Patricia Schultz, author of the mega-best seller 1000 Places to See Before You Die, says to Lea: "We're kindred spirits." And that's part of what makes this conversation based on her new book, Why We Travel: 100 Reasons to See the World so special.
The two seasoned travelers converse with wisdom and laughter, and share tips, memories, stories both profound and funny, ending up figuring out why, indeed, we travel.
And Patricia ends the episode with a truly unforgettable memory of a 90-year-old traveler.
Patricia Schultz is a best-selling author and avid traveler.
Podcast host Lea Lane blogs at forbes.com, has traveled to over 100 countries, written nine books, including the award-winning Places I Remember, (a star rating from Kirkus Reviews), and has contributed to many guidebooks.
Contact Lea! @lealane on Twitter; PlacesIRememberLeaLane on Insta; on Facebook, it's Places I Remember with Lea Lane. Website: placesirememberlealane.com.
New episodes drop every other week, on Tuesdays. Please tell travel-lovers about us, and follow, rate and review this award-winning travel podcast.
Lea Lane 0:06
Hi, I'm Lea Lane, an award-winning travel writer and author of Places I Remember: Tales, Truths, Delights from 100 Countries. On this podcast we share conversations with travelers about fascinating destinations and memorable experiences around the world. We've talked travel before with my friend Patricia Schultz in Episode 25, Patricia wrote the best selling travel book of all time: 1000 Places to See Before You Die. And she's just written another smaller, altogether delightful book, Why We Travel: 100 Reasons to See the World. The book has stunning photos, and listings of interesting accommodations, travel challenges, natural wonders, and more. It's filled with travel quotes, tips, and lots of personal stories. And we'll cover some of these in this episode. Welcome back, Patricia to Places I Remember.
Patricia Schultz 1:02
Oh, thank you very, very much for the invite.
Lea Lane 1:05
Your book is titled Why We Travel. So why do you think people travel?
Patricia Schultz 1:11
Well, as you mentioned, the kind of subtitle that appears on the cover 100 reasons, there are truly 100 times when, you know, it's such a personal notion of this idea. We get up and out of our homes, our comfort zones, everything that's familiar and reliable, and venture out into unknown territory. Why do we do that? And I think, you know, it's the answer for many is very simple. During the pandemic, we suddenly had all kinds of time to, you know, step back and reflect and wonder about things that suddenly we could not do. And we understood the value and how important they were to us. And I was very, very stationary for the first time since I could recall. And I realized that travel feeds my soul I you know; travel really makes me my best me. I'm my happiest, I my most enthused, I'm most excited and energized, and it makes me happy, and how it feeds our soul is then something I you know, go into further and why we kind of owe it to ourselves, it's almost an investment in ourselves because you know, more stuff, more material. You know, we had all of that during the pandemic, we were in lockdown with all of these material things we had been collecting over our lifetimes. And yet, we wanted something more. And that was the freedom and the liberty to go out and see and see everything that is beyond our little bubbles. And our bubbles aren't necessarily unpleasant ones, not necessarily confining. But they are something that to me lacked this specialness that travel guaranteed me -- not just promised me, but actually came and delivered the goods in time and then again and again. So I think simply put, it feeds my soul.
Lea Lane 3:07
That's very well put, I notice people like giving gifts of travel now more and more. You know, it used to be you get something for a birthday. I think that now experiential gifts are so popular because people do want to get out there and feel what you're saying. So I think travel offers so much. I know for me, it challenges me. It opens my heart and my mind. I feel less myself without being able to go out there and find myself. So it was a wonderful topic, while we travel could be debated, but it's certainly something that most of us need.
Patricia Schultz 3:40
I think that word that you use, which I also feel says everything -- to open: it opens our horizons, it opens our eyes, our heads our hearts. And there's a great quote somewhere along the line about how once you do open or expand your brain by some kind of new experience, it never quite resorts back to its original size or dimension. So when you're lucky enough to immerse yourself in that experience, whatever it is that you generally don't have privy to when you're on the couch or in the same old same old, but when you're out there and exploring and doing things and you find yourself in the middle of something you know is just a pinch me moment, that thing you then bring forward with you and life, everything that you experience, somehow becomes a part of you and a part of your character and expands you and opens you up to different ways and people's. So that word open -- you know open windows, opens doors, whatever, it just opens.
