Don’t Live Where You Can’t Stand the Weather

If I were to give any hard and fast advice right now to everyone, it would be, “Don’t live where you can’t take the weather. Don’t live in a place where the weather doesn’t suit your constitution and where you are uncomfortable outdoors most of the time.”

If cold weather livens you up, live in a cool place. If cold weather makes you not want to get out of bed in the morning, live in a place where the weather is mostly warm.

I realize that sometimes people temporarily lose the option to choose where they live; for example, if you are caring for an aging parent and they live in a place where the climate does not suit your body.

But as much as possible, prioritize weather in choosing where you live. If you hate the weather most of the year where you live, and cannot bear to be outdoors or have your windows open most of the time, you are going to have an extremely high eco footprint and (not incidentally) high financial overhead. You will also probably not be very healthy or feel very good.

If you hate the weather where you live, move. Life is too short.

If you love the weather where you live, a wide array of free and low-cost pastimes will always be available to you. One of the most delightful pastimes available to a human being is simply taking a walk (or bicycle ride, or wheelchair ride) in a place you love and have chosen as your home. Even just sitting outdoors is a joy — if you love the prevailing weather and can at least tolerate the most extreme weather of your place. If you cannot, you become a prisoner.

Oh, and if you are one of these people who can’t bear temperatures over 78F or below 70F (yes, these people exist — I meet them all the time), then pick one end of that range and work on stretching your tolerance, because your temperature envelope is way too narrow for your own health. (I hear that there’s actually a term for this temperature intolerance; the Prairie Home Companion calls it “Larvaelitis.” Who wants to be a squishy larva? Not me!)

You could also arrange to live part of the year in one climate and part in another. Many people I know do that, and not all of them are rich or even middle-class.

A corollary to “Live where you love the weather” is “Live where you can appreciate the native plants and wildlife.” If you live in Arizona or Florida, don’t try to turn your yard into Connecticut or Michigan. If you can’t respect and appreciate the native plants and wildlife where you are, move.

Further Reading:

Sometimes it’s the social or economic “weather” rather than the meteorological weather that tells you it’s time to move. From Strong Towns, a highly thought-provoking article, Sometimes You Need To Move.

And regarding physical temperature conditions of various cities around the world, I just found this article by Nolan Gray (who, according to his bio, writes for two of my favorite movements/groups, CityLab and Strong Towns). Mr. Gray divides cities into nine categories, ranging from 1 (cities where you don’t need either heat or A/C) to 9 (cities where you need both heat and A/C). He does not go into the role of trees and vernacular architecture, as well as old-fashioned lifestyle practices, which used to get lots of people through summers A/C-free, in places where supposedly air conditioning is an absolute necessity now. Still, it’s an interesting read and will be helpful to folks who have not yet found a climate they like or at least can tolerate.