Patricia Schultz, who grew up in Beacon, is the author of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. She will speak at a meeting of the Beacon Historical Society at St. Andrew’s Church at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26.
What prompted you to write 1,000 Places?
I always wanted travel to be a part of my life. I made a go of travel writing simply because everyone else fell by the wayside. There’s a lot of competition, but I started writing guidebooks and created a network of friends and people in the industry. I’ve always wanted to share the special places I have experienced — both well-known and way off the beaten path. I was offered the contract to write 1,000 Places, and here I am.
What destinations have surprised you?
Almost every place does. There’s nothing like immersing yourself in the real deal versus what you might learn from the internet. Standouts include Iran for its incredibly lovely people and Antarctica for its surreal beauty. Closer to home I’d include the national parks in the Southwest — Utah has five — and the Central American countries of Costa Rica, Belize and Guatemala.
What was the first “new” place that excited you?
I have fond memories of growing up in Beacon. Come the first week of every August, we were off to the Jersey Shore and Atlantic City, before the casinos and their more recent reincarnations. It’s my earliest memory. I was 4, and thought I was the luckiest kid on the block. So to those who say kids are too young to travel or they won’t remember — it’s not true. It put me on a lifelong track to explore the world well beyond the Atlantic City boardwalk.
Which are better: places geared to visitors or those that aren’t touristy?
If governments have invested money in the infrastructure, it often improves a visitor’s experience. Same is true if hotel staff go out of their way to make your stay memorable. But discovering a place where you feel like you are onto something unknown or less visited, that’s every bit as special, often more so. The more rustic or authentic, the better.
Is it your goal to visit all 1,000 places?
I’ve seen roughly 80 percent of them. I’m most definitely trying to see them all, and any others I discover along the way. The world is big and its wonders are countless. When I check out I want it to be with a head full of memories and not regrets. And yes, the Hudson Valley made the list.