“There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes”
I heard this maybe the past 1-2 years and at first I thought it was just witty remark / possible meme, turns out it’s a legit life outlook that’s been persistent in the Scandinavian/Nordic region for the longest time. I’ve also subscribed to the idea for a while but I never knew there was an established regional philosophy behind it.
It’s basically self-explanatory so I won’t go into the detail of it (it’s dead simple) but I do want to talk about how this made sense to me the more I cross different cultures and how this is a very beneficial for you, and how this can offer you a different perspective to nature, climate, and your environment (whether you’re in a hot country or cold). I like warm and cold climates now and here I will talk about how to love both 😀 Let’s start with the cold.
How Canada Taught Me to Consider and Start Loving the Cold
Let’s start with where I live: Canada. It’s cold. Well, it can be. It’s not “always” cold. I love the cold now actually, I really do; so much so that I took on snowboarding. But before…~to be honest, I didn’t “hate” it like how some people do.
First, I came from a hot, humid, and tropical country. I, along with people there, have complained about the heat and humidity for the longest time so to have a cool “breeze” to replace it is a godsend. As an immigrant in their first year, we’d “fear” the winter since we haven’t experienced it ever in our lives. We wouldn’t know how we would fare. I was also a student back then so I knew there would be a lot of “waiting outside the bus stop” and commuting from here to there” that then caused us to overcompensate on a lot of things.
My dad initially thought that big cars = better snow traction (when now we know it’s mostly tires) and for me, I shopped for my first winter jacket and I went for the max heating jacket. I’m not even talking about premium Canada Goose jacket. I’m talking about walking up to Winners and looking for the thickest and seemingly-heavy duty yet affordable jacket. So fashion was out the window. It was really more about surviving and keeping myself warm.
I did well so for my first few experiences, it wasn’t extreme cold and I wasn’t turned off by winter. In fact, it was like a kid-opening-a-present experience for me!
- “Woah, so this is what snow looks/feels like”
- “Oh wow, it can be pretty”
- “Ok wow, it can be cold”
- “Ooh, I like the sound that car tires make when they’re slowing down and compressing fresh-fallen snow”
It was cold in a sense that, I took care of the winter jacket but there I was, still in jeans and casual shoes, so your heat’s leaking out like crazy and your shoes aren’t offering any insulation when you’re walking on snow. But by then, I was living the philosophy. I knew that, “ok, I need proper pants (long johns) and shoes (winter boots) for this then I’ll be alright”. There’s also the simplest and really compelling explanation to it all for me. “I need to get to university so it doesn’t really matter what temperature it is, I need to get there”.
After taking care of your clothes, it definitely helps to explore and expose yourself to outdoor activities. This definitely helped me enjoy winter more. During our first few snowfalls, yes I was making snowmen with my siblings. I was early 20s by then but I was acting and enjoying it like a 5 year old! I loved it! It’s a new experience for me and I really don’t give a fuck what others think anyways and I loved it!
I also discovered through making a snowman, that “winter can be hot”. Sounds stupid but let me explain: So it’s really cold outside and you have a really insulating jacket. You are the source of the heat. So the jacket is great when it’s keeping you warm and comfortable even if you’re just standing outside. But if you have an ultra insulating jacket and your body is cranking out the heat (e.g.: when you’re engaged in a physical activity; making a snowman or shovelling snow), it gets REALLY HOT really quick.
I’ve experience this even just by walking (more like hopping) on tall snow. It sounds simple but that simple act can actually make you sweat. Since snow is soft, every step you take these are the things that happen:
- You bury your foot in the snow but you make sure you’ve flattened the snow already thus making it stable. If you have never experienced snow before, it’s like stepping on those half-medicine ball balance things but to a way lesser degree (but if you keep doing lots of steps for minutes…)
- The other thing that your body will naturally do (sometimes after having a bad slippage lol) is to secure every step to make sure you’re not about to slip and slide mid-stride
So as you experience these, they sound minuscule but if you’re doing this consistently (e.g.: when commuting), it’s actually fair easy to warm your self up, even too much. At this point, I knew that “A-ha, ok, proper clothing + physical exertion = comfortable warmth”. After that you’ll be like:
“The cold never bothered me anyway”Elsa
Sweden, My Great Validator
The first few countries I travelled to when I started travelling were Sweden, Denmark, and Finland (Don’t worry, I still plan to visit you Norway 😉 ). My quote is Norwegian by origin, but I can tell you (and I’ve seen it first hand) that it persists in the nearby countries.
So you probably know that Scandinavia = cold (oversimplifying it). I’ve been there a couple of times and they were usually Nov/Dec times. I remember there were multiple times where I was just walking and wandering around the city of Stockholm, well because I was being a tourist. On those trips where it was December, I’d be wrapped.
I saw it many times where there were lots of strollers in buses, or even in parks even when it’s single-digits (°C) outside. I can write articles upon articles how their society are forward looking when it comes to gender equality, public transit, and approach to weather, but I’ll try to stick to my point here.
There were moments where it’s cold outside and I’d see a mom/dad, just chilling in the park, in front of a pond chilling (literally) with their baby. I’m talking like baby-can’t-walk-yet age. They themselves are wrapped up (properly dressed) and even their baby!
It started an internal dialogue with me:
“Woah, isn’t that bad, that it’s too cold for the baby?”
