I often get asked on Instagram, "How did you start with car fragrances?" So, I took a moment to reflect on my automotive journey, and this blog post shares my story.
It's as if my very DNA had an inbuilt map leading me to the thrill of car racing, on tarmac or amidst the unyielding sands of the desert. As a kid, I found my thrills in the virtual world, racking up countless hours in games like Grand Turismo and Need for Speed. But everything shifted the day my dad brought home a go-kart, a gift for spending a week building a large garden. From that moment, I first tasted the intoxicating thrill of being at the helm of real, raw speed, and I was hooked. I'd mash the pedal to the metal down the dusty lane we called home, round off with a spectacular series of donuts, just out of sight of parental eyes. Until, inevitably, the neighbors ratted me out for my “recklessness.” If they could only see how I drive my TRX today…
Sunday mornings were about searching through the newspaper for the glossy dealership ads. At that age, my vehicular fantasies switched between a Pontiac Firebird Trans AM WS6, a lifted Dodge Dakota and the usual suspects: a Ferrari, Lambo, and an Aston Martin. "I'll have my own parking lot one day," I'd vow to the silent stacks of papers.
While my parents were shopping for groceries, I'd sneak away to the magazine aisle. Naturally, I would glance at the fashionably clad cover models, but my real target was duPont Registry, a premier magazine boasting the most impressive cars on the market. After that, my attention would pivot to Fortune, along with a variety of other business publications, searching for potential concepts to fund the dream of my automotive empire. Fortune or Inc. once ran an advert about kick-starting a party rental business. Given our family's frequent need for renting bounce houses, I proposed the idea to my parents, only to be shot down.
Time flew by and, five years on, I found myself packing for college. Not because I was thrilled by the prospects of higher education, but because I felt a sense of obligation. No one in my family had ever graduated college. Despite the siren song of entrepreneurship ever present in my heart, I caved to what was "normal" at that time.
As I was finishing my final year in college, I found myself grappling with the reality of joining the workforce, even though every fiber of my being screamed against it. Having someone breathe down my neck, dictating my every move, was never my cup of tea. But, if I was going to do it, I wanted to work for a car company.
Given that I was in Michigan, I had a few viable options. I scored interviews with the big boys – GM and Ford. Ford made a lasting impression during one of their interviews. They threw me in a GT500, its supercharger singing a high-pitched chorus, tires protesting as we carved around corners, even a brief moment of weightlessness as the car took a bump a little too fast for the controllers' comfort.
GM, on the other hand, decided to go the corporate route, treating me to an upscale dinner at their towering HQ's apex. I couldn't shake the boredom, and I'm fairly certain I nodded off at one point. The vision of a future at Ford, with the tantalizing prospect of racing at the test track whenever I pleased, steadily solidified in my mind.
Ford won my allegiance, and as a token of my newfound employment, I brought home the brand-new 2010 Mustang GT. Its fresh-off-the-lot status made me one of the first lucky owners of the new model. Despite my lack of experience with manual transmissions – a grand total of one prior encounter – I decided that’s what I wanted. The first drive from the dealership was an improvisational learning curve, which, to my surprise, felt natural. I loved every second of it.
The roaring power, the aroma of new leather, and the sleek, freshly redesigned silhouette of the car filled me with a euphoria I could equate to an addictive high. It became my first obsession with a car. I can also vouch for the speedometer reading that capped at 150mph, having visited that adrenaline-pumping mark more times than I can remember.
Despite the boundless joy my Mustang brought me, the drag of the daily grind at Ford began to paint my mood with shades of misery. The management was so entrenched in their archaic ways that innovation seemed an alien concept. The icing on the cake was when my manager said I was spending too much time at drive events located at the track. This was why I accepted the job so, when I was told to cut back, I decided I would quit on my one year anniversary. And that I did.
I decided to refocus my energies on entrepreneurship, returning to the party rental business idea I had as a teen. It grew pretty quickly, leading me to sell it off when I relocated to Chicago to scale up my newly created marketing agency. Fast forward a few years, and I was making serious headway, inching closer to my dream of that coveted parking lot.
To cut a long story short, a day came when I found myself confronting an emotional void. My life had become an endless pursuit of multiplying my fortunes, yet happiness eluded me. It was then I decided to liquidate everything, purchasing a one-way ticket to Tokyo.
For a year, I let the world be my classroom, navigating different cultures and landscapes, while undertaking the monumental task of self-discovery. It was as draining as it was exhilarating, but undoubtedly, it was the most significant adventure I've had to date.
I returned a transformed man, my worldview refreshed, and my approach to life drastically altered. Yet, I wasn't quite ready to settle into the humdrum of apartment life. The lure of exploration still held me in its sway, prompting me to continue my journey across the US, this time in an RV. That way, I could continue my wanderlust while having a place to call home.
My new mobile lifestyle necessitated a reliable towing vehicle. Fortune intervened as I chanced upon a Ram dealership at just the right time. There, a sleek black truck, unlike any I'd seen before, caught my eye. I'd always had a soft spot for Dakotas in my younger years, but the Ram, up until then, hadn't particularly appealed to me. However, the updated 2019 design was a game-changer.
