Petzold: Travel while you can

Megan Petzold

Parents dream about traveling to different places around the world after they retire, college students want to see the world via studying abroad or during breaks and older people wish they traveled when they were younger. The thing in common with these three very different sets of people is that they all have a reason holding them back from traveling, whether it is school, medical reasons, children, family obligations or work.

Since they have things holding them back from being able to explore the world, they live with the regret that they didn’t travel while they were able to be more flexible and adventurous during a trip.

Beside the obvious benefit of traveling, seeing the world and experiencing new things, there are more specific and unexpected things that can come out of traveling.

Traveling to different places has been proven to make you healthier, less stressed and lower the risk of depression. How can you be stressed when you are at a remote, beautiful beach in the Bahamas? Or bored when you have just climbed up to the top of the Aztec pyramids and are looking over the tree line at the world? It seems like an impossible thing to occur during these and many other scenarios.

When I was in high school, we were required to read and analyze “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer. While I was reading, I couldn’t help but feel the lack of purpose in my life. After all, I was just a student going through the same routine every day, just waiting for graduation to come while reading about this other person who left his life to find himself in the woods.

It seemed like something I wanted to do while I had the time and energy. Though, for me, going to Alaska for a couple of years by myself isn’t the most appealing thing in the world. Traveling helps people find a new purpose in their lives, along with appreciating where they are from more.

Finally, there is only so much we can learn from books and movies.

There is a whole world out there with hundreds of different cultures and lifestyles waiting to be experienced and shared with others. It seems boring to stay in one place and one culture for a whole life while there is a whole world out there waiting to be seen. Life is very short. I recommend spending it with people you love, doing what you love and experiencing everything you can.

Granted, not all of us out there are interested in leaving the life we’ve made and exploring somewhere completely new and foreign, especially alone. It is understandable. Traveling can seem scary.

But it could also be the best experience you’ll ever have. When I’m at the end of my life, I would rather be able to tell my grandchildren I lived with no regrets than tell them I wish I had experienced more in my life. As Scotty P from “We’re the Millers” would say, “no ragrets.” Be like Scotty P.