Patricia Schultz and I had only been on the phone for five minutes before we decided to make the trip to New Zealand — neither of us had been, and both of us wanted to go.
And no, I haven’t bought my ticket yet, but that’s how mesmerizing Schultz can be. She introduced the concept of bucket list travel when she wrote the first edition of her #1 New York Times best seller "1000 Places to See Before You Die" in 2003. It was so popular that over the years more than 3.5 million copies have been sold.
Now Schultz has updated her book with a new twist, her words accompanied by amazing handpicked photos of some of the most beautiful places in world. The book itself, weighing six pounds with 544 pages, is oversized eye candy — compelling us to pack our bags and head out to explore.
"1,000 Places to See Before You Die (Deluxe Edition): The World as You’ve Never Seen It Before" was years in the making — after all, Schultz had to travel to all those places.
Calling her new book a veritable scrapbook of her life, Schulz said she became teary eyed when choosing the photos. In its pages she takes us to destinations so exotic many might have remained unknown to most of us if not for her writing.
One such is Masai Mara, the world’s greatest animal migration, which takes place each May when hundreds of thousands of wildebeests travel north from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the grasslands of Kenya’s Masai Mara. It’s a two- to three-month journey and the wildebeests are joined by other migrating herds including antelope, zebras and gazelles, swelling the animal population to a million or so.
There’s also ballooning over Cappadocia, a Byzantine wonderland encompassing a natural and seemingly endless landscape of caves and peaks shaped by eons of weather, with wonderfully colored striations of stone. Even better, Schultz points out, you can take a side trip to Kaymakli, an ancient underground city just 12 miles away.
For those less inclined to such travels, or whose pocketbooks don’t open that large, Schultz features closer-to-home destinations that are still special, such as Mackinac Island, where cars were banned in the mid-1890s, New York City (where Schultz resides when not on the road), and one of my favorites, Stowe, Vermont. And, of course, the majestic Grand Canyon.
While Schultz’s parents weren’t world travelers, they encouraged her to find her way to what she loved. But for her, it’s not just the road, it’s the people she meets, as well. When the first edition of her book proved so successful, she treated herself to a trip to Machu Picchu in the Urubamba Valley of the Cuzco Region of Peru, often known as the Lost City of the Incas. Located 7800-feet above sea level, it’s isolated at the top of a mountain surrounded by jungles and other peaks. There she met a 90-year-old woman who had been inspired by her book to travel there.
“She asked me if I had heard of the book,” says Schultz. “Peru was the first stamp in her first passport.”
This venturesome woman, who had traveled outside the U.S. for the first time in her ninth decade, offered the seasoned travel writer a pearl of wisdom that has remained with her for the last 16 years.
“She told me to make sure to see the difficult places first,” recalls Schultz. “You can see the easy ones when you’re not as active or energetic.”
Is Schultz burned out by travel? Has she reached the point of been-there-done-that?
Schultz answers with an emphatic no.
“There are still so many places I want to visit,” she says, noting that her list remains long. “I doubt if I’ll get to do them all, but I will try to do as many as I can.”