When travel writer Patricia Schultz published 1000 Places to See Before You Die on May 22nd, 2003, she expected the book to do relatively well like her other travel writings. She has written for Frommer’s, Berlitz, and Access travel guides, and has published articles in Condé Nast Traveler, Islands, and Harper’s Bazaar: a fairly accomplished travel writer in her field. This was the general idea for bookstores also: 1000 Places would do relatively well being a travel book and an original idea. No one predicted an amazing, bestselling success; one of the top gifts for Christmas of that year; and an unstoppable expansion into new uncharted territories: a calendar, a TV show, a registered trademark, a soon-to-be information-filled website (www.1000beforeyourdie.com), and an idea that will spawn countless sequels, such as Shultz’s latest release 1000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die, released almost exactly four years later.
What makes this new book unique for Americans and Canadians is that there is at least one chapter (if not more) in this book that each person will know very well, for it is about where they live. They likely will know the big tourist spots, the areas one must visit, and the locations that are known worldwide; these are all included in 1000 Places to See in USA and Canada Before You Die. However, Schultz takes you further with short detailed articles on areas you may never have heard of, even if you live in that particular area. I live in California and have for some time. I’ve seen a lot of the popular locations Schultz mentions: Alcatraz Island, Catalina Island, Yosemite, and the Mission Santa Barbara; but on reading this chapter I was thrilled to discover new locations I’d never heard of within California, such as Ojai, a delightful town located north of Los Angeles, as well as the annual Festival of the Arts, held in Laguna Beach each summer. Included in this chapter on California are also articles on popular restaurants for both Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Schultz takes you on a journey through every state of the country, and every province in Canada, providing the reader with valuable information that doesn’t take up that much room. Each article is a couple pages long and ideal for reading in a brief space of time, say, waiting for a train or plane, or taking a cab ride across a city you’ve never been to before. One of the keys to this book and Schultz’s last, is the economical way they have been published in paperback form (however, 1000 Places to See in USA and Canada Before You Die is also available in hardcover), and while they may not fit in your pocket, they easily slip into a backpack or purse, weigh little, and are very easy to navigate with a table of contents and extensive index. Schultz goes one step further with her latest book in providing the reader with “special indexes” in addition to the regular one, which includes: first-rate hotels, resorts, and spas; lists of unique restaurants and places to eat; scenic drives; getaway islands; and where to take the kids, to name a few.
The saying is: “So many places, so little time.” But thanks to Patricia Schultz, travelers now have two invaluable resources that while not making it possible to see every important place in the world in one lifetime, nevertheless quantify and qualify what there is so see and why you should see it; whether you’re sitting on a couch in your home deciding where to travel to; or 35,000 feet up on your way to a new and never before seen country; or traveling along a rare and hidden location you’ve never heard of. Over a hundred years ago, every traveler was required to have their Baedeker on them at all times; in the twenty-first century, it is 1000 Places to See . . .
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Originally written on June 14th 2007 ©Alex C. Telander.