Tuesday, February 11, 2014

On Travel Tattoos

Warning:  Potentially offensive towards people I actually know in real life.  Sorry.

I'm pro-tattoos.  I'm pro-travel.  So why am I against travel themed-tattoos?  Well, to be fair, I'm only against a specific type.  The world map tattoo, colored in or otherwise marked, to indicate where the bearer has traveled.  At first, I thought this was a fantastic idea and I wanted it for myself, but now it has become a cliché (also, finally this awful French keyboard is coming in handy).

Recently I read an article on Laughing Squid about the above man, and the story is pretty self evident.  It's a great idea for a world traveller, but just as the article mentions he got the idea from someone else.  It isn't the first time I've heard of this particular tattoo idea either, nor will it be the last.  I'm sure if I wandered into almost any hostel in the world, I could find someone with dreams (or real ink) of this, or a similar, idea.  This tattoo has unfortunately become the infinity symbol, dreamcatcher, or anchor of the travel world, by which I mean it's overly done, and the most common thing you'll find on someone's body, if tattooed.  And yes, I do realiwe this incriminates me as unoriginal as well, I have an anchor tattoo on my ankle.

I'm interested to see how this trend plays out in my world travels.  I think it's very cool to show off where you've been and your life experiences through ink, but I also can't imagine how sad I would be if I started this tatto and then didn't get to fill it in as much as I would hope.  You'd have to be seriously committed to have the map you want, and I've only visited 8 countries.  The guy above has visited 40.

I like other travel tattoos, but I prefer them to be uniquely tailored to the wearer's experience.  For example, I know someone who has the coordinates of a spot that changed her life, along with the constellation that often guided her wilderness experience group.  That I find to be remarkable.  It's something maybe only a few people in the whole world can relate to, and has special meaning.

What are your views on travel tattoos? 

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