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Written by Savi, 59 Comments

The internet is a crazy place – there’s nothing you can’t find on it! From countless reviews of hotels to detailed itineraries, everything is available at the tap of a finger. The sheer amount of information means we spend innumerable hours poring over potential itineraries, chalking out every last detail of an upcoming trip. Then there is the recent proliferation of blogs and travel-related websites. They seduce you with photos and lure you into dreaming of faraway destinations.


But something’s missing! The greatest irony is that this sheer mass of information that is meant to coax people into travelling the world has made voyeurs of us all. We click on adventure after adventure whilst sipping on our morning tea, read regaling tales of exotic cities on our laptops, and peruse endless photos of picturesque locations – all from the confines of tiny cubicles in our respective offices. Those cubicles are our safety net, if you may.


Now we are by no means suggesting you stop reading said travel blogs (Beware – we’ll hunt you down if you ever stop reading Bruised Passports 😉 ). No! But let this article tempt you into making that leap of faith and travelling the world. Why you ask? Here’s the thing – reading about somebody else’s travels is all well and good but there’s a special quality about travelling that even the most articulate travel writer can’t put into words – it’s the SMELL of travel.


We’ve been travelling for over 6 years now. In that time Vid and I have visited over 300 cities in 42 countries. This article might never end if we started penning the highlights of our journey but here are 10 things that need to be experienced to be believed – reading about them just won’t do!!



#1 Sleeping in an igloo in Switzerland

Earlier this year we spent a night in an igloo – a REAL igloo! We were so taken in by it that we wrote an entire article about our experience at Iglu Dorf, Switzerland. We included so many photos in that article and swooned about the fact that we were warm (almost too warm) despite sleeping on a bed made of ice.


But nothing comes close to the real experience. It’s hard to explain how clean the air feels at such a high altitude, how the smell of buttery popcorn and warm wine is more enticing that most gourmet meals when one is huddled up on a stool carved out of ice, how snug arctic-style sleeping bags feel, and how it is actually possible to feel entirely disconnected from the world when one is in an igloo village surrounded by miles and miles of pillowy snow 🙂


iglu dorf hotel switzerland
The two of us in our igloo in Switzerland


Iglu dorf switzerland hotel review
Our room for the night 🙂 (photo – Iglu Dorf)



#2 Learning a local chef’s secrets in Cambodia 

Back in February we raved about a cooking class we took in Siem Reap. We even included it in our favourite things to do in Siem Reap. Yes we tried to describe our exact emotions as the coconut curry bubbled away – but you had to be there to smell the fragrant herbs we picked from the garden before the class, experience the sensual way in which the chef roughly tore leaves of thai basil and lemongrass before making us smell each herb, and hear the rhythmic pounding of the pestle and mortar we used to grind those herbs.


How is one to smell those things over the internet? For an assault of the olfactory kind, you need to go travelling 🙂


Cooking class in Siem Reap
Getting our paws grubby during a cooking class in Cambodia



#3 Counting Clouds in Iceland

Rarely do you chance upon a country where each attraction is prettier than the last. There are waterfalls like you’ve never seen them before, landscapes right out of a fairy tale, mysterious volcanic caves, and glaciers that go on for miles. Obviously you marvel.


Then, you chance upon that secret spot where there’s nothing – no waterfalls, no caves, no mountains. It’s the spot that has no tricks up its sleeve. There are no cars, houses, or people for miles. But there are wild flowers. Hundreds of thousands of them. They entice you into lying down on the grass. From there you sink deeper and deeper into a space where ipods, books, and notepads seem irrelevant. The material world seems far away. You just dream and count clouds …. till those clouds give way to stars. You come away a different person, you really do 🙂



Iceland road trip
We didn’t make that up – it really happened 🙂



#4 Getting lost in a souk in Morocco 

Of course travelling isn’t all about tranquil spaces, friendly people, and fragrant herbs. Sometimes it comes laden with chaos, hustle-bustle, hawkers, and loads of flavour. Marrakech is one such city. Visiting Marrakech is akin to standing in the middle of the vortex with vendors, shopkeepers, snake charmers, and magicians rushing at you from all sides. It is an assault to the senses like no other and is bound to throw you off balance. But its frenetic rhythm is what makes it special and indescribable – you need to be there to experience it! If it’s your first time there or you’re there for a short weekend break, try to opt for a group tour of Marrakech – we love the foodie weekend offered by The Flash Pack 🙂


Marrakech Djemaa El Fna
The vibrance and chaos of Marrakech is special



#5 Attending the Malaga Feria in Spain

There’s no better reason to travel than to meet like-minded locals in countries across the world. And what better place to meet locals and make friends than a massive street party? While the Oktoberfests and Tomorrowlands of the world continue to grab eyeballs, we have a soft spot for local celebrations like the Annual Malaga Feria. Every year, thousands of Spaniards don their best dresses and partake in a week-long carnival. Free-flowing Sangria, flamenco dances, giant carousels, horse-rides, and tapas bars set the tone for the week, which culminates in a crazy party on the last night. It’s impossible to articulate the frenzied rhythm of the Malaga Feria or the smiles on peoples’ faces in words – you need to book a flight to Spain for that!


