Thursday, December 06, 2012

There is no bad weather, there are only bad clothes (especially in Finland)

I grew up in Perth, Western Australia. This is a city where the temperature has, to my knowledge, only fallen below freezing once (to something ridiculous like -0.2C, if my memory serves me correctly), and we are much more accustomed to having hot summer days over 40C (well over the century, for my Fahrenheit readers) than knowing what cold weather is like.

What I mean to say is this: I never understood cold weather! When I started travelling and experiencing things like snow, the cold weather part was the least pleasant of the whole affair. Give me summer any day, I always thought.

Fortunately, I met many, many wise people who all started to tell me the same thing: there is no bad weather, there are only bad clothes. It took me a while to learn this (how could a Perth girl figure out which kind of winter coat from the many I saw at the shops in Bratislava or Heilbronn was actually the right one for winter - they have spring, summer and autumn coats there too!). However, you can see in this photo that by the time I got to Finland, I was onto something:

Dressed warmly and appropriately for a -20C Finnish day
Now I must confess that I didn't actually own this super-suit (I don't even know what such clothing is called) but I knew that I needed it and when I found a little local tour group who offered snowmobile excursions and the like in Lapland I made absolutely sure that they would be providing super-warm clothing like this for the experience.

Now I know to all of you who grew up with cold weather this will sound like I'm not the brightest gal around, but here's the truth: I was honestly very surprised by how warm the "right" clothes kept me. I spent at least a couple of years of my travels freezing before I really got the hang of buying good winter clothing that actually kept me warm. What a fabulous invention!

The reason I'm writing this post is not so much to allow you all to make fun of me, but it's really for the small minority of people who, like me, grow up having absolutely no clue about how to deal with cold weather because it never gets cold where they are. Learn from my mistakes! Go and get some proper winter clothing before you go travelling to cold places! (or buy it there if, like here, it's nearly impossible to get decent winter clothing where you are).

And to reassure me I'd love to hear from some of you who also learnt the hard way. Let me know in the comments. I promise not to laugh at you.

6 comments:

  1. Those clothes certainly look warm. Like you "give me smmer anytime".

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    1. Agreed Sami, I definitely prefer summer ... except when it gets *too* hot! (Never completely satisfied!!)

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  2. Very helpful actually, we are hoping to go to NYC next Christmas and as a fellow Perthite, I don't know how I'm going to cope with the cold! I've never even see snow!

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    1. Oh, you'll love Christmas in New York, Bec!! But definitely you need the right clothes. My sister spent New Year's in New York once on a bit of a whim (she'd been visiting my mother in California) and was totally unprepared for how cold it would be there - spent part of NYE in a very hot bath trying to defrost!

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  3. Love the photo. Traveled to Siberia this time last year, it was COLD but only outside. I quickly learned the proper outdoor attire was vital but the right indoor attire meant not having to shower again after lunch. I was in boots, jeans and tank tops all winter - oh and my Marmot down coat. =)

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    1. Very good point Elaine - proper layers are essential! Some cold places keep the heat turned up SO high inside!

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