From then on, my life revolved around my RV and my newfound Ram. A full year of cross-country exploration awaited me, punctuated by stays in breathtaking locales, but also some grungy campgrounds, Walmart parking lots and some questionable rest stops. While my need for speed remained unchanged, my Ram morphed into something more - it was home. It became a consistent comfort in my unpredictable, nomadic existence.
A full year of RV living later, I felt ready to relinquish my mobile abode. I had gleaned the lessons I sought, and clarity dawned about my self-identity and my path ahead.
One important insight that emerged during my global exploration without a vehicle was my inherent need to drive. I'd rented motorbikes in Asia, but nothing quite compared to the intimacy of a car. My passion for vehicles was never in question, but when I was stripped bare of all possessions, the absence of driving struck a poignant note. It was more than an interest; it was an irreplaceable part of my existence.
I decided that, moving forward, driving would hold a pivotal place in my life, as a hobby, and more than that, as a lifeline. I recognized that my joy was inextricably tied to the time I spent behind the wheel.
The RV was eventually sold, but my affection for the Ram remained unchanged. A year on, the joy of firing up the Hemi engine with a simple push-start still held a special charm for me. Sure, I craved speed, but at that point, the sheer pleasure of driving was more than enough.
Then I heard whispers of the TRX. The mere description sounded like my dream come true - a versatile truck built for off-road escapades yet infused with the raw acceleration of a sports car. When it was finally unveiled, the need to possess one was instantaneous.
But I checked this impulse. I made a pact with myself - if I felt the need to buy one after a year, I would give in. I didn't want to lapse back into my old pattern of impulsive acquisitions.
During the year-long waiting period, my attraction for the TRX did nothing but intensify. I consumed every reel, devoured every YouTube video that even remotely featured it. The first time I encountered one in the wild, I was so enthralled that I impulsively trailed it.
Despite my resolution to refrain from acquisitions, this felt different. I'd become a minimalist in many ways - settling for six-dollar shirts from Target, rarely dining out, and leveraging rewards for air travel. But my two-year long, globe-trotting odyssey had underscored the value of experiences.
When I finally bought the TRX, I was not merely purchasing a vehicle. I was investing in an experience, a profound journey that went beyond material possession. It was about fueling my passion for driving.
The very moment that door closes, and I press the start button - this time with a supercharged Hemi - it's as if I flip a switch in my mood. The primal growl of the exhaust kicks in as I shift into drive, instantly setting the tone. Being in a parking garage, I roll the window down a notch, letting the defiant roar of the TRX reverberate around me. It brings a smile to my face, every single time.
Any excuse to take it out for a spin, and I'm game. Long drives to the mountains top my list as they allow me to explore the truck's range of capabilities. From the hum of the highway to mountain switchbacks, from winding trails to nowhere to impromptu stoplight duels against unsuspecting motorists, every ride is an exhilarating chapter in my TRX chronicle.
I often joke with friends about the therapeutic nature of the TRX, but there's more truth to it than not. I've experienced conventional therapy, and, to be honest, nothing heals me quite like time spent with my TRX.
Once the true essence of what mattered to me became clear, the fixation on wealth began to fade. Instead, my perspective shifted towards deriving joy from the process itself. I curated a daily routine aimed at sustaining a consistent level of happiness, as opposed to constantly pursuing grand objectives.
A pivotal part of this routine is, without a doubt, my interaction with automobiles. Be it maneuvering my TRX, creating content, or engaging in passionate exchanges with other enthusiasts, my life gravitates significantly around the universe of driving.
Fragrances also take a central role in my life, wielding power over my moods and imprinting indelible marks on my memories. Each scent in my collection is a tangible reminiscence of a place I've visited, a vivid olfactory snapshot that transports me back in time. Travel, after all, was the catalyst that sparked my shift in perspective and steered me towards the path of sustainable joy. Each aroma, therefore, carries profound significance, a sweet-scented token of transformative journeys etched into my very essence.
For some reason, my fascination for fragrances and my deep-rooted obsession with automobiles remained in separate spheres of my life, until a pivotal moment. When the new car scent in my TRX went away, a realization dawned upon me - it was time to merge these two cardinal elements of my life. The olfactory sense, an incredible power we wield, remains an interesting study. I delve into numerous applications of scents on my blog, "Science Makes Scents", yet for this particular post, my emphasis lies with driving.
Scents, I discovered, elevate the very fabric of any experience, and driving is not exempt from this rule. Subtle by nature, the auto fragrance introduces an elevated nuance to the driving experience, just enough for both you and your passengers to register. There's a fascinating aspect to incorporating fragrance into your driving regimen. Imagine using the same fragrance in your car for a month, and then applying the same scent as cologne, soap, lotion or any other application outside of your vehicle. This triggers what I term 'drive feelings', an inexplicably pleasant mood, at least for me.
The auto fragrances I offer are not designed as a camouflage for odorous vehicles. Rather, they are intended to supplement the clean, neutral aroma I maintain in my truck. The auto fragrance offers a mild, enjoyable scent that enhances the driving experience you already relish. It's a far cry from those products that obliterate your senses, leaving passengers on the brink of fainting from the overbearing potency.
I know that this product will enhance the driving experience for many, but if for some reason you don't love it, send it back for a full refund. If you're like me, your car is a big part of your life and the driving experience is something you look forward to. If my scents hinder that experience at all, I'd feel bad.
Please reach out to me through email or on Instagram to tell me about your car story or how you use scents to improve the driving experience.