Europe Musings

On Frigophobia and Winter Travel Plans

Jan 29

Ireland West CoastConfession: I hate the cold. Yes, I am Canadian. And yes, I chose to move to a city that is located even further north than my hometown. But it doesn’t change the fact that I detest the cold with every fibre of my being.

I hate cold weather, cold water, cold anything. I dread the start of winter every year. I like my drinks to be served at room temperature. I refuse to eat ice cream unless it’s at least 20 degrees outside.

I’ve always known my aversion to the cold was ridiculous-bordering-irrational, but it turns out I’m not crazy after all – fear of the cold is a real thing! According to my 30 second Google search reliable sources, the clinical term is Frigophobia, and it’s defined as:

An abnormal and persistent fear of cold, including cold weather and cold objects. Sufferers may experience anxiety even though they realize their fear is irrational. To avoid cold, they may live in a warm climate, dress more warmly than necessary, stay indoors on cold days, and avoid cold foods and ice cubes.

Frigophobia is more likely to occur in those who have had a significant negative impact from the cold. For example, if you have experienced hypothermia, fallen through the ice, or been stuck in a snow drift, you may be more likely to develop this fear.

I’m pretty sure suffering living through twenty-odd Canadian winters counts as a ‘significant negative impact from the cold,’ right?

Thanks to my affliction from frigophobia, I’ve spent the past 10 years chasing the sun, spending anywhere from a week to six months in warmer regions during the winter: Australia, Fiji, Southeast Asia, South Africa, India, the Caribbean – my love for tropical regions and countries below the equator knows no bounds.

Goa Palolem 2Costa Rica Samara Beach
But this year, I’ve decided to embrace winter. Or least attempt to, anyways.

In November, I spent a weekend in Dublin. I rang in 2016 outside on the streets of Edinburgh. I have a (very quick) trip to Wales next week, and I’m visiting Berlin at the end of February. I’m heading to Ireland again in March to celebrate St. Patrick’s day, and I’m also hoping to squeeze in some Scottish travels in the next month or two.

For the first time in years, I don’t have an escape-the-winter trip booked, and it feels incredibly strange – wrong even.

There are approximately 47 countries I want to visit on the European continent, and confining myself to travel within the summer months isn’t a viable option, so this year, I’m attempting to make the most of winter. I’m choosing to willingly visit countries in the Northern Hemisphere in the dead of winter. And I’ll try not to curse the name of all that is holy every time I step outside.

Are you a Frigophobic? Where are you travelling this winter?


  • Reply Amanda - Lesson Plans & Layovers Jan 30 at 2:16 pm

    Totally a frigophobic Canadian! But I’m with you on making the most of winter! Especially with travelling from Canada, flights to Europe are the cheapest during this time of year, so why not try and see as much as possible and then enjoy home base come summer time 🙂

    • Reply ashleywanders Feb 02 at 7:31 pm

      Glad to hear from a fellow Frigophobic Canadian! And flights are such a bargain this time of year, it’d be silly not to take advantage 😉

  • Reply Justine Feb 02 at 10:24 pm

    Being from Southern California I’ve very rarely traveled anywhere during the winter months…unless I’m going snowboarding. But now that I’m moving to freezing cold Beijing I’m going to try my best to embrace winter living and travel. I’m actually excited to stop avoiding “cold” places. I’ve always gravitated toward tropical climates, but I feel like I’m missing out on a huge chunk of the world. I’m also starting to realize that winter can be a really special time of year to travel. We’ll see how this experiment pans out 😉

    • Reply ashleywanders Feb 10 at 9:04 pm

      I’m exactly the same! But you’re totally right – winter can be a great time to travel, and I really need to stop skipping the ‘cold’ countries as well. Good luck with the move to Beijing, and with trying to embrace winter 🙂

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