My dear Readers,
this will be my last post for the forseeable future. I am putting Olfactoria’s Travels on hiatus, if it will be a permanent one, only time can tell.
Let me explain.
Five years ago, on October 30 2010, I posted for the first time. A lot has happened since then. It has become clear to many of you, that my heart is no longer in this endeavour and as sad as I find this, it is what it is and I have to go with it. After my summer travels, I found it hard to return to writing. Initially this was because of a vicious troll who found an apparently satisfying pastime in haunting me, critisizing me, my writing, my looks, even my children (isn’t that the pits, or what!?), so I felt the need to retreat from the online world as much as possible. I wanted to talk to nobody I couldn’t see with my own eyes and felt threatened by the entire virtual life. Then as time went on (and the troll went on trolling somewhere else), I found I felt relieved not having to post. The guilt and the relief fought for dominance in my mind and week after week, relief won and I kept my silence.
Perfume, which has taken such a dominant place in my life for a big part of these past five years, had also forcibly taken a backseat thanks to my asthma, so I felt at a loss what to write, how to connect with you. And when I look back, it has all been about connection. Perfume was the vehicle, but we bonded over the personal things. When I read a blog, I do so because of the person behind it, less important is the theme he or she writes about. I think that was the case here on OT for many of you as well. And despite the wonderful and much appreciated work of Tara and Portia, my congenial partners in crime, I know that OT is no longer the place it used to be. So there could be only one consequence…
I thought for the longest time that stopping the blog would be a huge declaration of failure. But then I had the idea that everything comes to an end, absolutely everything (not the most original of ideas, I know, I’m no philosopher! ;) ). And when it does, it doesn’t negate what has already been done. When a book is written, it is no failure to stop writing, when a mountain is climbed it is not a failure to go back down. There are over a thousand reviews on this blog and they won’t go away. I wrote them and while some are good, some are okay and some are abysmal, I still did them and that I can be proud of. This blog was a labour of love for a long time, now it makes no sense to keep it forcibly alive when the love has moved on.
Now for the truly sappy part – but it has to be said, because the truth is sometimes sappy: I couldn’t have done it without you. From the start, a tight band of perfume friends have formed and congregated in the comments every day, some moving on, others coming in to fill their places. I never felt alone, writing for a void, because there was no void, there was a lively place full of laughter and wit and deep thoughts and shallow cravings and intelligent conversations.
I want to thank a few people especially since they made an impact on OT and helped it launch and flourish. In the early days the fact that the admirable Victoria of Bois de Jasmin and Marina of Perfume Smellin’ Things took the time to read and comment almost every day was wonderful. They brought a lot of readers with them of course, but the most important thing for me was their validation of what I was doing, since I really didn’t know what it was I was doing in the beginning.
As OT grew, I saw that I needed more voices to take some pressure off me and to make things more interesting, to add new perspectives and other tastes into the mix. Some wrote regularly and often, others passed through. I thank them all from the bottom of my heart. It was an honour to have you, Sandra, Michael, Lady Jane Grey, Val The Cookie Queen, Alex, Jordan River and the absolutely wonderful, gifted Neil of The Black Narcissus. (I possibly may have overlooked someone, if so, I’m sorry, I’m a bit emotional right now and not to be relied on for accuracy…)
But of course my two main contributors and holders of the staff in the past months were Tara and Portia. I hope they know how important they are and how much I love them. Both also want to say goodbye today.
Let’s hear from Tara first:
It’s no over-exaggeration to say that landing here on OT for the first time, via Google one fortuitous day in early 2011 changed my life.
Birgit’s superlative writing instantly resonated with me. So much so that I immediately left a comment which was not something I was accustomed to doing at the time. B wrote eloquent, evocative reviews (in a language which is not her own) and they connected with people around the globe.
Birgit was also the first person from Perfumeland I met in “real life” and my previously hermit-like existence exploded outwards from there. She was the one who thought I could write about perfume when I genuinely didn’t think I could. She shared her blog with me and this year, her city, home and wonderful family too. I feel very lucky that our paths crossed.
Olfactoria’s Travels has been a very special place for me. Not just because of B and my fellow bloggers, but because of the many consistently engaging and well-informed readers. This is an amazing community and I know that the friendships we’ve made will continue to be active, even if the blog is not.
So instead of saying good-bye, I want to end by saying a heartfelt thank you to Birgit and everyone else who’s shared this journey for any part of these five fantastic years.
And some lovely words and music from Portia:
Hi Olfactoria’s Travelers,
You will be missed. How lucky I have been to get to write for the person who inspired me to start APJ? How much fun it’s been meeting and conversing with you all and so many friends I’ve made and met throughout the frag world because of Olfactoria’s Travels. What an amazing place Birgit created and I will miss our time together each fortnight, but also I will miss the coming and reading Tara, Sandra, Birgit and their unique and interesting takes on scent, and life perspectives. In honour of our parting I am wearing Guerlain’s Shalimar vintage parfum and modern EdP, nothing feels more ceremonial, tragic and beautiful than the love story of Shah Jahan for his shop girl turned queen and the farewell that nearly bankrupted his country.
Here is a song that says it better than I ever could.
Gladys Knight – So Sad The Song
Life is change, move with it.
Wishing you all a fragrant life filled with fun and laughter,
Thank you, Tara and Portia for your time, effort, these lovely words today and most of all your friendship, which will certainly survive the end of the blog.
So, my dear readers, here we are now. Before you leave, a few words on the past five years, since this is the blog’s birthday too after all. A few stats for the numerically inclined among you (Hey, Undina!): The blog has had 1 950 194 views, 50 730 comments and 1354 posts have been published. We had some very successful series of posts, like The Monday Question, People In Perfumeland, The Vanilla Series by Neil or Perfume Around The World. I will hopefully get it together in the next weeks to sort through the archives and organize everything a bit better, making things easier to find. Despite the hiatus, I hope OT will still be used by those who want to read up on a specific perfume.
Last but surely not least, The Husband says goodbye too. He wants you to know that he immensely enjoyed his status as The Husband and having his own little band of fans. Nowadays he is the one who won’t go away for a few days without his decants, how times have changed… :)
If you made it this far, in this long post, over the past five years, I am thankful and happy having been able to be your host here on OT. I will miss you all.
Somewhere the flower of farewell is blooming.
Endlessly it yields its pollen, which we breathe.
Even in the breeze of this beginning hour we breathe farewell.
Rainer Maria Rilke