The olfactory nerve is located close to the hippocampus. This means that when we smell something, it triggers the part of the brain associated with a memory.  When I think about the places I’ve traveled to, oftentimes I think of a smell. I remember towns in Rajasthan smelling of a hair salon, but also sickly sweet like jolly ranchers. Biking through Udaipur I remember smells of jasmine and coriander. The King’s Palaces in Jodhpur smelled of sparkling lime-juice and watermelons. Machu Picchu smelled of bread and Venice of salt-water taffy. As I traveled, my teachers told me to keep journals of what I saw and what I did. My rice paper journals gradually turned into travel blogs. I wrote about smells, and I wrote about scenery. To this day, some of those smells still conjure up memories of the places I’ve been.

Adventure travel has always been a part of my life. My parents used to take my brother and sister and I out of school for months on end for the mere sake of traveling the world. They home schooled us as we went from Australia to Thailand to Morocco to Vietnam. It was unheard of to take your kids out of school to travel. My parents didn’t care because they believed you could learn more by traveling the world than by sitting in a classroom.

Growing up in Westchester, New York, I considered myself a Princess. I wanted to stay in my bubble and continue being a suburban girl, who drinks iced caramel lattes, has a black down North Face, and owns a pair of Ray Bans. I wanted to lead a normal childhood, not constantly have to say goodbye to friends. Yet, here I was, backpacking through Malaysia thrashing through mud and literally picking leeches off of my arms and throwing them back into the wild. We hiked Machu Picchu in crazy high altitudes to the point of sickness. We rode bikes through the poorest cities in India for days on end and staid at palaces at night. We visited desolate parts of Cambodia. The good, the bad, the downright terrifying, I document it. I take pictures of people and interview them on my travels. I learn about why people act the way that they do.

Now, it’s been almost 16 years that I’ve been traveling the world. I attend Syracuse University, but every year, my parents still choose one place we’ve never been to, and we go there as a family. We hope to continue this tradition as long as we can.

It’s my dream to work in an environment where I get to read or write about travel. Via Mondo is especially attractive to me because it isn’t a single type of travel agency. It embodies everything that I love about traveling. It combines travel with food, luxury, hidden gem destinations, smells, and people. Because after all, traveling should never just be romantic, spiritual, adventurous, crazy, rough, eye opening, or beautiful. It should incarnate all of those things and more.

Ediva Z. – Marketing Specialist