In This Interview
Exclusively shares which place is her FAVORITE out of her 1,000 recommended places to see before you die.
Book: 1,000 Places To See Before You Die
ExpatWomen: Patricia, congratulations on the success of your book, 1,000 Places To See Before You Die. Seven years is a really long time to commit to any project and we admire your stamina. What kept you going and what do you feel has been your greatest reward?
Patricia: I think the stamina comes from the simple fact that when work equates your passion and interest – well, it no longer is work, then, is it?! I enjoyed every last research trip, every book read for research and every rewrite. I attempted to capture the fun and romance and magic of these special places. My greatest reward is the satisfaction of ultimately knowing this labor of love was not for me alone, but is something being enjoyed by great numbers of readers of all demographics. We have 20 translations in the works, too – well beyond the usual Spanish, French and German – and perhaps that has been the greatest surprise of all. I didn’t think sales could support translating a book this size into Thai, Lithuanian and Turkish but publishers around the world have proved otherwise.
ExpatWomen: How many people were on your team?
Patricia: Team? What team? I was my own team, and I am a very demanding boss! With some exception – to pay the rent, and keep my contacts alive and happy – I took on other assignments, whose information and experiences eventually helped in the completion of the book as well. But for the most part, it was me alone working on this book exclusively for 8 years. However, when approached by me and my pen, friends, strangers and tourism folks opened up and shared with me names and places – everyone has their favorite places, things and memories and images that stay with you a lifetime. And it is a very personal thing – ask 10 people for their favorite places and chances are you’ll get quite different lists.
ExpatWomen: Can you share with us any places that you have actually lived in as an Expat Woman, and any fond memories you have from those places?
Patricia: My greatest experience was a period of 2-3 years when I lived in Florence, Italy (followed by a period of 10 years which I look back on as glorified commuting, meaning that in an average year I returned to Italy 3-4 times a year, usually for many weeks at a time, and sometimes months). There is nothing as enjoyable or rewarding or insightful as the complete immersion of yourself in a different culture – they say you’ve crossed the threshold when you start to dream in the language of your newly adopted home. I miss not waking up in the morning uttering “Buon giorno!” I will always have the joy of returning to the cities large (Florence, Venice, Bologna, Milan) and small (Pienza, Lucca, Ravello, Agrigento), knowing that I can roam the back streets with a certain degree of familiarity, yet finding everything as new and enticing as if visited for the first time. I was lucky enough to have spent a life-altering Junior Year Abroad in Madrid way back when, followed over the years by time lived in Paris and Nice. Living hand-to-mouth in a host country was priceless – encouraging me to believe that the world was mine for the asking and providing me with a wealth of memories and experience that has defined my life and character.
ExpatWomen: To put together this huge travel digest, we are sure that along the way, you came up with more than 1,000 Places. What was your criteria for selecting your 1,000 Places?
Patricia: I aimed at creating an exciting mixed bag of places and things and events around the world that was unpredictable, but always wonderful. The famous and iconic (Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon, Versailles, Ayers Rock [Uluru]) to the unknown and untrammeled (an estancia in Patagonia, the gorgeously scenic Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, the mysterious Nazca lines in Peru, the otherworldly landscape of Cappodocia in Turkey). But each of these places I found to be special, romantic, awe-inspiring, exhilarating – and sometimes just downright fun. Have you ever been to the Maine Lobster Festival? Or eaten at the outdoor food courts in Singapore?
ExpatWomen: Do you have some personal favorite places to share with us?
ExpatWomen: Can you please tell us more of your family legend (about being related to Mark Twain)?
ExpatWomen: In 2005, you released, 1,000 Places To See Before You Die – Traveler’s Journal. In 2007, you plan to release 1,000 Places To See In The USA & Canada Before You Die. Do you think you’ll become the Chicken Soup for the Soul of the travel world – a humble book that has now steamrolled into a very influential book empire?
Patricia: With the ocean of travel books out there, I wonder how it is that the interest in one person’s Life List of places-not-to-be-missed has attracted such attention. Much travel, for the privileged or homebodies among us, takes place from our proverbial armchairs. And that’s not such a horrible thing, though of course there’s nothing like the real thing. Either way, if a book like 1000 Places encourages just a few more people to open their minds and hearts to the untold possibilities of what the world (and, with my upcoming book, the beauties in our backyard) has to offer. I have no doubt that what Mark Twain wrote a century ago holds true: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.” A little family advice!! ExpatWomen: Thank you very much Patricia and wish you every success for the future.
Patricia: Thanks! The pleasure has been mine – really!