Porch & Parish Magazine - Serving the Zachary, LA Community

Zachary Stories

The Hidden Benefits of Travel

By Sara Horn | Zachary Travel & Cruise Center


Studies show that traveling can do wonders for both physical health and mental health, especially if you’re nearing or already at retirement age.

David and Brenda Bonham have always made time for travel, even when they were both working – he at Exxon for 27 years and she at the Investar Bank’s Zachary branch. They enjoyed taking their 3 sons to the beach, Smoky Mountains, or on a cruise to the Caribbean.

Now that they’re both retired, the Bonhams have discovered group travel and the added benefit of meeting new friends.

 “Family keeps us busy, certainly, but we also stay busy traveling with people we’ve met with Zachary Travel,” David said. “We look forward to it – it gives us a mental lift, and [they] do such a good job handling the trips, keeping us busy and active , it’s something we’ve really enjoyed. Yellowstone in 2019 absolutely spoiled me.”

One friend the Bonhams enjoy traveling with is Jimmy Waddell, who has lived in the Plains his entire life. He owned the Plains Store for many years, worked for Wyatt Collision for 20 years and also served as volunteer firefighter. He has taken six trips with Zachary Travel, but he wasn’t always a traveler. 

“My wife of 46 years, she wasn’t leaving the grandkids,” Jimmy said, chuckling. After his wife passed in 2017, Jimmy decided to try travel. His first group tour was the Colorado train tour with Zachary Travel. “I was scared to death at first,” he said. His daughter couldn’t believe he was going by himself. “But I discovered how friendly everybody was. If you’re by yourself, they look after you and you don’t feel like you’re alone, but that you’re traveling with friends.”

Barbara Einsel and her husband Alan, who was pastor of Zachary’s United Methodist church in the early 2000s, have taken 11 trips with Zachary Travel. They enjoyed exploring places like Washington, DC and the Pacific Northwest. After Alan passed away, Barbara knew she needed to get back to traveling and soon. 

“I missed traveling so much,” said Barbara. “I know Alan and I had talked about it early on – he said if something happened to one of us, the other needed to keep traveling because it would be good for us. I decided I would try one trip and if I felt miserable, I wouldn’t do it again,” she said.

Eight trips later, she met Judy Howe who was also traveling with Zachary Travel. They became good friends and  travel roommates, and now the travel buddies are looking forward to their 12th tour together next year – an Eastern Caribbean Cruise. 

“Zachary Travel is a part of my family,” Barbara said. “It’s exciting to meet your old friends from other trips, and then you meet new friends and stay in contact.”

If you’re thinking about healthy aging, make sure travel is on your list. It’s good for your body, your mind and your friendships.

Learn more about Sara Horn and how travel works in our Porch & Parish The Podcast episode with Sara Horn! Listen below or by searching “Porch & Parish” anywhere you find podcasts.

See more articles from the Healthy Aging Special Section by clicking here.

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