“1000 Places To See Before You Die: A Traveler’s Life List”

“1000 Places To See Before You Die: A Traveler’s Life List”
Written by Patricia Schultz

During a Christmas shopping trip to a mega-bookseller in 2003, I noticed a display promoting the newly published “1,000 Places To See Before You Die: A Traveler’s Life List” by Patricia Schultz. It brought to mind an old Life magazine story I loved as a kid about a man who, as a 14-year-old, listed the things he wanted to do during his lifetime and then methodically checked them off over the years. His list included things like “become a doctor” and “be a father,” but also “see Victoria Falls” and “climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.”

The notion of taking an active role in planning life experiences appeals to me now as much as it did then, so I bought myself a Christmas present.

When I brought the chunky book home, I checked to see which local places were included. Schultz mentions only two spots in Maryland — the Chesapeake Bay communities of St. Michael’s, Easton and Oxford and Obrycki’s, the family-run crab lovers’ restaurant in Baltimore. Her choice of that atmospheric eatery in the residential section of Fells Point convinced me that she knew what she was talking about, and I was hooked.

At times, I can spend hours looking through its pages to see whether she includes some of the places I have loved over the years. I was pleased to see Route 66 through New Mexico, the Adirondacks town of Lake Placid, and California’s Monterey Peninsula to name a few. Internationally she agreed with me about spots like the coastal town of Biarritz in France, the Canadian Rockies and the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland.

But I was surprised not to see a blurb about Portland, Maine, and the charming coastal towns east of it or more mention of the quirky, laidback towns of Florida’s west coast.

The book comes in handy when I’m thinking about trips to new destinations, with Eastern Europe topping my current list. Schultz’s descriptions are so wonderfully detailed. She has introduced me to many spots I’d like to include some day, like the spa town of Carlsbad in the Czech Republic about which Goethe said, “I feel as if I’m in some paradise of innocence and spontaneity.” When in Budapest, I’d love to have a meal in the elegant Gundel restaurant or in its popular but more cozy sister restaurant next door, The Owl’s Castle.

This book certainly brings out the adventurer in me, so just for fun, I closed my eyes, opened the book randomly and pointed. Now I need to warn my husband that one January day (the suggested visiting month), I might pack up my bag and head out for Tromso, Norway, 1,084 miles north of Oslo, to watch the northern lights. Sounds good to me.