Most people in the world live in temperature or warm climates. Places like San Diego and Miami are perfect for humans, they’re never too hot and never too cold. They can go about their day to day business without having to make far-reaching plans, hoarding and stealing for the future.
There’s always food readily available and they don’t have to feel confined to their homes for weeks on end. These people see cold places as exotic – places where children build igloos and have snowball fights. Where kids ski to school and grown-ups drive snowmobiles. They dream about frolicking around in the snow and sleeping in an ice hotel.
Of course, life in a cold climate isn’t like that every day. There’s a reason why fewer people live there – it can be tough. Even major cities such as Moscow can run into severe difficulties when it comes to dealing with the cold. Muscovites, at least, get to enjoy a contrast in the summer.
One thing many are surprised about is how much people in cold climates wear sunglasses. It’s something we’re used to seeing people wear as they stroll along the beach in places like Acapulco, and we don’t associate them with cold climates. They are, however, often pretty essential for getting around. What with all the permafrost and ice, plus constant sunshine and clear skies, it would be crazy not to wear them. That’s right – clear blue skies. We often associate cold places with lots of snow and cloud cover. Yes, they are cold and you’ll be needing some of the tools from SnowShifts, but the cloud cover means they’re nowhere near as cold as places where the sun shines but can’t melt the ice.
Another misconception about cold places is that nothing works there. Just because, in moderate climates, when there is an inch of snowfall, schools close, bus services are suspended, airports close and people start mentioning the apocalypse, everything carries on as usual in cold places. They’ve prepared for all that and perfected it. Closing a school due to a few inches of snow is like closing a school in the Florida Keys because the sun came out. Public transport runs perfectly on schedule – nobody wants to be kept waiting on cold and windy train platforms to soak up the weather.
Inevitably people dress differently. Looking cool loses out to avoiding frostbite and hypothermia. Rather than walking around with their jeans hanging around their knees or showing off their latest sneakers, people who live in cold climates will more likely notice the quality and warmth of each other’s overcoats and the sturdiness of their new boots. And most of the time they’re not interested at all, as if you’re wearing that stuff, it means you’re outdoors and there are more important things you need to be thinking about.
Living in a cold climate affects the choices you make throughout the day. You might decide to get ready for bed earlier in order to have time to prepare hot water bottles for the family. Alternatively, you might leave a coal heater stoked overnight and get up to light it before going back to bed for an hour. You have to wake up early to scrape the ice off your car, your windows or to clear your driveway of snow. Traveling can be very hazardous – it’s often best to take your time and use public transport where possible. Doing any kind of outdoor exercise or pursuit is risky. You can’t just go out jogging in the tundra as you might at the beach.
You’ll learn not to bother wearing earrings due to the pain they cause you when they freeze. You won’t lick your lips unless your mouth is covered and you’ll learn to appreciate thermal flasks which can keep your coffee, soup or even your wine, warm for when you need it.
Life in a cold climate isn’t for everyone, but then again, neither is life in a warm climate. If you’re the type who’s not bothered by a bit of sweat on your back and loves to turn on the air conditioning when you get home, you probably won’t find all that much difference in wiping the frost from your nose as you get the fire roaring after coming in from the snow.