Lea Lane 4:45
And opens your wallet a little too, face it.
Patricia Schultz 4:49
But that's the only downside right, is a little dent in your butt. They say you can always make more money Right?
Lea Lane 4:58
Exactly. Well in your book you include some of your earliest travels. Give us a sampling.
Patricia Schultz 5:04
Well, early early early would be my earliest memory ever, which always kind of surprised me, and then not at all, was when I was four. So it wasn't my first encounter with Santa Claus. It wasn't my first bike. It was my first trip away. So I had a wonderful childhood, a lovely neighborhood in a small town, rearing, I had a great family. We didn't travel much, but Oh, when we did, it was to the Jersey Shore. Nothing extravagant. But religiously. Every August off, we went to the Jersey Shore. And those departures for me were everything. I just thought I was the luckiest kid on the block, you know, the sand, the surf the seagulls, it was all new to me, it was all totally exotic to me. And I remember being on the beach and thinking, you know, I could explore this desert of sand for a lifetime. And I remember crying when we needed to go home at the end of a week, it was special time with my family, quality time they call it you know, I just remember being in the backseat of the station wagon, probably a week ahead of time, packed, ready to go. And those were very, very special. And that's why I always encourage people who say, Oh, the kids are too young, they'll never remember what, guess what, not remember details or specifics. But they bring that with them, you know, the sense of striking off to places unknown and in the company of those they love that are very special to them as well.
Lea Lane 6:40
So that was a terrific way for you to begin your career with this wonderful feeling about travel, it's got to have meant a lot to you. And do you think it really focused you on doing what you're doing now?
Patricia Schultz 6:53
I think so because my family as I mentioned, it was you know, the 50s and 60s, one in my world, one didn't travel much at all. It was an extravagance, it was a luxury. And yet when I was 15, in high school, I had become very, very good friends with a Dominican girl from the Dominican Republic. And her family was back in the islands. I didn't quite know where they were or why I needed to go there. But when she invited me home with her for a week or two during the summer break, I mentioned it in passing to my parents who you know, my father would work double shifts just to put food on the table. But suddenly, here I was implying that maybe a ticket to the Dominican Republic would be nice Christmas. Oh, yes. And they made it happen. And I tell you, those two weeks in the Caribbean, just really kicked the door wide open and there was no turning back. The rest is history. It really was a remarkable time and to be immersed wherever you go, and at whatever age more than just the kind of drive thru tourism but to be immersed for a couple of days, or in that case, two weeks at a very impressionable age is very, very, very important. I mean, it has you experience another culture in ways that in an organized tour, and however you traveled certainly gives you a very, very solid idea. But there's nothing like slow travel and spending that time to be with a family to understand how the day to day life is their customs, their traditions, it really made a deep, deep impression on me.
Lea Lane 8:32
And it opens your mind as you said with opening I think very important for young people to see how the world is -- it's not always the way we live. There are many ways to live. And I think the earlier you learn that the better. Now you have lots of specifics. Let's just mention a few. You mentioned food a little bit before. There are unusual foods when you travel I call it extreme eating. What's the strangest thing you've ever eaten?
Patricia Schultz 8:55
My admission and confession in life is that I'm just not an adventurous eater.
Lea Lane 9:02
Oh good to know.
Patricia Schultz 9:04
You know in the beginning I felt very guilty about it like I need to taste those things that are still moving on the sticks that you see and night markets and oh yeah, the scorpions are all kinds of I mean baby starfish, you know all kinds of fried crickets in Mexico, good source of protein. They'll convince you, or guinea pig. In Peru and Machu Picchu and Cusco I remember seeing guinea pig which was a specialty and all of the best and not so best restaurants, and look at our cuisine. Do I eat pig's feet? I come from an Italian background: that was a lot of tripe and stuff. Yes. And you know, I mean to this day, they've been resuscitated and refined and reinvented as specialties, and there's just too much on the menu. I'll have peanut butter and jelly.
