Tattoos are not something I take lightly. I’m not the type of person who would walk into a tattoo studio and pick something out of a flip book or off the wall. There’s nothing wrong with doing it that way and I know plenty of people who have but, personally, if something is going to be with me for the rest of my life, it has to mean more…
I got my first (and, up until now, only) tattoo on the day I turned 19. It was supposed to be my 18th birthday but in some (rare) sensible moment, I didn’t think I was quite ready, or 100% sure of the design I wanted. I’ll not share my first tattoo or the reason behind it here because it’s both personal in meaning and in location (and no, it’s not a rude one…minds out of the gutter people!) but I still love everything about it…especially the fact that I sketched the original idea.
Getting another tattoo has been something I’ve thought about ever since, but I knew it would have to mean just as much as the first. Last summer, when I visited the Pacific Northwest and fell completely in love with Portland, I’d talked about getting a small Portland Rose (it is, after all, the City of Roses) but I realised that, especially over the past few years, I’ve fallen in love with so many places, and above all – travelling, that only focusing on one place didn’t seem right.
I started looking into traditional navigation and compass style tattoos and began to get a picture in my head of something that would not only mark my previous travels but also act as a reminder anytime I felt like my direction was a little less than clear (which seems to be quite a lot) that there are many more journeys to come. I decided I still wanted the Portland Rose to play a part and when I eventually found a simple, clean-lined rose that I loved, I began sketching out ways to incorporate it into the design too.
In the end, I took my research images into the awesome guys at Lab Monkey in Stirling, where Soap (yes, that is his name) listened to me ramble about what I wanted, convinced me I should go slightly bigger and then sent me away so he could sketch it all up. I didn’t see his design until the night of my appointment and I was feeling slightly nervous about what it might turn out like but I shouldn’t have been worried…it was exactly what I had been imagining.
On Valentine’s Day night, when I’m sure most normal people were enjoying some form of romantic plans with their other half, I was getting inked. It took barely twenty minutes (and only a little pain) for Soap to finish the tattoo, and another five seconds for me to jump off the bed, look in the mirror and realise that it was perfect.
It also happened to be my 26th Birthday-eve, making the timing perfect – a new tattoo for the next year of my life…and I’m hoping it’ll be a year which leaves me with a lot more Travellin’ Tales to tell.
Do you have a travel inspired tattoo? Or are you thinking of getting one? Share your thoughts and pictures in the comments below!