Travel while you’re young!

The dangers of getting stuck in one place

Zoey Mortazavi, Editor-in-Chief

As students near the end of their high school careers, there is a lot to be said about what’s the ‘best path’ to follow. Well, I’m not going to write about all of those options — they have been preached to all high schoolers enough as it is — instead, I’m going to try and relay the importance of traveling as a young adult.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been as lucky as many to get to travel to different countries and places at this age. But the traveling that I have done has enlightened me more to what I want out of life than anything school has ever taught me. Growing up, my dad (as an immigrant from Iran) expressed to me that one of the most important things in life is to be worldly. Understanding life beyond the bubble of your hometown can expand your mind to all possibilities and walks of life. My dad’s family, since leaving Iran, has dispersed all over the world; I have been taught through all of them that the most freeing thing you can allow yourself is the opportunity to travel and experience different styles of living. 

Of course, this is not meant to debunk the crucial facet of our lives that is school; stay in school kids, as they say. However, I believe so strongly in a balance between travel, life experience and education that I would stake my entire belief system on it. Young adults are meant to be clueless and somewhat carefree, as they are learning what exactly they want to get out of life. On top of that immense internal debate, the thought of spending the time in which I’m meant to figure that out in one stagnant location feels more suffocating than being next to present in a Socratic seminar.

Consider the American standard of work. Careers are built to completely dominate your life; there is something entirely confining about dedicating the entirety of one’s time to their job. Even in Europe, there is typically at least a paid six-week vacation for most jobs. This is so contradictory to that of the American work standard that it seems silly to abide by it blindly. Having career standards is a great thing, and noble careers are often necessary to sustain life — as John Keating said in the Dead Poets Society — but that does not mean we should consign ourselves to a life that is dictated by work. 

At the end of the day, the intention is not to debunk the importance of work, but to stress the importance of traveling. Closed-mindedness, as it is so often found, primarily stems from an inability to see past the tip of your own nose. What better way to relieve yourself of that tendency than to leave the comforts of your daily life and go and discover new cultures? Discovering what you genuinely aspire to obtain from life is on par with deciding what career you want to dedicate your life to, though those things seem incomparable. And what better way to understand all of the facets of yourself than to travel, and to experience life as it is, in order to become that person?

Traveling is obviously expensive, and balancing those finances with the ones already accumulated by students worldwide is no doubt overwhelming. For example, why not use your college education as a time to utilize access to study abroad programs? Or even take advantage of summer programs where you can travel abroad? Because it is sooner and more accessible, students should take advantage of the financial deficits that traveling through school can potentially provide.

If you can ever manage it — whether it’s through a study abroad program or just on your own — consider using travel as a new means to explore who you are, right alongside the world you’re discovering.