Lea Lane 10:00
Well, I have one, when I was in Hong Kong about 20, 30 years ago, I went to this very fancy restaurant with the host of the restaurant. And I knew he was going to do a special banquet. And I was with another writer. And he was a kind of a macho guy. And he was saying how he ate, you know, this and that, and monkey brains and all this kind of thing, bragging, and I thought, Oh, my. So then they brought this meat over, it was like hotdogs, and I started to eat, I said, What is this, and the host said, deer penis. And the guy put his fork down, and I said, I'll have yours. I'm still hungry. I remember that to this day, it tasted like chicken. anyway,
Patricia Schultz 10:38
So many things tastes like chicken. I still can't get past the mental block often. But you know, I always use the expression, I'll eat it with my eyes. Fascinating to hear about what other people consider quite normal. And every day, which stops us in our tracks, it's all part of the, you know, the culture shock. You ought to be shocked. Because otherwise you can stay home and you know, on your couch. I mean, you want to see the abnormal or the unusual or what removes everything from what we consider the same old, same old, so I like to hear about it. And I like to see other people dabbling, I just would prefer not to do it myself.
Lea Lane 11:19
Smart woman in many ways. Okay. Well, you have many details in the book; one I liked especially is a listing of classic films that are really great for armchair travelers, because in the 50s, and 60s, movies were suddenly set on location with the glorious color, and all these exotic places. And this is when, as you mentioned, people didn't travel the world. And I remember how exciting it was to see this. I remember movies with Audrey Hepburn like Roman Holiday, Two for the Road, and Charade. set in Paris. And Summertime, Katharine Hepburn. And Venice, all of that? Is there a film that you think is especially evocative that you love? And maybe watch more than once?
Patricia Schultz 11:59
The Thomas Crown Affair. But like you said, when there are just dozens that like download, in my mind as you're mentioning it, and they were at that point, because in the 60s and 70s, you know, I was still a kid and not nurturing internally, I guess, this desire to go out and explore. But at the moment, being locked into grade school, high school, and not really understanding that this possibility of seeing the world was my reality or my future. But I was really drawn to those movies, because visually, you were seeing a hint of what these places that were remote and far flung on the other side of the globe actually looked like, Maybe it was a romanticized or a Hollywood interpretation, but a lot more than what I was experiencing on Main Street in my hometown. So there are a lot that actually got me up and out. And I remember one of them being Ryan's Daughter. Yeah. In Ireland, yes, in the 70s. And I remember the opening scene of the cliffs of Moher, and it really had me think that I've never been to Ireland. I've heard about it. If it's this stunningly beautiful, I really need to get myself there. Can you hear the siren?
Lea Lane 13:15
Yes, you're somewhere in the world. I think New York,
Patricia Schultz 13:19
Midtown Manhattan. I do recall that that was one of the earliest visuals because it was video. It was film. It wasn't just one dimensional, commercial or a travel poster. But it really drew me in and I got caught up in this small town in another country that I knew not at all. But I understood in that. In fact, it wasn't that many years later when I went to Ireland and I made a beeline for the Dingle peninsula where it was filmed. And the people were still talking about it. And earlier prior to that they had filmed The Quiet Man with Maureen O'Hara.
Lea Lane 13:55
Yes, but beautiful red hair, Maureen O'Hara and John Wayne.
Patricia Schultz 14:00
And generations later and the local people are still talking about how Hollywood came to town and captured this really stunningly beautiful corner of Ireland.
Lea Lane 14:10
I used to love looking at those films. That was my dream to go to some of these places and escape it was. Absolutely. Now you give lots of travel hacks or travel tips, a couple of your favorites, maybe.
