The summer after my senior year of college, like many other young Americans, I spent the season in Europe. Having long been enamored with Audrey Hepburn films, I was eager to recreate a little Roman Holiday for myself. So I packed up a backpack, picked up a map and planned to spend my last days of freedom wandering Western Europe.
Since that summer and since I began my life as a professional woman, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to many places across Asia, South America, the Caribbean and even back to Western and Central Europe. While I have enjoyed each and every one of my trips, stayed at more luxurious properties and dined at finer restaurants, nothing has yet been able to replace the exhilaration and pure joy for life that I felt that summer, sleeping on overnight trains and getting lost in coastal towns. It was on that trip, that I fell in love with traveling.
It was a summer that was filled with light and color, taste and fragrance. I don’t remember which streets I walked down, which stores I wandered into, or which cafes I sat in but my sensory experiences are just as vivid today as they were years ago. I remember how Paris sparkled under the morning sun and watched the glittering lights of Florence turn on in the dusk.
(Paris in the morning)
(Florence in the evening)
You often hear that Europe is a gastronomical delight. I suppose I ate the way a true local would, passing up fancy restaurants for random cafes and street carts. I tasted the freshest pizza of my life in Rome and can still give you directions to the bodega from the train station. My favorite meal in Paris was the bread, butter and marmalade stocked at local grocery store in Montmarte. In San Sebastian, I ate salads from my friend’s kitchen where she bought fresh vegetables every morning before work. And I drank local cervezas with my hostel friends sitting on a plaza fountain in Barcelona. Years later when I returned to Europe, I remember searching Zagat for the best new restaurants but I found my most genuine food experiences to be eating just the way I would at home.
(My friend pouring the local cider during dinner in San Sebastian)
The colors of Europe to are incredibly vibrant, and certainly much more so than the grey Seattle where I lived at the time. From the artwork that lined the ceilings of the Vatican churches to the paintings that decorated the walls of my friend’s apartment, from the rich turquiose blue waters on the San Sebastian coast, to the pastel houses that lined Venice’s canals, color was everywhere.
(Sistene Chapel, Vatican City)
(My friend’s apartment, San Sebastian)
(Early morning in Venice)
(Early afternoon, San Sebastian)
When I think of capturing my European experience in a scent, I think of bottling up the emotion of joie de vivre, a bubbly effervescent scent that takes us back to the wide-eyed curiosity and happiness of a young woman on the brink of adulthood. For me, travel has so often been about the destination, but it’s when you immerse your into the journey that makes it truly special.
Note: This post is sponsored by Sephora and Leslie Blodgett Perfume Diaries. Leslie has created an exclusive fragrance inspired by the art, experience and memories of travel. She has asked The Daily Obsession to share our own special stories.
Leslie would also love to hear your own “perfume diaries” inspired by Travel. Tell your stories on her Facebook page where submissions will be entered to win:
o Grand Prize = (1) grand prize winner and a guest will receive a luxurious vacation to Honolulu, Hawaii for 5 nights/6 days and a gift basket of Leslie’s Bare Skin collection (approx. $2000 value)
o Second Place = (3) second place winners will receive a gift basket of Leslie’s Bare Skin Collection (over $100 value/each)