WATCH: Patricia Schultz, Why We Travel

 

Meet Patricia Schultz and I in person at the New York Travel and Adventure Show January 28-29, 2023! Watch our interview below about her new book, Why We Travel:

Do you wonder why we travel? Find 100 reasons to see the world in Patricia Schultz’s new book! I have been fortunate to meet her in Los Angeles at several travel events and always learn more from the author of the New York Times bestselling series, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die!

Why We Travel is filled with personal stories and anecdotes, quotes that inspire, and reasons to motivate-plus images so lush you can’t wait to be there. For years Patricia Schultz has been telling us where to travel, and we love listening. Now, in telling us why to travel, she reveals what makes her such a compelling guide and what makes travel such a richly rewarding experience. There’s the time she was on safari in Zambia yet found her most lasting memory in a classroom of five-year-olds. The comedy of mishaps that she and friends endured on a canal trip through southern France–and how it brought them together in an unexpected way. She quotes favorite authors and luminaries on the importance of travel and, in a series of memorable aphorisms, gets to the essence of why to travel. And gives us a few travel hacks, too. Travel is, as the writer Pico Iyer says, the thing that causes us to “stay up late, follow impulse, and find ourselves as wide open as when we are in love.” Why We Travel is all about rekindling that feeling. Just book a ticket, pack a bag, and dive headlong into an adventure. (Workman Publishing)

OUR INTERVIEW: Sept 12, 2022

Lisa Niver:

Good morning. I’m so honored to be here today with Patricia Schultz the incredible author of so many books who has taken us so many places. Patricia, welcome. I’m so excited to talk to you today.

Patricia Schultz:

Lisa, thank you. We know each other for so many years, but this is the first Zoom. Doing it in Zoom land is better than no land at all.

Lisa Niver:

You and I have had to make a lot of COVID adjustments and there’s been a lot more Zoom.

Patricia Schultz:

In the beginning I thought, no, I’m not doing Zoom that’ll go away. Little did I know.

Lisa Niver:

We’ve all had to evolve and adapt. So, tell us in this time of adapting what inspired you to write this new book? First, congratulations on your new book, Why We Travel. What inspired a new book of 100 Reasons?

Patricia Schultz:

Well, in fact it was very much prompted by the pandemic, which continues still, because we suddenly had a whole lot of time to step back and reflect. We weren’t going any place except in my case, you know, to the refrigerator back and forth. And speaking of, you know, the kitchen a lot of people were baking Irish soda bread, and you know cleaning out their closets and you know organizing their shelves. And I took the moment to organize my thoughts, because I realized that in all the time I had been traveling and doing these books and updating and revisions and whatnot, 1,000 Places, you know, go here, go there, don’t miss this, don’t miss that. That people were always asking me where are you going next? Where have you just come back from? But nobody had ever asked me why I traveled it was always where and when.

So, there is this wonderful quote about once you understand the why’s in life, then you can deal with everything else and everything else becomes, you know, comes more into focus. And so, I just tried to kind of commit to paper why I felt, and why I’ve always felt that travel is very important to us, and it was actually easier said than done. A 100 Reasons is the tip of that iceberg, but it’s because travel is such a very personal thing. And you ask a hundred different people why they travel you get a hundred different answers, but ofttimes I find that the answers you get really, you know, echo back to one or two different things. And that is that travel makes us better people, travel opens our world and travel is food for the soul. And then how you then interpret that can be done in a million different ways.

But the book is coming out at a very auspicious time, because these past few months have not been easy. There has been a pent-up demand for travel that has created a perfect storm, so that everybody in the world has, you know, been off to the airport, grabbing their passports, wanting to make up for lost time and it’s really, you know, tested our mettle. Do we really want to travel that much? And apparently, we do, because the next many months and hopefully into next year it’s going to be the same quantity, the same numbers of people who are making up for lost time.

