Last Word: Patricia Schultz, best selling author and global Trafalgar ambassador

Patricia Schultz is a New York Times’ #1 best selling author and more recently was named Global Trafalgar Ambassador.

Patricia’s books, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and 1,000 Places to See in the United States and Canada Before You Die, have provided the inspiration to many bucket lists around the world.

Having ticked off 80 percent off her 1,000 places listed, Patricia’s mantra is “You can’t have a fat passport and a narrow mind. Travel makes us better people. Travel is a gift.”

Here, Patricia tells Vacations & Travel what inspires her travels, writing and career.

1. You’re an internationally renowned author and have led a successful career in travel writing, spanning 30 years – how did it all start?
I began traveling during my university year abroad in Madrid. It was an incredible experience of total immersion that opened up my world. When I graduated from university, I continued to travel as much as I could whenever my budget allowed. A few assignments came my way for magazine articles, then guidebooks and eventually 1000 Places. Things changed drastically with that.

2. What is your favourite thing about travelling and what does it mean to you?
Travel means a complete and utter change. Even at its smoothest, it is a challenge and a removal of everything that is comfortable and familiar. I see and smell and taste things that remind me the world is vast and full of wonders – and it’s ours to experience. Much of what holds us back is of our own making.

3. What has been your favourite or most memorable travel experience so far?
Antarctica will be hard to beat. It was empty and untrammelled and filled with wildlife despite its harsh location at the bottom of the world. The light was poetic and the palette of blues stunning. Rough, grey days had their own beauty – they reminded you how it must have been for the early explorers who came when these were un chartered waters from which many never returned.

4. We hear the words ‘bucket list’ all the time, especially when it comes to travel – what do you think makes a place a ‘bucket list’ destination?
Any place that has the ability to stop you in your tracks with its “wow” factor. It can be a natural park, a scenic drive, a collection of paintings by Gustav Klimt, an old time-y music festival or the best dinner homemade goulash in a small restaurant in Budapest. As you can see, there is no real rhyme or reason – whatever really had me stop and take notice.

5. You’ve travelled extensively – are there any destinations still left on your bucket list?
Oh there are MANY. For every one I “check off,” I add another ten. So my wish list is very long, but somewhere near the very top is New Zealand which somehow keeps evading me.

6. Do you have a favourite destination that you enjoy returning to?
I could return to Italy time and again – and I do as much as possible. The Italian composer once wrote “You may have the world if I may have Italy.”

7. Tell us about your latest venture with Trafalgar – how did it come about and why did you decide to get involved?
To help celebrate Trafalgar’s 70th anniversary, I am traveling to various cities around the world to speak about our mutual passion for travel and help spread the word about the importance of travel. They consistently offer an excellent holiday experience to hundreds of destinations around the globe – I know from firsthand experience that it’s impossible to replicate anything similar to a Trafalgar holiday if you were to travel independently.

9. What do you think are the biggest advantages of travelling with a reputable tour group such as Trafalgar as opposed to solo?
Trafalgar guarantees a smooth and seamless holiday from well before you even leave home. Show up at the hotel lobby guaranteed of an itinerary filled with all the destination’s highlights – and a Travel Director who shares his knowledge and enthusiasm that makes your day as enjoyable as it is inspirational and educational. The choice of hotels and restaurants were the best available, and Trafalgar’s signature “Be My a Guest” events provided special chances to meet local families and luminaries, to talk with them and hear their stories and to share a homemade meal of local specialties.

10. What are your top picks for ‘emerging’ or ‘up-and-coming’ destinations for 2018?
Of the many that have been making inroads on the tourism radar, I think Myanmar and Cuba (both a particular challenge if not traveling with a group) will continue to grow in importance. The Balkans are a fascinating destination – the various countries that until recently made up the former Yugoslavia. Canada’s 150th anniversary this year will serve to remind everyone of how much there to see from the Rockies in the west to the Maritime provinces in the West.

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