South Charlotte

5 Questions for Patricia Schultz

From the time she got lost while on a family trip in Atlantic City, wandering on her own as a four-year-old, Patricia Schultz has been hooked on travel.

The 55-year-old author of the bestseller, “1,000 Places To See Before You Die” – and its companion book, “1,000 Places To See in the USA and Canada Before You Die ” – brings her message of getting out and about to Borders Bookstore at Stonecrest at 7 p.m. Wednesday. (Workman Publishing, $19.95 for both paperbacks.)

Shoptalk caught up with Schultz by phone recently to talk about her Carolinas must-sees, and how to manage travel in these penny-pinching times. Her remarks are condensed and edited for brevity.

Celeste Smith

In the USA/Canada version of the book, North Carolina gets 20 pages, and South Carolina gets 12. How did you come up with your selections? It came from the gut, it came from experience, it came from research, it came from talking to anybody who would talk to me. I spread out this enormous map and created a chart. I know there are countless places overlooked. But the point of the book is to have people understand that there's no time to feel complacent about life.

Do you visit all these places? My gut feeling is I think 80 percent of the places I've been to...(Favorites include) Beaufort and the Gullah Festival. And Georgetown (S.C.) I love. The Biltmore just blows me away.

How did you get the travel bug? I went to school for four years in Washington D.C., at Georgetown. That just opened up my world. I understood that armed with a college education and a really good dose of curiosity and conviction, you can go anywhere.

I used to travel wherever I had friends, just because I knew I had a couch to sleep on and could make coffee in their kitchen. I've stayed in great hotels, I've stayed with 65-year-old ladies renting out rooms outside of Buenos Aires. … So I do mix it up.

How can budget-conscious people travel in a cheaper way? How to do it takes a little bit of homework, but that's always been a part of the enjoyment. If you live in Charlotte and have a summer home sitting empty 10 months of the year, there are all kinds of exchange programs... If you're computer savvy, if you enjoy searching out deals, then it doesn't need to be any more expensive than last summer. At the end of the day, it's just about making it happen. The more you don't travel, the more you don't travel.

Do you have any more “1,000 Places” books planned? We've been talking about a third book on Europe. ... I'm hoping I'm keeping the world busy for a while.