*checking myself* “Wait, how is it bad…”
“maybe it’s a parent thing, since I know engaging your body in cold temperatures creates a lot of healthy body response”
“that and your kid gets used to the cold too”
So maybe after 10 seconds, I knew that “Waaaait a minute. They’re onto something here”. I then read around when I got back to Canada and confirmed it’s a thing. It’s a great thing! There are health benefits (both physical and mental) for going outdoors during winter. What I’d add is that it gives you a better perspective about winter. When most people think winter is dreadful, miserable, something to avoid, you then discover possibilities, opportunities, happiness, and love for the outdoors. Also, it’s your country, that’s the climate. Love it (you don’t really have a choice), embrace it, be proud of it! It’s the same for the warmer climate places. In a sense, it’s a skill to be able to withstand, know how to operate, and survive in your respective temperatures.
I also had this confirmation that…well, if you’ve been following my articles, travels, and social media, you’d know that I’m a fan of Scandinavia. They’re not perfect yes, and I didn’t intend to portray that but they’re doing a couple of great things on certain fields. So if this region is doing it (and they’re known to be doing a couple of great things) and they’ve essentially normalized this in their culture, at the very least it signals you the same thing I realized, “maybe there’s something here”.
We can argue about it forever but ultimately what I’m trying to say is that, loving and embracing the cold weather brings benefits. I’ve done them and reaped said benefits. I can attest to it. There’s basically no downside to embracing the cold, so long as you dress appropriately.
Last but not the least, astronomically, everywhere is cold. Anything and everything in this known universe is cold: space, planets, moons, asteroids, etc. Even Earth is cold. It just so happens there’s a warm band in the middle.
Now if you’re on the other side wherein you like the cold but you don’t enjoy the heat, well I have news for you my friend: time to get used to it and you’re gonna have to, by necessity. Our climate targets aren’t looking great lol. In terms of clothing, well this is an easy conversation: you don’t need much lol.
The Tropics and the Southeast Asian Climate
So I got used to it simply and only luckily because I was born there. It’s the “weather” I knew. This is not even desert heat (hot + dry) yet, this is tropical heat (hot + humid). I was very happy with it (well, it’s the only thing I knew) and for the longest time, I’ve always noticed that correlation (not causation) of developed countries and having four seasons. So towards my latter half of stay in Philippines, it was an ‘outside-looking-in’ feeling.
Now that I am here and I’m living the winter season, I realize that one is not better than the other. It’s really just like having guns vs knives/swords in a combat: guns are perfect for ranged combat but you have limited ammo while swords are perfect for close-combat plus you don’t run out of weapons. So ultimately, it’s a pick-what-you-need (or want) scenario.
It’s also good to embrace and be adept with your own local climate; more on that later but anyways, what’s I’ve changed in perspective is that, there is “gold” in warm weather.
Here are some practical example, you get to wear beachwear in the heat, you get to visually indulge as well. Also, heat (more like light) is where solar panels thrive.
Winter people say “it’s easier to be in a cold climate, at least you can always layer up and be warm”. I find that a bit erroneous and I’ve grown up believing the other side anyways.
I believe that it’s better to be hot, rather than cold. Why? First, the logic applies here: if it’s too hot, just take layers off. More practically, if it’s too sunny, all you have to find is a shade. You don’t even need to layer off. Sure it’ll still be hot and sticky but that’s not technically the heat but rather the humidity causing that. It also costs you nothing to take off clothes (some people might even enjoy doing or seeing that) compared to winter wherein if you want to layer up, you have to enter capitalism and buy a proper jacket, unless you hunt and skin an animal. And no, layering up 10 sweaters does not have the exact same effect as a proper winter jacket.
Beside the sea, all I have to do is jump in, feel refreshed and cool, AND have a good time. In a winter country…well “we don’t do that here” lol.
In heat, things grow: plants/vegetation, animals, etc. Winter…not exactly lol.
The Goldilocks Zone, Well in Terms of Latitude
Remember the last time you felt special? It could’ve been when you received a gift that no one else did, being picked for something, or just winning any sort of raffle/contest? That’s how people should feel in warm climate! Why? It goes back to my astronomical reference, everything in this known universe is cold so you my friend have won the climate lottery!
Last but not the least, trying out the heat (and by heat, I’m mostly talking about Tropical heat–I’m sure desert heat is also quite an experience lol) is fun! It’s hard for me to break it down right now since my mind is starting to shut down but there are way different experiences available in tropical countries. One thing I can think of is that in North America and Europe when it rains, it’s just brief and it’s just light. In Asia, it’s the literal: “When it rains it POURS”. The rain droplets seems to be just heavier and bigger or something. What’s the fun in that? Well have you tried playing under the rain?! That’s so fun when I was a kid!
Tropical climate also means “more clear and bright skies” than “wintery, cloudy days”. That’s all year round. Think about how much of an impact that would be in your happiness and stress levels. You didn’t have to do anything, just by being somewhere, you instantly become happy!
Anyways, there’s more. I can’t be bothered right now lool. One thing I’ll say is that if you say “but I’m good with the heat anyways” and you clock it around 20°C, no. Just no. That’s like People saying: “Yea I know winter! (10°C)”. You should try it honestly it’s just fun! I’m not telling you to move anyways, just give it a shot!
Both climates are beautiful and again, one is not better than the other. If you’re a person that usually says “I only like this side”, I urge you to give the other a shot. At the very least it’s an adventure and an experience. Or maybe it’s totally fine to just prefer one. I’m not saying you’re wrong.
I just consider myself lucky to experience both and if you ask me which I prefer? Both. I like being adaptable and ultimately that’s what I’d like for you, if you’re adventurous enough. Going back to the gun/knife analogy, why pick one? I’ve learned to master both (heat and cold). If I had unlimited funds I’d have a chalet either in Whistler or up on the Alps snowboard my entire winter, and have a secluded, beautiful beach property somewhere in the middle of Philippines for summer, and then maybe roam around Europe and the world during Fall/Spring.
Dreaming is free. Canada Goose is more expensive.