Lisa Niver:

Yes! Airports are at capacity, and just like every other industry, airports are suffering from missing staff either due to lack of staff or staff who are ill or staff can’t get from one place to the other. Was there something that really surprised you when you were putting together this list of 100 reasons?

Patricia Schultz:

It kept coming back to me that travel is a journey and the journey without reflects the journey within. These aphorisms and encouragements and thoughts and comments and age-old quotes really reflect as much about our life journey as grabbing your passport and jetting off to Paris for the weekend. So, it became much more philosophical and much more of, as they say, a deeper dive than I had originally thought. I always knew it would be very profound, because travel is very, very much one big life lesson, and the most beautiful and in the most exciting and in the most thrilling and fun way.

It’s not meant to be drudgery of here we go another life lesson. It’s meant to bring us great joy and great pleasure. It is what we do when we have those precious weeks or moments. But I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that this was a book truly for everyone—travelers and for non-travelers.

Because people don’t travel not because they don’t want to, often, just because they’re weighed down with circumstances and logistics, Now boomers are caring for their parents as much as for their children. The sandwich generation is facing these responsibilities and where to spend their money. We’ve been in a pandemic and not everybody sails through it easily, and not everybody received personal loans from the government to support them.

People have been challenged in many different ways and as we come out of this very, very unprecedented, I mean that word has been overused, this unprecedented period and we find ourselves very much still in the midst of it in 2022.

My new book is colorful, it’s bright, it’s encouraging, it’s beautiful. It’s some of my favorite places and some of my all time favorite “aphorisms.” I wasn’t quite sure what that was when my editor said that it would be peppered with aphorisms, but all of these pearls of wisdom and moments of inspiration will be found throughout the book. It’s a smaller book than my 1,000 Places type books that I’ve always attacked previously. But it’s rather a very beautiful gift book for one’s self as well as for the person in your life who you maybe would like to see get off the couch a little bit more.

Lisa Niver:

I agree with you– it’s a very beautiful book. And it is interesting what you’re saying that we have not all had the same experience in the pandemic. One of my Rabbis’s said, “We’re all in the same storm, but we’re not all in the same boat.”

Patricia Schultz:

Oh, for sure. That’s beautiful.

Lisa Niver:

You were talking about how people experience travel and that it’s an inner journey. And I remember someone telling a story about that you find what you look for. So, if you go traveling and you expect to find the good in people, that’s what you see. And if you expect to find a place that’s hard to travel in, full of obstacles and the people aren’t nice, you find that also. Much of the inspiration in your book and the aphorisms are about finding the path– the higher path– the path of well-intentioned travel.

Patricia Schultz:

That’s interesting about finding what you look for. And one of the other encouragements is to get lost, turn off the GPS so that the path reveals itself. Put down the map, throw away the map, just wander and then serendipity will step in. It’s always the best tour guide.

Every trip, be it ever so humble, to the state park down the road that’s an hour from your home or the business trip to Chicago that turns out to be some epiphany of your life that Chicago is the second city. However, it’s the first city in my book. But every trip brings you to another level, and you are a little bit of every place you’ve been to and so you evolve.

And so, you become a different person, and everything stays with you in some manner or form be it superficially or profoundly. So, the more travel has meant to you in the past, the more it becomes almost a guaranteed value with every trip that comes next.

Because you approach each trip very differently with different appreciation, and with different expectations and a different reality view of the world. And I mean I still have trips that I took decades ago, and then trips that I took yesterday, and I come back with a different insight. But you always come back with something. I mean, the worst imaginable trip is always worth its weight in gold. There’s no such thing as a bad trip, right, it’s always a good experience. It’s always an invaluable experience. A good trip is a wonderful trip and a bad trip is experience, we say in retrospect. 

Lisa Niver:

Yes. We say that. But I love the story in your book about your first trip out at the beach when you were 4 years old and your mom was searching for you, pulling out her hair, asking the lifeguards, “Where is my daughter?”

