"Philoxenia" is a word that encapsulates the concept of showing love, compassion, and hospitality toward strangers. While I often hear the term "xenophobia," (fear of the strangers) I had never heard an antonym for it. Philoxenia is just that. I would love to see "philoxenia" become as commonly used (and practiced) among us as it's opposite. It's what the world needs now!
Family Day is thus far a holiday without a tradition. Rather than retreat into separate rooms in the February darkness or risk it becoming just another greeting card holiday, let's imbue this unclaimed occasion with a tradition of giving. Not giving gifts, but giving back as a family to our communities.
Travel is more than rest and relaxation for me. It's how I learn, grow, and find inspiration for my sometimes dull life at home in Toronto. Every trip I take has a profound impact on me, but I want it to have a profound impact on the people and places I visit too. These five simple ways I travel consciously -- both environmentally and socially -- are easy for any traveler to implement and are guaranteed to make every holiday more beneficial for you and your destinations.
Visiting Tanzania in September changed my perception of what it's really like to go without. The people we met survive with the bare necessities. A roof over their heads, basic clothing and just enough food to survive. Yet, we witnessed such joy and hope in them, and for this, I fell in love with Tanzania.
As a Canadian, it's hard to believe it's possible for teachers to successfully educate 104 children of different grades in a single classroom. Where children sit on a dirt floor, have an empty stomach, don't have sufficient school supplies for their needs. Children excited to be in school, no matter how far they had to walk under a blazing sun.
Retirement years mean different things to different retirees. Some want to spend those years playing miniature golf in Florida, others want to fulfill lifelong dreams. Travel, giving back with their expertise, and becoming involved in their community in a significant way are just some possibilities. Life expectations at this stage can be very different from your partner.
Travelling provides us nourishment to feed the mind, body and soul. For the soul specifically, voluntourism allows travellers to experience the world and make a difference at the same time. From helping children in South Africa, to rebuilding Fiji communities brick by brick, or even helping sea turtles thrive in Costa Rica, volunteering abroad promises to be an experience you'll never forget.
National Seniors Day happened in Canada on Saturday and we didn't do anything about it. Countless moments and opportunities squandered to say, "Wait, I should call my grandparents," or "I should go to that senior's home and say hello to some residents," or even say some kind words to a senior on the street. We didn't do any of it. Did you?
I always liked David Cameron. Maybe it was because we're both fans of the rock band, The Smiths, but also (and more importantly) because he tried to use the privileged position of prime minister to appeal to the better angels in our nature with the "Big Society" initiative of his early government. The Big Society ideal was first referenced by Cameron in 2009. In a nutshell, the Big Society philosophy recognizes that a country and its communities are built as much by passionate volunteers, community groups and service organizations as it is by departments of the government.
Some Boomers lost their way along the hippy highway over the last fifty years. They took a right turn into casinos and consumerism. Seared in my brain is watching a load of Boomer casino goers unload from a bus and waddle away. Poker chips in hand as they sink into the windowless abyss. Money (both having it and losing it) does things to people. Here's what it did to me.
As seniors age, much of their time is freed from the commitments of work and family and they start to look for ways to participate more actively in their communities. As the saying goes, doing good makes you feel good, and the seniors who continue to make a difference every day are true testaments to that.