Five Senses for Travel: Touch

Chrissi Beach near Crete, Greece

Imagine yourself on a beach. But before you go too far with daydreaming about beach volleyball and margaritas, ask yourself this first — what’s the sand like?

Is it that fine golden sand that packs hard under your feet when wet, making it easy to jog alongside the water? Or is it pebbled and impossible to walk on? Maybe it’s grainy and loose like the black volcanic sands of Santorini, which heats up to scalding hot levels in the sun.

One of my favourite swimming holes was...

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Five Senses for Travel: Sound

A music band on the streets of Paris, France.

Travel has a soundtrack built into it. A composition of sounds that plays in the background of the scenery you pass through. Whether it's the sound of waves crashing on a shoreline,  soft cooing from pigeons, the creaking of tall trees in the wind, the incomprehensible cacophony of a busy cafe, or something even more tangible, like music coming from a busker on a street corner. Background noise may not always have the melody of a beautiful song, it might even be closer to silence than...

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Five Senses for Travel: Scent

Summer, Ukraine, Europe

Travel is often referred to as sight-seeing. But if that was all there was to it, travelling would be like flipping through a virtual reality guide book. Yes, there’s a picture of Golden Gate Bridge. Ooh la la, the picturesque Montmartre. Look at those Alps, aren’t they grand?

Travel should be an experience of all the senses. It’s not just about seeing a place, but hearing the noisy clamour of a city like London or the soft quiet of the countryside in Scotland. It’s about...

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Deep River, Tiny Oasis in Lokhvytsya

River in Lokhvytsya, Ukraine

At the very edge of my grandmother’s town, past the fields where cattle graze, there is a tiny river swallowed up by a forest of reeds. You wouldn’t even know this place exists if not for the occasional car veering off the main road onto dirt tracks that looks like someone’s driveway. The well worn road meanders through the meadow where hints of wild mint mix with the warm scent of hay. The fields seem to stretch on and on until squat scraggly bushes appear to break up the...

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Head in the Clouds of the Carpathians

Carpathian Mountains, Ukraine

There is something strange about mountains. They expand and compress space so that short distances take forever to travel as the road loops back and forth over a mountain face. Small towns surprise you around a bend in the road, pressing up against a slope or inching out onto a cliff. I love the Carpathian Mountains exactly for this reason — the twisted roads slow down time and reveal the landscape in pieces.

The first time I traversed the Carpathians was by car. We left my aunt’s...

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