Taste, smell, touch, see, and hear: we can distinctly associate travel experiences to specific senses. Allow me to share my strongest association of senses to my travels.
This one is the most challenging sense for me, because I attribute taste to many different scenarios. One of my favorite taste experience happened when I traveled to China and visited a night market with a local friend. I shared with him my desire to eat ONE insect; a small one, with few legs, and no giant wings. We determined than a little scorpion would be ideal. I grabbed the wooden skewer and this huge cook came out screaming and grabbed my hand holding the insects. Turns out he wanted to be sure I didn’t bite into the raw scorpions with their stinger. How did it taste? Well, it was well fried and not very different than very crispy bacon.
Without a doubt in my mind, my travel memories most associated with SMELL are my visits to Hawaii. Interestingly, Hawaii was not a location on my bucket list. I had heard so often that Hawaii was very touristy and expensive. The first opportunity for me to visit Oahu was for a work project. The moment I stepped off the plane I was enveloped by a soft light sweet fragrance, that of the plumeria flower. The plumeria flowers are often used for crafting the traditional leis. Regardless of the time of day, the plumeria fragrance perfumes the air.
The TOUCH travel memory is fairly recent; summer of 2014 in France. My Camino de Santiago friend took me to see La Dame de Brassempouy, a reproduction of the original oldest statue of a woman. It was carved in mammoth ivory, and is estimated to have been carved 25,000 years ago. I held the reproduction between my fingers, and was enthralled by the details of the face. Who did the statue represent, a real woman or an imagined one? Who was the artist? There is so much mystery and history in that small statue.
My strongest SEE travel memory is gazing at the Eiffel Tower for the first time. I remember, as a young child, listening to a television show about the Tower, and reading about it in various books lead to a wish to see it in person. A friend of mine who lives in France invited me to stay in Paris for a few days, and I jumped at the occasion to finally set me eyes on the “Lady of Steel”. My first glimpse of the majestic tower was from Montmartre, and even thought the tower was minuscule in the far distance, I still was moved to see it in person. The following few days provided many opportunities to see it from the Seine during a boat tour, from various vantage points such as the Arc de Triomphe, and finally up close. Each time I saw the Tower, I saw different aspects of this amazing structure.
Again I will have to use my experience walking across Spain to describe some epic SOUND memories. Given that the Camino de Santiago is mostly walked in nature (as opposed to in cities and towns) the sound of the little bells that adorn sheep is a sound that always makes me feel happy and childlike. You can imagine the tiny bell sound multiplied by 30, 50 or 100 depending on the size of the herd. To my ears that is always is a beautiful symphony. As well, during my Camino journey evenings I would attend the pilgrim mass and the sound of pilgrims saying the prayers in various languages and at times the beautiful voices of choir singers truly set the stage for memorable moments.
Which locations wake up your senses?