Patricia Schultz:

She never let me forget it. And I don’t know if it was her constantly reminding me decades into my adult life or if I inherently remembered it. But it was very traumatic, not because I thought there was anything unusual about me wandering away down to the beach in Atlantic City that in my eyes just went on until forever. But it was traumatic because she kept reminding me that she thought they’d find me afloat somewhere face down miles away. My poor mother. But I wanted to explore? It was the sand, the surf, the sea and it was a good time. I had enough of the family blanket and off I went. That was my indication that being tethered to the family towel was just not where I wanted to be.

And bring your kids and travel! It doesn’t need to be extravagant. You don’t need to bring your kids to Fiji. We went to Atlantic City every August and I was the luckiest kid on the block. I still remember those vacations. I remember the family time. I remember the smells and the dive-bombing seagulls, and I remember where we went for dinner. It was a special night out with my parents. I saw my father rarely. So, travel and the impressions it makes upon us are indelible whether you’re 4 years old or 40 years old. And this idea that the kids are too young, they won’t remember, I don’t buy that.

Lisa Niver:

I think that’s such good advice on both sides. For young children, it’s a great education. My parents took us traveling and those are some of my earliest memories. And my dad grew up in Margate and in Atlantic City. But I often tell people that your backyard counts. Going outside or driving home from work a different route, you can find something new and great. It doesn’t have to be a thousand-dollar flight and an expensive hotel room, so I agree with you, you can find adventure. Again, you find what you’re looking for.

Patricia Schultz:

At the end of the day, it’s all about one thing and that is curiosity. Because what happens to that curiosity that we have as kids? What encouraged me to just wander off and go look and see and experience and explore?

Where is that curiosity as you grow into your teens and college and post-college life and then Wall Street and the expectations of career advancement?? What happens to that curiosity? And don’t you want to stoke it and keep it alive and keep it active and keep it always forefront in your character?

And whether travel does that or secures that or guarantees that or merely helps it along, I think it does because there’s so much to be curious about. There is no cure for it, then you become even more curious as the decades go by. I always see things that maybe the average person doesn’t. And I don’t know if I was born with that and will die with that or if it’s after, it comes from a lifetime of travel. Hopefully, both.

Lisa Niver:

That’s a really good question. Where does curiosity come from?

Patricia Schultz:

Where does it go, also?

Lisa Niver:

Also where does it go? Good point. So, if people are curious, do you host trips? Can people travel with you?

Patricia Schultz:

I used to host quite a number of trips, and as with everything with the pandemic, we put the kibosh on that. The last trip was postponed and postponed and postponed again and finally it was the most recent one that was kind of post-lockdown. I don’t want to say post-pandemic, because it’s still very much in the present tense, but it was Romania and Bulgaria. And that was an eye-opener, because Romania is stunningly gorgeous and it’s so much more than Dracula. Bulgaria also was a real eye-opener. It was one of those who knew countries. And they were the last two countries in Europe that I had to visit. I realized in Bucharest that I can check these off and that became my 43rd and 44th European country that I had visited. I’m not much of a country counter, but we were sitting around the table comparing countries and it seems to come up.

Lisa Niver:

It does.

Patricia Schultz:

Yeah. But it follows the question of how many of these thousand places have you been to? And that’s usually followed by how many countries have you been to? Now I’ve been to every country in Europe, and I will start all over again.

Lisa Niver and Patricia Schultz Feb 2018 at the Travel and Adventure Show

Lisa Niver:

I know we’ve seen each other many times at the Travel and Adventure Show. Can people see you there? Will you be at this year’s Travel and Adventure Show?

Patricia Schultz:

The Travel and Adventure Show resumed last year and prior to that they were virtual for that limited period of time. There are 10 or 12 of them across the US, so I hope people can make it to the closest one. I’m only doing a few this year, because I’m in the middle of updating 1,000 Places for our 20th year special edition. I am doing the shows on the East Coast: Boston, New York and DC. On their website, you can see where all the different shows are in LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, across the USA.

