It’s April 23, 2015, and it’s lightly snowing here in the Midwest. That’s a bit unusual in late April, even for Wisconsin. Walking outside this morning, I watched big, styrofoam-like snowflakes land on the sleeve of the fleece jacket I had to pull out of winter storage.
Coming in April as this snow is, I know it won’t last long. But to listen to some of the morning news stories on it, you’d think it was a grind-to-a-halt, city-stopping “weather event.” Whole TV segments were built around the possibility of slippery roads, icy sidewalks and schools opening later than usual.
Like most of you, I grew up hearing stories from generations ago about how the snow used to be stacked up in piles almost as high as the houses; how children had to trudge through it to get to school; and how people would just put on snowshoes, go visit neighbors or continue with their daily routines when it furiously fell. Today, however, if even a little snow or rain is in the forecast, plans are canceled.
Have we all turned into weather wusses?
Are you a weather wuss—or not?
It seems to me that people fall into one of two categories when it comes to the weather: you’re either a weather-wuss-and-proud-of-it or an it’s-weather-deal-with-it.
Those who are proud of their weather wussness believe in the idiom of “better safe than sorry.” It’s preferable, they say, to be cautious in your choices and actions than to suffer afterwards. Too many of us are intractable; we are ruled by our calendars and appointment books. Why risk going to a movie or a child’s sports practice if weather conditions make it obvious that it would be safer to stay at home? People should develop some flexibility. You can catch up with anything you missed when the weather conditions improve.
On the other hand, the it’s-weather-deal-with-its believe that people have become spineless and weak. Our parents, grandparents or great-grandparents fought through a lot of adversity, such as the Dust Bowl, the Great Depression or World War II. They endured summers without air-conditioning in their homes, workplaces or cars and thought nothing of it. Just a generation or two later, their pampered children and grandchildren get anxious if it rains or snows a few inches. It’s just weather, they say, so deal with it.
Keeping “wussness” at bay when you’re away
Unfortunately, the weather-wuss-and-proud-of-its are at a disadvantage when they travel. There’s no option to stay at home if you’ve paid for a nonrefundable, expensive flight, are already at the airport or in a destination thousands of miles away from where you live. So, here are five weather-work-arounds to help you on your journeys:
1. Have the right gear from the outset. Before you leave home, find out what the weather is expected to be like at your travel destination. Go online or check your smartphone’s weather app. Then get and pack the appropriate clothing. Remember, there’s no bad weather—just bad clothes to wear out into it.
2. Or plan your trips to the places where your clothes already work. I prefer icebergs to beaches. I don’t own a swimsuit and have very few pairs of sandals. On the other hand, I own two, very heavy parkas and a couple of pairs of Sorel boots. When I dream of where I’d like to go, Antarctica usually comes to mind.
3. Don’t let a delayed or canceled flight ruin your trip from the very beginning. Always enter the phone numbers of all your travel providers into your cell phone before you leave home. Then, if you are faced with a delay at the airport, you can quickly get on the phone to rebook. It’s also a good idea to try several rebooking methods concurrently: while at the airport and on the phone, you can also be waiting in your airline’s customer service line. You can visit the airline’s website or connect with the company by social media; some airlines will respond to direct messages on Twitter.
4. Your attitude goes a long way toward making great memories. Keep telling yourself that weather is temporary. I’ve heard this said by several guides in Alaska, “Don’t like the weather? Wait 10 minutes, and it will change.”
5. Bring a book that you’ve always wanted to read but never had the time. I’ve found that if your luggage fails to meet up with you or your plane is grounded, a good book can be your best friend. It can transport your mind and imagination, even if your body is stuck in Terminal 3.
Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,