Fragrances that Trigger Travel Memories

A random thought stuck me today – I was thinking about how fragrances and smells has been an important part of my travels throughout. I have encountered them on my most enduring travel experiences and yet we tend to disregard them, often.

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We go out, visit a place and come back home with bunch of photos, videos and travel stories. We sit and talk hours about our most unexpected encounters, experiences, adventures and the new friendships from the road. But rarely do we hear people sharing their memories of fragrances and smells from the road. I wonder why we always discuss and write about the beauty of colours of thousands of Tulips in Srinagar but forget the everlasting fragrance filled atmosphere that we experience when we enter the Tulip garden.

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How many of us remember how car air fresheners fill the inside of our vehicles with aroma so that we can pass through those not- so-pleasant smelling roads easily? Clearly in search of that ever-elusive sense of a place, we travellers skip over this one quality that couldn’t be more essential to it.

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While we love to talk about our experiences of eating or trying a different cuisine, let’s say a Thai food, what about the rice, noodles, curries, and lemongrass-lime aroma that is the eau de Thailand?

But it is also true that fragrances trigger our memory in the long run. My friend once shared this interesting tale with me -he visited an India temple in US, after a span of 10 years, he was suddenly transported to the time he spent in India. He said that he could clearly hear the chanting of mantras and feel the heat of the ceremonial fires.

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In that very moment he was taken to the nostalgic time of his childhood in India. That’s what fragrances do to you.  Photographs remind you of where you’ve been but smells make you return you there.

I never took this aspect seriously but somehow this has been my habit throughout my travelling life. Wherever I go, I try to find or feel something that contains the smell of a place. An aroma filled air of a Buddhist monastery or a scarf washed in the flowery laundry powder or a sachet stuffed with the lavender that grows wild on the hillsides.

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Most recently, I caught a whiff of a friend’s car freshener the Godrej Aer Fresh Green Lush and was instantly intrigued when it took me to a hill station almost immediately. I then, checked the web for other fragrance options and settled on the Bright Tangy Delight for my car. It just sits easily on my dashboard and uses gel technologies which means no spills!

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It’s meant to last 60 days and so far, it’s doing a great job. Every time I catch the fragrance of Godrek #aerTime, I am transported to an Orange farm I visited on my recent travels.

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The place was unlike any other- it was gorgeous to behold, calming and full of colour. And now, every time I step into my car, I am taken back to that happy memory!

Fragrances surely can move you through time and space. What’s your favourite travel memory?

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