Say whaaat? A Xenophile? Sounds weird. A bit creepy even. But it really is the essence of travel. In English, the word xenophile derives from Greek xenos meaning strange/unfamiliar (person or object). Combine that with the phile – to love something or be an enthusiast. So think Anglophile, bibliophile, cinephile. A xenophile embraces new people, places, and experiences, the very definition of travel. One could say being an intentional xenophile enables living life to its fullest and richest. In that case, yes, we want to be xenophiles in our 60’s. Here’s how…
These guidelines are all all within easy reach for a robust 3 Score person.
A Xenophile is curious
If you travel at all, you’ve probably got this. You are curious. You want to know, to see, to experience. Don’t we travel, at least in part, to scratch the itch of curiosity?
That’s true of the 3 Score population as much as the Millennials, or the following demographic, Generation Z.
Let’s hope we never lose that itch nor the curiosity to scratch it.
Even if we’re returning to favorite haunts, our curiosity draws us to see them anew. We see what has changed, has been improved, or sometimes, sadly, declined. Curiosity is the underpinning of travel. It’s a big world out there.
Xenophiles leave judgment at the door
We’ve been around awhile. We know the world isn’t always what it appears; often uncertainty abounds. And yet, it’s so damn easy to fall into a judgment.
Or worse, a pre-judgement. Especially when dealing with the new and different. It’s often our habit; our fallback.
No cruising because of …..? I’ve fallen into that one. It’s an opinion formed from a judgment, not an experience. It’s important not to confuse them.
A true xenophile experiences first, decides later.
Granted, it’s much harder to go in with an open mind – and an open heart – to just observe, and let the judgment come later.
As we know, not liking something is NOT the same as passing judgment.
A xenophile tamps down unreasonable fear
Wariness is one thing but unbridled fear is something else. It’s paralyzing. It can get in the way of all the fun of travel. It can hobble curiosity. It can reinforce premature judgment. Fear is a bad actor.
Fear is a bad actor, but some trepidation is healthy. It’s our preservation mechanism.
Humans wouldn’t have evolved very far without wariness about one’s environs. That lurking predator ready to charge required a watchful eye.
It’s another thing to be (unnecessarily) afraid. Afraid of new, afraid of change, afraid of what?
Sometimes, I find, if I simply write down the points of concern, they can be worked out. Identifying concerns is the first step to managing them. Ideally, erasing them.
To have fear of the unknown is to recoil from new experiences, and you won’t get your Xenophile Badge that way.
With adequate precaution and planning we can come out of our metaphorical caves and explore the world. We can experience the rich fabric of exotic venues.
Conversely, we take a deep dive into our own locales discover for the first time or anew, the gems which have been hiding in plain sight.
Finally, what about we travelers? Well, we are all xenophiles now.
What are some of your ‘xenophile moments’? Times when your curiosity, open head-and-heart, and boldness paid off in travel experiences?
Please do share in the comments below.
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