Lying here, as the slumber turns to a gradual awareness, the sounds of holiday creep into my conscious and I am brought back to a time in my youth I know well. Kids are playing outside, there is a breath of fresh air gently wafting through the open door. Water splashes around from the nearby swimming pool and shafts of sunlight edge across my face, peeking through the gap in the blinds.
There’s just one thing missing though from my senses and I can’t quite get to that place I know so well.
As I grew up, I was very fortunate to get to holiday a fair bit, and as we lived in Europe, different cultures were close by. We had a family caravan and thus we were able to pack up and travel without the huge costs associated with flying and renting accommodation. Living in the UK meant I grew up having holidays both on our home shores, and once a year we would board a car ferry and cross the English Channel, emerging in France to explore a part we had not yet seen.
One of the strongest things I remember from these glorious trips is the scent. I don’t think it is something you can exactly quantify, but as I woke this morning I knew that there was something missing in my transportation to another time. There is a scent about the fresh, crisp morning air in France. Perhaps it is something from the trees, or something that emanates from the relaxed demeanour of the people. Or perhaps it’s the early morning rises, filling the air with their unique way of baking bread…
Bread could well be it. Dad would often get up early to walk to the nearest Boulangerie, returning with fresh Croissants, still warm from the oven, to eat for breakfast. As I grew a little older I relished the chance to go along and practice my French, “Une Baguette et Quatre Croissants, sil vous plait.”
I think these early experiences are what got me addicted to the idea of travel and of new cultures and experiences. Travelling to a new place, no matter how near or far, it is important for me to remind myself to be there and experience it, using all my senses. For in that moment as I longed for the scent of freshly baked bread to transport me to another time, I was in fact already there.
Opening my eyes, I saw my young daughter, at a similar age wandering in and out of the open porch door with the breakfast her mother had made for her. And I had to smile, because although she doesn’t realise it, she it creating the memories that will transport her back to this moment in years to come.