"The desert is unpredictable, enigmatic. One minute you will be smelling dust. The next, the desert can smell just like the rain." (Gary Nabham - The Desert Smells Like the Rain)
Continuing the journey where you can see a never ending horizon and feel the breeze of freedom on the face I will share a secret with you. Although I am a super urban person, I have two passions - taking a road challenge and deserts.
Believe it or not my dream trip is to hit the road on a Hippie Trail.
For those of you who are not familiar with the Hippie Trail or The Overland we need to go back in time. It was journeys that youngsters took during the 60's and early 70's, from Europe to India, Nepal and beyond, usually in an old Volkswagen vain, by train, by bus or hitchhiking. 7.000 miles in the lowest budget possible, meeting other adventurers and interacting with locals at each stop.
Hippies trails were taken so young people could scape from conventional lifestyles, feel the freedom, be enlighten, "go native" (as in be naked and natural) and smoke weed. A lot of weed.
The classic hippie trail ended in 1979 when the Slamic Revolution in Iran and the invasion of Afghanistan by the Russians closed the overland route to western travellers.
Alternative tourism is my thing. Feeling the wind on my face and driving long hours to meet the horizon is also me. I would never take a trip on a cruise or with those annoying tourist guides. I like to mingle with locals, take my time, sip a cup of their coffee and listen to their stories. To know a country is to know the people, the culture.
But I am no hippie. I like to shower and eat good food. I would never think of Afghanistan...I have taken trips to deserts in Israel thou.
For your surprise I was always the one driving the car or the van. I drove along the Incense Trail, the Negev, the Judaean desert...so beautiful, but so f.hot. One have weird experiences such as mirages and other visions. The heat simply takes over your brain and you literally trip out from it...
The hippie style dream trail to me would be cross the entire USA in an a van, specially and conquer its deserts. I dream of sitting nowhere in the desert, listening to good music and just do nothing besides watching the sundown.
I would simply love to take route 66; smell creosotes in the Mojave desert on route 247; smell the green watery scent of cactuses; the mushroom-y odor of Joshua trees blooming; the herbaceous scent of sage, the resinous woody christmas-y smell of pine; the earthy, mineral and dusty smell of sand and dirt...
Well, my dream will not come true in the near future so I decided to put up a list list of fragrances that best describe the smells of the desert and get us in the Hippie vintage adventurous mood. I will be an olfactory journey or a Scent journal of a Hippie Trail.
Needless to say that sandalwood and patchouli were the favs of hippies. It is said that hippies used patchuli to desguise the smell of marijuana and the BO and sour body odors because they didn't take showers.
Although I am not into hippie scents, patchouli is one of my most beloved scents after iris. Click on the link and you will have many fragrances reviews with all kids of patchouli based fragrances and a huge list of options!
If you want a complete hippie experience, be my guest with MALIN + GOETZ CANNABIS PERFUME OIL (Notes of fig, pepper, orange, lemon, sandalwood and patchouli).
For a original hippie patchouli fragrance of the 70's experience with ingredients of the overland you should try INOUBLIABLE ELIXIR PATCHOULI BY REMINISCENSE. Launched in the seventies, it was reissued in 2007.(Notes of virginian cedar, patchouli from Java, Haitian vetiver, Australian sandalwood, frankincense, vanilla from Madagascar, tonka, tolu and light musk.
Now you got yourself into the hippie mood, let's hit the road!
Our journey starts with LARREA EDP by LA CURIE, a fragrance inspired by the southwest rainstorms, where dust encounters rain. Notes of Chaparral, musk, petrichor, ozone, leather). Open the window and feel a whiff of desert there right into our noses!
As we travel deeper into the desertic landscape we stop the car and start to explore the trails with EL COSMICO EDP by D.S & DURGA (notes of desert shrubs, desert pepper, pinyon pine, creosote, oak, khella, dry accord and shrub wax) and PURPLE SAGE by Perfumes of the Desert.
MOJAVE GHOST EDP BY BYREDO is an ode to the ghost flower of the Mojave desert - the mohavea confertiflora.(Notes of ambrette, sapodilla, violet, sandalwood, magnolia, ambergris and cedar). Although many fragrance reviewers are saying it is not really special, I had to list it because it tells a desertic story in the Mojave landscape!
For cactus fragrances we have some options such as PRICKLY PEAR (Opuntia fragrance) and SAGUARO CACTUS (Saguaro fragrance) COLOGNES BY DEMETER.
Although FRIDA EDP BY ENVOYAGE is a fragrance celebrates artist Frida Kahlo it contains a very greeny watery scent of cactus that made me think of deserts when I first tried the sample sent by the perfumer. (Notes of apricot, watermelon, peach, lemon, fruity and green notes, tuberose, hibiscus, cactus flower, champaca, ylang, gardenia, jasmine, woody notes, sugar, oakmoss, aldehydes, myrrh, olibanum, copal, tobacco, green pepper, amber and musk. I also want to point out that while making the trip to the the Negev in Israel Shelly Waddington was always on my mind. Specially MAKEDA EDP, but mostly for historical reasons, but it is worth reading the review...
and if we are already going a little bit aside MOON DUST EDP by MIN NY is supposed to be inspired by the smell of the moon. If you read my review you will find out that there are conspiracies saying that actually it was a hoax shooted in the Nevada desert. So probably the smell of the moon is the same of the desert dirt... Worth reading, worth sampling.
Back to California, we will stop the van because it is getting dark and we are tired and hungry. It is time to sit around the fire, barbecue, tell spooky stories and wrap ourselves in a cozy Indian blanket that we bought when mingling with the locals. I can't think of a better olfative translation than Californian fragrance FIRESIDE INTENSE EDP BY SONOMA SCENT STUDIO ( click HERE for a complete review)
More desert hippie trail experiences:
Joshua Tree Candle by Michael Aram
Mojave Soy Candle by P.F. Candle Co.
I had to finish with a good laugh! Since hippies did not bath, I bring you the B.O. Wheel !!