Lisa Niver:

Thanks to you I might be a speaker at the show in Los Angeles!!!

Patricia Schultz:

I certainly hope so. That’s a great show. That’s one of the biggest shows, which means that there’s the biggest attendance, but it also means that there’s the widest variety of exhibitors. LA has such a great airport and everybody’s 10 minutes away from getting on a plane to go somewhere fantastic in the world. Exhibitors come from all over the world including Nepal, Rio de Janeiro, many US tour operators — there’s food and music and it’s exciting. And the vibe of it, the energy of it will have you rush home and start planning again, hopefully.

Lisa Niver:

Is there an elusive destination that’s still on your list that’s the top of your list? I’m sure you have a long list still!

Patricia Schultz:

I do. And it always amazes me when people say: I have a handful of places on my bucket list. And I think– really a handful? That should be in the triple digits.

I’ve never been to New Zealand. Have you been to New Zealand?

Lisa Niver:

I have been to New Zealand. It’s amazing.

Patricia Schultz:

Yeah. I mean, I’ve never heard anything less than people just gushing upon their return the people, the south islands…

Lisa Niver:

The haka.

Patricia Schultz:

What?

Lisa Niver:

The haka — the war dance.

Patricia Schultz:

Yes! And the difference between the north and south, and more sheep than there are people. And just the physical beauty of it, you know, for its sounds, the national parks. So, I know I’ll go there, I just don’t know when. It’s not all that close.

Lisa Niver:

I agree it’s not all that close. One of the things I found most interesting about New Zealand –was the difference in Australia and the way the aborigines were treated and in New Zealand the way the Māori were treated. Because I was looking at how the people moved through the South Pacific, and how the language changed, and I thought that was a striking difference in the way that the indigenous people were treated.

Patricia Schultz:

That’s very, very interesting. And I’ve found with this update of a 1,000 Places, in doing the Australia chapter with two or three friends of mine who are travel writers living in Australia, and the number, the movement and the sensitivity and the recognition and the honoring of the original first people, first nations, aborigines, the original owners is really very impressive. The younger, the current generation, the government regulations that are switching names and ownership, returning ownership. So, it’s a slow, but steady movement and it seems to be picking up steam within the last years. So, it’s very impressive, and way overdue and very fascinating. So, I hope to go to New Zealand and see it for myself as well.

Lisa Niver:

Well, I hope that you will. I thought it was beautiful and you have to go sand surfing in the north. It was crazy fun. I loved it. I mean, I screamed the whole time, but it was fantastic!

Another thing that’s in your book, Why We Travel, that I think is really important, is you talk about the kindness of strangers and how people along the journey make such a difference. Do you think there’s some way as travelers and as writers of travel that we can help encourage that more?

Patricia Schultz:

I think just the fact that people are traveling more these days. I think the more you travel, I don’t think you travel more and more unless you’ve understood the inherent importance and nature of travel. I think if you’re not a good traveler, you give it a shot, you have a few trips and say: what’s the big deal? You stay home for the rest of your life. The more you travel the more it opens you up to be more respectful and more curious, to explore more and to always go the extra mile. And I think the more you do the more you meet people and the more you understand that at the end of the day we have so much more in common than we do that sets us apart.

And people always ask what do you never travel without? They want to hear Ziploc bags, moisturizer, a charger for my iPhone. But I always say respect, and curiosity and this realization that we are visitors in someone else’s home.

So, consider that your visit to the next region or country or continent is someone else’s home. Always realize that you’re the interloper, you’re the trespasser, you’re just passing through. Would you want to be somebody’s guest and put your feet up on the dining room table? I don’t think so. And you always get in return what you put out, you always reap what you sow, so be respectful.

It doesn’t take much, it’s free, nothing else is that free and that easy. Even if you were raised in a barn, as my father said, the inherent sense of respect should always be with you the minute you…actually, not even the minute you arrive in this country, but the minute you leave your front door, because it’s just as important here in our backyard, in our home country, in our hometown. I think we need a bigger dose of respect in terms of what’s happening in America and what’s happening worldwide. So, it never goes out of fashion, and it’s always appreciated. You are an ambassador of America.

