**Giveaway Closed: 12/26/11**
I, like many of you, love to travel. I have been making elaborate half-spoken plans to live abroad since my mom brought me to Paris when I was 7, and every time I leave home I fall in love — with both people and cities. I have had as much fun in Morocco as I have driving through the American South. In fact, my biggest piece of advice to current college students is to take every opportunity, every vacation, to travel as much as you can. Unfortunately, I’m a little older now, with less time, seemingly less money, and certainly more obligations than I had at 18.
So when I received the Newly released 2nd Edition of Patricia Schultz‘s 1,000 Places To See Before You Die in the mail, I was very excited. I immediately skimmed it for places I have and haven’t been, making notes in the margins for future vacations, both real and imagined. This book, as Schultz herself will tell you in a moment, is perfect for planning and dreaming alike, and as New York is slowly overtaken by the cold winter months, I am sure I will use it for some much-needed escape. Below, Schultz gave me some insight into the book, her process, and her own travel experience. Read on for a chance to win a copy of the book!
Lily Bellow graduated in 2009 from Harvard University with a degree in English Literature. While in college, she bartended and cooked at the campus pub, and as a result has a difficult time eating chicken wings. She is the Managing Editor for Small Kitchen College.
Lily Bellow: What was your first major travel experience?
Patricia Schultz: When I was 15 I went to the Dominican Republic to visit a Dominican friend of mine who lived there with her family. It turned my world around!
LB: In your book, you say your favorite trip is always your next one…but if pressed, where is your favorite place to be?
PS: I would have to say Italy — I don’t know of any other country that has so much natural- and man-made beauty packed into one relatively small country. And then there is the food!
LB: How long did it take you to assemble all of this information? How did you do your research?
PS: The first book took me 8 years to write – but I had been traveling regularly for 20 years before that, since the time I was 20 or so. I started thinking of the revision from the moment the original book was released – but started it in earnest 4 years ago. Research is nonstop reading and internet cruising, and nonstop travel. And I love all aspects of it – whether buried deep in a travel book or on a train to a local festival.
LB: What percentage of these places have you been to? Do you plan to see all 1,000 places?
PS: I think I have seen around 80% of these places. I don’t know if I will ever see all of them – if not, it is good incentive to come back for a second go at it!
LB: How would you suggest readers use this book—should they bring it with them on a trip, or read it in bed? Is it designed for both purposes?
PS: At 1,200 pp it is too heavy to bring with you – tho there is an e-book, and a beautiful iPad app that contains the full content of the book. But it can be used as a dream book to stoke your imagination, and it can also provide practical information about how to get there, where to stay and when to go to take advantage of the best weather or to catch annual festivals. It is meant for both real and armchair travelers.
LB: What is the best thing you ever ate on your travels?
PS: I can’t say that one in particular comes to mind – I have had a thousand wonderful meals! Generally speaking I would have to say that la cucina italiana is hands down my favorite. They have such a passion for their food and wine and I love exploring the variety throughout Italia from region to region. And I love the way that every meal is an occasion – weather in a modest little family-run trattoria or if you are lucky enough to be invited into someone’s home. I grew up in an Italian-American family – how lucky am I?!
LB: Are there particular itineraries you might suggest for a college student who’s traveling on a budget?
PS: Eastern Europe can still be less expensive than Western Europe especially once outside the large cities. South America can also be inexpensive – Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia are wonderful and welcoming places to visit. One needs to do some homework before striking off to make sure your budget survives intact. Having accommodation options figured out in advance is important – last minute or uninformed decisions can be expensive and not always favorable.
PS: I spent my Junior year Abroad in Madrid, and I wouldn’t trade it in for the world. It opened up my knowledge about Mediterranean life, and was a year-long base from which to visit every corner of Europe. I met students from all over Europe and took advantage of cheap flights to Africa and the Middle East. I even managed to learn some Spanish and lived the culture, absorbing it in a way that can only come when totally immersed in that way. I would encourage every student in the world to make a year (or semester) abroad happen if at all possible. It was a million dollar experience.
LB: What is the best culinary destination?
PS: For traditional cuisine I love Italy – but for something more exotic I love Thailand and Morocco. Singapore is great fun, filled with hawkers centers that are boisterous and reliably clean with an enormous variety of foods. But I love eating everywhere – whether the classic dishes, innovative eateries, desserts and pastry or coffee shops or perusing the markets, from Germany to Turkey or Hong Kong.
LB: Is there a logical starting point you would suggest to an inexperienced traveler?
PS: If you would like to travel independently, then great Britain or Europe are easy to navigate, with an easy train system, inexpensive inns and B&Bs and English-speaking folks used to seeing and dealing with tourists. If you’d rather join an organized tour, look and ask around, research, peruse the guide books and see what your best bet is. Read up so you arrive with some knowledge and background information of what you’ll be seeing to maximize the experience.
LB: What is your next trip?
PS: I’m leaving next week for the Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean. I try to hit a different island every winter – I still have a huge number to go!
Comment below for a chance to win a copy of 1,000 Places To See Before You Die! To enter the 1,000 Places Giveaway, you must:
We’ll announce the randomly selected winner next week—good luck!
—Lily, SKC Managing Editor