September 26, 2018
It’s cold outside here in Kiev (13° high, 7° low). As someone who hates cold weather, this would normally be my cue to leave - after all that’s why I left Argentina in June despite enjoying myself so much there.
But I’m still here, and oddly enough I’m actually enjoying this sudden chilly weather (though I would’ve preferred a more gradual cooling rather than going straight from summer to winter in 2 days).
The first hint of cold after a hot sunny summer is something that we dread because it signals the end of summer. But when it actually starts getting cold and you get past the whole “end of summer” dread, it’s actually fantastic.
The first thing I feel is nostalgia. I felt nostalgia for my time in Buenos Aires 3 months prior - walking through an epic cemetary with my local “friend”, wandering around the city cluelessly with some hostel friends, chatting with my hilarious South African dormmate on the balcony at 7am after a long night out.
I felt nostalgia for NYC - walking through a park with a friend and watching the leaves change color and fall down. I’m always transported back to Morningside Heights in 2012 - my first time moving to NYC to start graduate school at Columbia University. I remember that feeling of excitement - of finally being in the big city I’d longed to live in since my internship the prior summer, of attending an Ivy League school, of the world being my oyster.
(Of course the memory tends to be better than the reality, but I won’t let that prevent me from basking in the nostalgia.)
In addition to being an ocean of nostalgia, cold weather signifies change. It’s a goodbye to the carefree days of running around outside and laying on the beach without any agenda, a return to getting back to work.
I firmly believe that it’s way easier to be productive in cold weather than it is in hot tropical weather. In hot weather there is just way too many distractions. Without air conditioning, I’d probably be incapable of getting anything done in hot weather without what would seem to be a herculean level of discipline.
Before beginning my 8 month world travel in the middle of winter in NYC, I was fed up with cold weather. “Escaping winter” was one of the main themes of my trip.
Now I appreciate cold weather, if only because it makes it a hell of a lot easier for me to justify to myself staying inside and getting some work done. But more than that, I appreciate the variation, as it signals change. And of course it’s easy to lose appreciation of warm weather without the cold.
That being said, I’m not sure if I’m ready to endure the entirety of a brutal European winter. But a month or two I can probably handle before I run off to somewhere warmer.
But at the end of the day, weather is just weather. One should not be dependent on external circumstances for internal happiness.
Written by Jeremy Bernier who left the NYC rat race to travel the world, work remotely, and find the meaning of life.