In our Tastemakers series, we talk to Australia's movers and shakers to learn what importance travel has to them.
Whilst our inner children dream of and beg for holiday getaways and all the adventure that comes with them, our adult brains are so used to making excuses. Patricia Schultz, New York Times bestselling author and Trafalgar brand ambassador, knows better. With 150 countries visited, this travel expert has conquered the world with an incurable enthusiasm for visiting new destinations. We spoke with Schultz to find out what destinations pique her interest the most and how she combats the most common excuses not to travel.
What sparked your passion for travel?
I was blessed with a vivid curiosity that my parents always encouraged. My earliest memory was of me in the back of my family's old dilapidated car on our way to the Jersey Shore, about 4 hours from our home in New York State. I was 4, and I remember that the window was down, the wind was in my hair and I felt the thrill of taking off on an adventure to parts unknown. I still feel that rush every time I head out the door.
What would you say to someone who says:
“I don’t want to travel with my young kids. Too much to worry about.”
I see now in retrospect that those early trips with my family opened up my head and heart to the possibilities and importance of travel. Every adventure was an invaluable education - and provided quality time with my parents that was a rare and precious thing and that I remember to this day. The travel options available to families today are endless and fun - and engage both generations - and sometimes three. Trafalgar’s Family Experiences program takes care of it all, including experiences that will be fun for all generations such a playing with sheep dogs on the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland or attending Gladiator School in Rome.
“I work too much – I can’t afford the time to take a holiday.”
My motto is 'Book it first, then make it happen." Factor it into your schedule now - after all recent reports and studies confirm that doctors believe that travel is good for your health and beneficial on many different levels. The perspective and education it provides will benefit your career - whatever your work environment. For me - forever strapped for time - the ultimate luxury is to have a 70-year-plus travel expert like Trafalgar plan and craft the perfect itinerary - all I have to do is show up, knowing it will be the holiday of a lifetime!
“When I travel, I tend to visit the same place over and over.”
My initial response would be "Then it's time to switch it up! Life is short and the possibilities are countless!" But I am also the first to agree that finding that special place that resonates deeply with you and always promises a special adventure can be a wonderful thing! Trafalgar will have you see it through different eyes and unveil all kinds of little (or un-)known secrets and options that will help cultivate a new-found appreciation for an old-time love.
Of all the destinations you've visited, do you have an all-time favourite destination to visit?
I'd be lying if I said I never returned to the same place twice, but it is true that my preference is always to go some place I've never been before. That said, I gladly return time and again to Italy - a fascinating place that is my family heritage (my mother's family is from southern Italy) and where I lived (Florence) for 4 impressionable, life-shaping years. I don't know of any other country of that modest size that is so brimming with world-class attractions (it holds the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites) and days that revolved around food and wine to Made-in-Italy shopping. And incomparable street theatre, all for the cost of a cappuccino! It is one of the most revisited countries in the world.
What destination deserves to get more attention with travellers these days?
Some destinations that are slowly finding their way onto traveller's radar are the former-Soviet Stans of Central Asia (of these, Uzbekistan is the most visited), lush and exotic Sri Lanka - a "tear drop" off the southeast coast of India, or Zambia for an exciting African safari tracking the Big Five.
What do you predict will be travel trends for next year?
I'm hearing a lot about renewed interest in long-time favourites like Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, Japan and Portugal. Women are no longer waiting for spouses or partners to free up their schedules and are striking off on their own - and it seems everyone is seeking out more local or real experiences all the time. Guided holidays are looking more irresistible with the likes of Trafalgar arranging itineraries that include all the expected high-notes, but then throw in some incredible surprises like an off-hours VIP entrance to Vienna's Kunthistoriche Museum or dinner at the Vatican. We are talking unusual events that would be near impossible if not for Trafalgar's involvement and connections.
How have your travels changed your life back at home in NYC?
I am lucky enough to live in a city that I consider one of the most exciting on the planet, and always look forward to my return. New Yorkers are only half-kidding when they say that New York is the crossroads of the world, the centre of the universe!
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