Read our article about The Malaga Feria for further information and more photos (opens in a new tab)


Offbeat Spain Malaga Feria 6
Tapaseria at the Feria Ground – The Malaga Feria is an experience you’ll remember for years to come



#6 Walking under the sea in Mauritius

Has anybody ever been able to put the adrenalin rush that follows a bungee jump or sky dive into words? Probably not!


So how is one to describe the commotion inside one’s head as one lets go of the last step of a ladder suspended deep into the sea, looks around to find oneself surrounded by fish that tickle the palm of one’s fingers as they congregate around for morsels of fish food. How can a travel writer describe the trepidation and elation one feels when one is suspended so deep under the water that it’s impossible to see anything except playful fish and hear anything except the sound of one’s own breath. How? How? How?


Travel the world
You NEED to experience the undersea walk to believe it!!



#7 Halting for a lioness to cross the road in South Africa

We drove close to 5000 kms in South Africa and passed townships, national reserves, safari reserves, vineyards, towns, and villages. We chronicled the whole trip on Bruised Passports. But tell us, dear reader, how are we to chronicle the trepidation we felt when a lioness crossed our tracks.


Vid was the one driving at the time. He was forced to apply a sudden brake – both of us sank into our seats, our hearts in our mouths. Meanwhile, the lioness stretched out leisurely in the middle of the track, just inches away from us. She ambled to a puddle of water by the road and started lapping it up thirstily. This went on for minutes. She licked her lips and seconds later, she’d disappeared into the bush.


To experience the rush that follows when your eyes meet a wild animals’ eyes for a split second, you need to travel….


Lioness in South Africa
Encounter with a thirsty lioness in South Africa



#8 Getting lost in a small town in Italy

Nothing beats the romance of a small town in Italy – crumbling buildings, old men chatting over espressos, vintage vespas, gelaterias at every corner, and the food! Over the years, all of us have probably consumed (pun fully intended!) dozens of articles about picturesque Italian towns and drooled over endless photos of rustic Italian food. At Bruised Passports alone we’ve written almost a dozen articles about Italy. But we’ll just say this, nothing comes close to following the whiff of freshly-baked breads with half-closed eyes around town, running one’s fingertips along neglected (yet gorgeous!) buildings, meeting a passionate Italian cook who loves her craft, or twirling under the Italian sun… just because!! 🙂


Crumbling buildings in Italy
Discovering crumbling buildings in Italy



#9 Experiencing jaw-dropping views in Croatia

Travelling in Croatia is akin to walking into an HD television with the colours turned on full blast. Whether it is the cascading waterfalls of Plitvice National Park or the iconic orange roofs of Dubrovnik, Croatia is bound to charm the most sceptical of travellers. Yes you can peruse photos of scenic waterfalls and UNESCO Heritage Sites but you’ve got to be there to realise how it feels to stand at the highest point of Plitvice National Park and drink in a 360 degree panorama of waterfalls on every side or have the wind knocked out of you when you first spot the city of Dubrovnik ringed by the azure water of the Mediterranean Sea.


Travel the world
Plitvice National Park in Croatia



Savi Vid Bruised Passports Dubrovnik
The Croatian city of Dubrovnik surrounded by stunning blue water



#10 Walking into a fairy tale in Northern Ireland

The best for the last? Perhaps! The countryside of Northern Ireland is probably one of the least talked about and most magical spaces in the world. You will spot sheep snoozing in the sun, cascading streams, fairy-tale parks, and utopian cottages . The languorous rhythm of the countryside in this part of the world makes one realise what’s truly important – spending time with loved ones, long walks in the country, exploring historically-laden sites – y’get the idea! We wrote two articles about our amazing road trip in Northern Ireland and kept referring to it as a place ‘peppered with fairy dust’. That’s as close as we can come to articulating its magic – you need to book flights to experience its luscious sublimity in person 🙂


17-Causeway Coastal Route hike
Northern Ireland – right out of a fairy-tale


There you have it – travelling extensively is bound to dispel your prejudices, make you tolerant, and educate you in a way that nothing else can. You get one life – grab it with both hands while you still can 😀 Even scientific research has proven that collecting experiences, not things makes humans happy.  Here’s some food for thought :-




Whatever you do, don’t let excuses cloud your judgement. Worried about the lack of money? Travellers like Agness and Cez travel the world for less that $25 dollars/day. Suffer from a disability? Cory travels the world on a wheelchair. Worried about being a solo female traveller touring through developing and under-developed countries? If Shivya can do it, so can you. Worried about travelling with your kids? Caz and Craig travel with 2 daughters and the Zapps have been on the road for 14 years with 4 kids. The answer is simple – If you enjoy travelling or dream about travelling, just get off that couch and do it!