Patricia Schultz 14:24
Mine I always feel they're so ho hum. And so, well everybody knows this. But in fact, I hear when people say oh, great idea. I never thought of that. So now everybody has iPhones and now everybody brings them with them as we should -- Google Maps and you know, that kind of thing. And of course, the camera feature means that we suddenly have a lens at our disposal 24/7 to capture those moments that are spontaneous and otherwise fleeting. So I always take a photo of everything and keep it on my phone, my passport, my credit cards, but I also make printouts in the event that I lose my phone. And I also make triplicates. Because one of those sets of photos stays with somebody back home. So that if I lose my bag, or my pocketbook, or my wallet, or my credit cards or my passport, God forbid, knock on wood I never have, then somebody at home is a call away, unless you've lost your phone. But there's always the possibility of getting in contact with somebody back home, who can do all that work for you and quit pull everything in and cancel it. And at least there's that back up. You need a plan B should anything happen. And also cash there are a lot of destinations where credit cards and ATMs are not as reliably found, as we think, or we hope. And so I always bring cash with me. And depending upon the location, maybe if it's Africa, developing nation, you need more cash than otherwise. For example, traveling in Europe, it's quite easy to come by an ATM, but you don't want to carry all that cash with you. So I divided into threes in case one of these is stolen. And one I keep on me whether in a sock or in my bra, thank you to my grandmother who always cash in your bra. And 1/3 I keep in my bag, my pocketbook, my over the shoulder always give my total attention to at all times. I'm very aware and very sensitive to keeping an eye on my valuables in my pocketbook, and one in my suitcase, which is locked and back in the hotel room. And I know that each of those three places is questionable and can always be a danger for something being stolen or lost. But at least it's not all in one place. Great idea. And et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Lea Lane 16:47
Et cetera, et cetera. Your book is filled with wonderful tips, wonderful photos, as well. And many of the photos are coupled with travel quotes. Do you have a favorite of all those beautiful quotes that you have in your book?
Patricia Schultz 17:01
That's tough, because first of all, finding the photos that we wanted to include was almost as impossible as pairing them with the quotes in each of those two things. I had gone through hundreds and hundreds and hundreds to pare them down to just a few dozen quotes and a few that will actually many, many photographs. And then to find the right juxtaposition or the right pairing of photo with quote. And one of the earlier quotes I have in the book is by Rumi, who has become quite popular these days, a 13th century Persian poet, whose words and pearls of wisdoms have proven to be timeless over the centuries. But he said something that has been translated as this, it's your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you. And I can translate this in myriad different ways. But I leave it to the reader because I think it drives home this idea that it's our lives are so special, and they're ours, you know, it is the gift to us of our life, and how we live it and how we create our lives to be is entirely up to us. We have all of these opportunities and options and choices thrown across our paths. But it's really up to us how we interpret them, those we choose to take up and live them as part of our lives or ignore and bypass and, you know, walk around, but it's our lives. And I think that Rumi touched on that very beautifully. It's a beautiful philosophy. Not all of these quotes are from ancient luminaries of centuries past, but often present day personalities like Willie Nelson and I also quote Beverly Sills who famously said, but it's just something that we all know to be true. And that is that there are no shortcuts to any place that's worth going to. And whether that's your career or family decisions, or something that's burdening you in your life that may be very personal, or just a place that a destination that you've been wanting to go to all of your life, but you know, it's too hard to get to is too far. It's too expensive. I don't you know, I mean, we always have those excuses. But as Rumi said, It's your life. And if you want to walk it for yourself, you need to be there and the three dimensional you can't see the documentaries, those classic films that we were talking about are all fine and wonderful. But you need to be there to experience it. And it may not be easy, but it's just the million dollar experience at home with
Lea Lane 19:38
you prioritizing Oh is prioritized. Yeah. There's another quote and it's similar that I liked very much. It's a little less formal, perhaps. It's by Edward Redeker Henderson. Whoever created the world went to a lot of trouble. It would be downright rude not to go out and see as much of it as possible.
Patricia Schultz 19:57
I love that. I especially love it because it was a friend of mine. He was a very, very, very prolific and well known in his niche travel writer, and was so sensitive and was so brilliant in his writing, I was so honored to be his friend, when I met him, he had been diagnosed with three or four different terminal illnesses that he never spoke about. And he really was a road warrior, he was out there and doing as much as seeing as much and he was always going someplace remarkably exotic, and then coming home and writing, I was so happy to be his friend. And I saw this quote, and I knew that as an homage to him, and how much he taught me. And it is kind of, you know, tongue in cheek, and it's very colloquial, it's very contemporary, it has a different sensibility to it, compared to Rumi, but it's true. Whoever you believe in, who is created this wonderous world that surrounds us, whoever, whatever your religion is, or what your philosophy is, it almost doesn't matter. It's the world is there, it's for us to see. And we really owe it to ourselves to see as much as we can. And there's no time like today, because coming out of this pandemic, we've had ample time to sit back and think about things and understand that if we want to see the world, you can postpone no pleasure, you can't put things off, you can't live with this bet that Oh, when I finally get around to it, I'm going to see, you know, the pyramids, or these places you just assume are going to be there. And maybe they will be but will your circumstances allow you to go and see them. So I encourage people, especially now that we can travel again to all of those things you've ever wanted to see, you know, to move them up to the tippity top of your wish list and make them happen sooner rather than later.
