Surviving the Heat – Commuter Edition

I’ve been commuting since I started here at U of T two years ago and although it has its perks, sometimes, it can suck. If you listen closely, you can hear a collective groan amongst commuters across the GTA when the weather forecast calls for severe rain, wind, snow or ice. It’s quite the journey to get to campus when the city looks like this:
frank gunn: canadian press cbc
Source: Frank Gunn/ The Canadian Press
I've encountered my fair share of fellow commuters who get caught in horrible weather and have to deal with shuttle buses, blackouts, flooded trains, delayed trains and more. It happens to the best of us. But this post is dedicated to a type of extreme weather that deserves it’s own category of commuter horror stories: extreme heat. Considering that my parents are from a tropical island country that literally sits on the equator, I assumed I should have inherited some sort of tolerance to hot weather, but unfortunately, I have about as much tolerance to the heat as a penguin.
Well these guys at the Toronto Zoo seem to be enjoying the heat but you get my drift.
Toronto summers have been hot and humid for as far back as I can remember. The difference this year is that I can’t create a blanket fort over the air conditioning vent and imagine myself in an Antarctic oasis. Not because that’s impractical, but because I apparently now have to pretend to be a functioning member of society. School, jobs, student groups, and of course responsibilities. But, I’ll admit it. Commuting in the summer might not be as bad as in a raging snowstorm, but there are definitely ways to make it safer and more comfortable. Here are a few things I did to make the summer heat a little more bearable as a commuter: Stay hydrated – The sun can really drain you, so keep drinking that water to stay fresh and alert! Pack lightly  - A giant backpack and 35 degrees on a sunny day results in me getting tired a lot quicker. Not to mention it adds an extra layer that’s just making you hotter. I opt for my smaller bags that are easier to carry around!
Efficient packing is not just an acquired skill, its an art form.
Watch for spoiled food – Nothing worse than bringing a box of mom’s amazing homemade rice and having it go bad after being in your sauna of a bag. I try to bring a water bottle with some ice in it, to keep the food cooler for longer. It is a little more to carry, but I’d rather add a little extra weight than miss out on a home cooked meal that isn’t going to give me food poisoning. Prepare for varying weather – I recently learned that humidity can spark thunderstorms (according to the Weather Network), so being prepared for the rain is a must. I also find that having a light sweater helps to keep from shivering your way through a three hour lecture with the air-conditioning on full blast.
A real time photo that I frantically took while caught thoroughly unprepared in a freak thunderstorm.
Thankfully, only 2 more months of the summer heat! We can do it! Until the blissful fall weather hits, I'm going to resort to my trusty air-conditioned blanket fort. Until then, let me know how you keep cool down in the comments section below!

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