For we can use all the adjectives in the world but we would never be able to convey the enticing ways of forgotten alleys, the beguiling rhythm of the sea at the panoramic point where a continent ends, or the wafting smell of spices in the air as a street food vendor puts together a local delicacy ………. for that you’ll have to TRAVEL THE WORLD 🙂


Jumping at Iceland Glacier
Now you know what makes us happy 😉


Don’t forget to share it with your friends if you enjoyed reading it 🙂



Want to see some more of our favourite photos – check out our Top 10 photos from Iceland

Read all about our Epic Road Trip in South Africa (lions, zebras, and all)

Read more about our crazy experiences in Morocco


59 thoughts on “The SMELL of travel – 10 reasons why you should get off that couch and travel NOW

  1. Counting clouds in Iceland is my favorite reason to travel now 🙂 The best moment I ever had was on Bali as a priest blessed me for the future! It was amazing!! 🙂

    Greetings from a German traveller 🙂

  2. You know what they say, have the kind of life/career that you wouldn’t need or even want to take a vacation from (because you’re probably already doing that :-p)
    Love the list and cannot wait to start making my own.


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  3. This time last week I decided to put an expiration date on this rat-race London life I’ve been living, go freelance and do a lot more travelling. This post just confirmed that I have made the right decision. Thanks guys! Inspiring as always 🙂

    1. We’re so glad you enjoyed reading it Zoe. How can following your heart ever be a bad decision? We can’t wait to join you on the road – happy travels 🙂

  4. What a great post. I’m now super keen to sleep in an igloo!! How cool!! (literally)

    Thanks for linking to our blog. We’re firm believer in leaping towards your dreams – there are no limitations and it’s just as fun with kids.

    1. You guys are so inspiring Caz – we’re forever recommending your blog to our friends and readers 🙂 You should totally spend a night or two in the igloo – kids love it!

  5. Thank you so much guys for the mention! I’ve been following your adventures across and I could not be happier to see what you have been up to :*! Attending the Malaga Feria in Spain is on my bucket list right now!

    1. We always love hearing from you Agness – thanks for all the appreciation and comments on our posts 🙂 The Malaga Feria was so much fun, you can combine it with a long road trip in Spain

  6. Omg you guys! This was like a smack in the head to get up and start travelling instead of just extending the travel bucket list!!! Love you guys for this one! Super tempting pictures! Love bruissed passportsas always!! :*

    1. Hey Rashmi – yes, yes, yes. There’s no better time to follow your heart than NOW. If it tells you to travel, then do it 🙂

  7. This is why I don’t stay on the couch and try to explore the world and live the life of adventure! Great photos and great article! That igloo in Switzerland – awesome! Definitely on my list!

  8. What about time off from work? That’s my biggest problem – not money or kids. How do you guys manage to get that?

  9. You are quite right, there is nothing like actually experiencing things compared to reading about them. Before our trip I had read so much from other blogger’s about their ‘love-hate’ relationship with India but not really understanding. Now that we’re here I totally get it and have the same issue of being able to write exactly how it is here!

    1. That’s so true Emily. I always spend a lot longer writing about places like India, Egypt, Israel, and Morocco. The contradictions and heterogeneity make it hard to articulate exact feelings.

  10. Come on… that Igloo looks insane!!!! Really cool post guys. I like what you say about Morocco too. I usually prefer being out in the mountains, on a deserted beach or next to a lake… but coming back to a big city and experiencing the buzz always feels amazing too!

    1. Thanks Rich – didn’t want to make it only about idyllic experiences and what better place to introduce some chaos 😉

  11. Savi, I absolutely love the way u write. If anyone could verbalize EXACTLY how it feels to travel, it’s you. 🙂 You had me at counting clouds in Iceland 🙂
    I am just back from the offbeat goan trip I told you about.. And I must say getting the feel of the local culture, eating at small restaurants that served delicious goan cuisine, chancing upon deserted beaches where tourists rarely ventured, and spending the night at a hut RIGHT on one of the less travelled beaches of South Goa (we actually spent the whole night sitting outside our hut listening to waves and counting stars! ) was something no regular touristy trip could have given us.. It made me feel like a whole new person when I got back 🙂
    Thanks for inspiring us and please write more articles such as these.. Love how you play with words 🙂