Lea Lane 21:51
Beautiful thought. Well, the name of the podcast is Places I Remember. So Patricia, could you give us one favorite story from your book, Why We Travel?
Patricia Schultz 22:01
As I move along in my decades?
Lea Lane 22:05
That's a nice way to put it. You're behind me.
Patricia Schultz 22:11
Oh, not by much, Lea, I you know, I always celebrate my birthday. But you don't need a special occasion. Do you? I think any occasion and no like, Oh, okay. It's like Wednesday and it's June and I'm still ambulatory. So that's a special occasion. But for my birthday, I always do make it a point to give myself the gift of travel. And on my big birthdays -- on my 50th which already was almost 20 years ago, I decided it was time to see Machu Picchu. Because it's not an easy trip. Have you been there? Yes,
Lea Lane 22:46
I've been there and you're right. It is not an easy trip.
Patricia Schultz 22:48
No, but totally doable. And if you do your homework and you make all the arrangements totally doable and oh, is it worth every effort in the book and every penny. But I do remember not having done quite enough research. I knew that Cusco up in the Andes, which is your launch, your starting point to at 11,000 feet. Then take that zigzag train down to Machu Picchu, which is a mere 7000 feet. But I remember thinking, Oh, I've been to Denver, I've got this altitude thing I'm going to be just fine. But guess what I wasn't. I didn't bring altitude pills sickness pills with me which are very easy to come by. You just call your doctor and a prescription and there you but I was in the lobby of my very nice hotel in Cusco with an oxygen tank and a mask thanks to the very sympathetic manager of the hotel, and I met this lovely lovely woman who came sauntering over; I guess she felt you know, it was feeling pity or, you know, compassion for me. I don't know. It turns out she was American. She was one of the nicest. I mean, imagine it's 20 years later, and I still remember it like it was yesterday. She was totally fine. No problem at all with the altitude. She was there celebrating her 90th birthday. It was her first passport. It was her first stamp. It was her 70th wedding anniversary are upstairs resting because he too was having a problem with the altitude. And she went off into this monologue because I had an oxygen mask. She told me about how she had always just wanted to travel. She dropped out of school when she was 12. She raised five children. African American said she was proud to be a washerwoman for all of those years. She put her kids through high school, college, graduate school, and for her 90 If they got together and centered any place in the world that she wanted to go. And they had given her a book and it was called 1000 Places to See oh, -- she could she could pick out any place she wanted. And I guess they were thinking oh you know, like Boca or Las Vegas, but she wanted to go to Machu Picchu. And she said to me these two things, and they're pearls for me, and I will forever remember them. And she said, you know, dear your knees have expiration dates. And she said, you have to do the difficult places first.
Lea Lane 25:19
I hope she's still traveling? That's a long time ago; what an inspiration.
Patricia Schultz 25:24
I know. I don't know where she is now. But I see her exploring the world.
Lea Lane 25:29
Beautiful story. Well, thank you, Patricia Schultz for sharing excerpts from your new book. The links are in our show notes, Why we Travel would make a perfect gift for any travel lover. I'll end with an excerpt from Patricia's book, and I think it sums up what we're saying. I'm gonna read it. Wherever you go, however you travel, allow it to enrich you, connect you to others, challenge your preconceptions and open your head and heart. If you do, you'll understand why we travel and why we should never stop. It's an investment in ourselves and makes us better people. When we get home, home is still the same. But we have changed and that changes everything. Thank you so much.
Patricia Schultz 26:13
Thank you so much as well. We're kindred spirits I know that. Thank you have a good. Bye.
Lea Lane 26:22
My book Places I Remember: Tales, Truths, Delights from 100 Countries is available in print, Kindle, and I read the audio version. You can follow me on forbes.com where I write five travel posts a month. Please subscribe to this podcast and consider giving us a review. And I'd love to hear from you on any of my links in the episodes' show notes or on my website placesIrememberlealane.com. Until next time, make some travel memories.