No matter where you go you see, hear, taste, smell or feel things you never have before. Whether you go to a neighbouring country or to the other side of the world.
One of the most powerful and intense senses is the smell of a country. Even though you might not be aware of it that much at the moment itself. When coming back from holiday’s people usually tell you what they have seen and done. Not a lot of people tell you how the incense in a temple smelled or about the odour of spices in the streets.
The scent of Africa
Although it’s hard to hold on to a smell I still remember the recognition I had of the scent of Africa. 17 years after I visited Angola I went to Kenya and even though Kenya and Angola are very different countries they both smell like Africa to me. It’s hard to describe what that smells like, but it was the first thing I noticed as soon as I got out of the airplane. I took a deep breath and thought to myself: “Yes, I am definitely in Africa.”
Strong and volatile
A scent can be strong and volatile at the same time. Before you know it, it’s gone. But when you smell it again it can strongly remind you of something you have experienced. I can still really enjoy the smell of the scarf I bought in the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan. The pictures I made of the desert show what it looks like. But the fragrance in my scarf – that is sadly fading away – makes me feel like I’m back in the desert. Sitting around a small fire with the Bedouins and fellow travellers, sipping extremely sugary tea. I can almost feel the fire warming up my face while the early evening makes my back feel slightly chilly.