    1. Ramya I wish I could tell you how happy I feel on reading your comments – I got so excited while writing this post because the subject gave me free reign to play with words and it’s nice to see that readers can actually sense that excitement. Your Goan road trip sounds amazing – hope you get to do another one of those sometime soon 🙂

  12. Great post and indeed, stop looking at all these wonderful pictures on the web and reading about it get off your couch and see them in real life. Well, don’t stop reading…
    Stunning pictures and this post made me realise that you can sleep in an iglo in Switzerland. I thought this was only possible up north in Europe. I have to look into this!!!
    We have gotten off our couch years ago and it’s nice to see many others doing the same 🙂

    1. Hey Sabine – true that! There’s nothing quite like experiencing all these places in person. Iglu Dorf also have similar igloo villages in Austria and Germany – you should look ’em up 🙂

  13. Ufff, you guys have really inspired me. Traveling more! Going to plan my holidays for next year right away. My biggest problem is splurging on things so there’s no money left over for travel!

  14. One of the reasons that i travel is because it helps me know myself better. Every time i travel alone i get to learn more about myself.

  15. Recently been to Croatia and absolutely loved the place! Spent a full day walking around Plitvice national park, what a beauty!
    Did a few places you’ve been to too but the night in an igloo seems amazing! Hope I have the opportunity to something like this soon!

  16. Absolutely spot on! I have so many friends who say they are happy to travel vicariously through us. I try to explain that reading about travel on the internet does not surprise you, challenge you, or help you become a better person. Maybe one of these experiences will get them out in the world instead of sitting behind a computer!

  17. Just ONE of those reasons are good enough for me. Jealous.
    I am in the midst of re-designing my life, to live a life of travel. Pumped. My desire to travel is so deep that it runs trough my DNA. I must travel earth! 🙂

  18. Hello there Savi & Vid! Been a while since I last ‘checked’ into bruised passports…but lovely to learn about your new pet project/living a new life philosophy – traveling the world full time! To re jig your memory, I’m the Mum/Entrepreneur who has been clocking in travels with my Daughter…she JUST turned 3 (her 38 trip and counting) and we bought it in with a 10 day trip to Maldives….had some friends fly in as well so it could not have been a more cozier or happier group – She was up with us every night, whether it was sitting on a hammock suspended over the ocean, or listening to faboulous music by this DJ at the SIx Senses, Laamu – her new vocab addition – whose the guy mixing music! Introduced her to the brilliant world of sea life – Plus the constant exposure she attains playing with kids of different nationalities, irrespective of language – all of the travels clearly reflecting in her individual, free spirited personality.
    We also revisited Soneva Kiri (recall my sea adventure of getting there?!) Clear skies so it was a private plane this time….rustic luxury at its best – the most awesome breakfast area, 42 kinds of home made ice creams – free any amount any time of the day! Should it be on your list while in Thailand, please do let me know – the General Manager is a dear friend and am sure would extend courtesies…
    We are now looking to relocate to a whole different country – to give our Daughter a true global perspective during her growing up years…

    In the meantime, wishing the both of you the safest travel time, unsurmountable happiness, memories to last beyond a lifetime…Happy festive Season ahead!

    1. Hey Rai,

      So nice to hear from you again 🙂 You are an inspiration to many people around the world for giving your daughter the best gift in this world – the gift of travel!

      Maldives sounds amazing – we were there last month and loved it!

      Relocating to a new place sounds great – it’ll be an amazing experience for you all, especially for your daughter. I think all kids should travel when they are going up, only to have a wider perspective on life if for nothing else 🙂

      Speak to you soon.

      Much love

  19. Fascinating recap guys. Poonam and I are about to resume our travels with Eva in tow. Will try to note some of your recommendations. Life is short, but got to do it all!
    Stay happy and amazed.

  20. I recently came back from the Leh-Ladakh road trip and it was really amazing which inspired me to look for new places. After i read your blog i feel enthusiastic to travel around the world. Thanks for sharing your experiences, a travel lover will find everything in here. Great work !!

    1. That’s awesome Amit – so great to know you enjoyed yourself in Ladakh 🙂 So happy to hear you enjoy reading Bruised Passports

  21. So inspiring!! I am a doctor with a penchant for writing and traveling and wahlaahh you guys do it with such aplomb and pizazz!! Way to go! Will definitely stay tuned

  22. I can’t get enough of this article. Very beautiful and inspiring and every time I read, I almost get emotional for some reasons which are beyond words. Thanks…😊

  23. So perfect in every sense! I m just glad I gotta chance to see the plitvice lakes in Croatia last year or be on top.of table mountain in Cape Town in 2016!! Its just something I didn’t imagine I would do when I started visiting countries and that’s what makes travel so special! Husband and I are making a trip to London and Dublin next week… looking forward to it like never before!😃 Cheers!

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