The Olfactory Memory of a Journey

Think now.

Is there a place in the world that you particularly like the smell of? Maybe of places where you made memories that made who you are, from the smell of sand of the beach where you used to spend time as a kid, or the scent of the hotel where you had your honeymoon.


The sense of smell is fascinating, you cannot block it or be separated from it, you can love it when surrounded by a field full of blooming flowers or even hate it when the fragrances around you are not so pleasant. Once made only to protect us from danger, is now a vehicle that can bring us back in time and place just with a simple taste of a certain smell. Anything can trigger your memory unleashing treasurable moments, just like a hidden treasure.

Imagine this, you are on holiday on the Amalfi coast, you are relaxed and enjoying every single minute of what is one of the best times of your life. While exploring the beautiful environment, you walk past endless gardens full of lemon trees. You remain enchanted by that vibrant and lively citrusy fragrance that was able to brighten your whole day. Years from that moment, you will be able to close your eyes and relive those special days only by smelling again lemon notes. That is the power of smell, it makes you feel things that you thought were gone forever, like that magical Italian vacation.

You can travel physically with your body but also take a magical journey inside your mind with the olfactory memory. 

The connection between the ability to remember and smelling is stranger that with any other of the five senses. This occurs because of biological reasons the olfactory nerve is connected directly with the amygdala and the hippocampus which are responsible for the storing of memories. The way we process emotions and smells is the same, we have reflexes that tell us if we like something or if we don’t without any filters.

So next time you find yourself in a magical place, try to pay attention to the fragrances that surround you so that one day you’ll be able to go back anytime you need a to cheer yourself up.

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