It’s the impression that people get of Americans in general when they walk away from having an exchange with us whether it’s a smile or a purchase or your Uber driver or a nice conversation in broken English. People will walk away with that memory, and you want it to be of you and of how they see Americans to be. And you want it to be positive for many reasons. The idea of the ugly American won’t go away, but I do think it’s less now and I do think it’s not as severe as it was in decades past.

Lisa Niver:

Well, you have been such an incredible ambassador for people to want to travel. Congratulations on 20 years for 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.

Patricia Schultz:

There is that expression about find what you love to do in life and you’ll never work a moment, which is totally untrue. But I do get the sentiment behind it, because I’ve seen a lot of 5 a.m. deadline submissions, but when you do what you love then it takes on a very different satisfaction and gratification. 20 years has gone by so quickly.

Lisa Niver:

Your new book, Why We Travel, that launches this week—Congratulations. You’re finally getting to answer the why, which I think may help a whole different group of people make the choice to go out and travel.

Patricia Schultz:

You don’t need to look very far for the why. But you must look, otherwise you just are on automatic pilot and you’re booking your next trip and you’re booking your next flight and you’ve got your next four vacations all planned. But I think it’s the moment during the pandemic, following the pandemic to step back and reflect not just on travel, but on life.

And whatever you love to do you need to do more of it, because we saw there are no guarantees and there’s nothing promised to us. And whatever brings you joy you need to really go out there and search for it and make it happen, because you should fill your life with it.

So, I encourage people to travel as far as they can as well, because this 90-year-old woman I met in Machu Picchu, it was her first passport and it was her first stamp. They were celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary and she said to me, “You know, dear, your knees have expiration dates. You have to do the difficult places first.” So, that’s another anecdote in the book, because it’s been many years since I met her and I walked away thinking I need to be her when I’m 70 or 60 or 95. But she wanted something so much her entire life that she finally made it happen. Ideally, we do not wait until we’re 90 to say that, but you’re never too old and it’s never too late.

Lisa Niver:

Oh, my goodness –that’s beautiful. So, you’re never too old, it’s never too late. Where can people look for you and where can they buy the book?

Patricia Schultz:

For the book I’m happy to say, I have the most wonderful publisher, Workman Publishing, and the book is available everywhere. We support our independent bookstores, but it’s also available online at Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million.

And where you can find me, on a book tour! I’m going to a number of different cities in the USA and it’s on my website, which is 1000places.com.

Lisa Niver:

Yes, I’m very excited to see you live in Pasadena at Vroman’s and I just wish you all the success with the new book. And I also want to say, personally, thank you for all your support. Every time I see you you’ve been so supportive of me and my travels and my book and I really, really do appreciate that. So, thank you.

Patricia Schultz:

Oh, Lisa, you’re a kindred spirit. We’re cut from the same cloth.

Lisa Niver:

Thank you and congratulations. And this is such an auspicious time. It’s going to be Rosh Hashanah, it’s the New Year, you have a new book, and the 20th anniversary. And I wish you all the success and to see you on the New York Times Best Seller list, again.

Patricia Schultz:

Thank you, Lisa.

WATCH ON SPOTIFY

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. Look for her memoir in Fall 2023 from Post Hill Press/Simon and Schuster. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have over 1.7 million views. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty times.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2022 Finalist: Book Criticism 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers” Social Media Presence YouTube Channel: We Said Go Travel (1.7 million views) Short form video:TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts Twitter: lisaniver (90,000 followers) Instagram: lisaniver (24,000 followers) Pinterest: We Said Go Travel (20,000 followers and over 70,000 monthly views) Facebook: lisa.niver (5,000 followers); We Said Go Travel (3,000 followers) LinkedIn: lisaellenniver (9000 contacts)

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