and beer is a favorite of hers, as well as Gdansk, Poland.
Her next tip was Guatemala, a bit of a surprise and by chance, later in the day Pauline Frommer underlined it as an up and comer in the travel world. I haven’t been, but my ambassador, Mr. Bill went there on a mission trip.
She wanted us to know that Scandinavia was not a country, but a region. Of the region she said Norway had gotten all the good looks and drama, but Denmark was the friendliest, not just of Scandinavia, but of the world.
Don’t stay home for Christmas she urged – instead see the Christmas markets of Europe. She showed a slide of Vienna, but embraces the markets wherever they are found. Vienna I know, but I’ve never been there for the Christmas markets. Then she moved on to Venice and told us that you haven’t been there unless you stepped away from the main sites and allowed yourself to get lost.
She said that visiting St. Peterburg was like visiting a colder Italy, because it was built by Italian artisans. Her favorite building is the Winter Palace with the Hermitage, which owns the largest art collection in the world. Another must see in the old Soviet world is Ljubljana, Slovenia in what used to be Yugoslavia and while you’re in the neighborhood, visit Croatia.
On the African continent she recommends Marrakesh, Morocco and as she described a nighttime food market there, I decided to add it to my bucket list. She’s quite fond of Ethiopia and the huge churches there, carved three stories down into the ground in solid stone. She also loves safaris and touts them as life-changing experiences. She said if she could only recommend one thing, it would be the safari. Her helpful hint was just to go and not worry about which country to go to or which safari to take – just go! South Africa she called a one-stop-shop. You want it, they have it.
She mourned the loss of Syria as a tourist destination and recommended Jerusalem. It was apparent that she really likes Jordan. She loves the young feel of the ancient place and recommends Petra.
Moving on to Asia, she loves Shanghai, the New York of Asia and recommends Tokyo, especially since they are about to get the Olympics. Mongolia was a surprising item on her list and even more surprising that she said it was very much like Montana.
She confessed to loving India, but warned that it’s a country that one either loves or hates, which reminded me of one of my favorite movies, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. She didn’t mention the movie, but it certainly exemplified her point.
Finally, she arrived at Istanbul, but then admitted that she had other places on her list, but had run out of steam. That’s OK, this list should keep me busy for a while.