Travel-Inspired Tattoos

I spent 29 years on Planet Earth without ever getting a tattoo. Then, in March of this year, I took the plunge. Why? Well, for me, I was finally inspired to get inked because I had an idea that was special to me. It connected me to set of memories that I never wanted to lose and had a unique personal story involving two amazing trips that I had taken.

On the inside of my left forearm I have my last name tattooed in Hindi. While traveling to India twice in 2007, I had learned that my last name (pronounced baarish in Hindi) meant rainfall. And both times that I went, despite the fact that it was not monsoon season, it poured in Delhi. The running joke amongst my Indian coworkers and friends was that I had brought the rain with me.

Immediately, I knew that I wanted to get baarish tattooed somewhere on my body. I had several of my Indian friends in Delhi and in the States write the word on paper for me (I did not want any misspellings, or worse, a completely different word tattooed by mistake). I debated where on my body to get it, what tattoo parlor to go to and whether I should try to get back to India to have it done there.

It took me a year to gather up the nerve to get inked. Now I wonder why I waited so long. My tattoo is an incredible reminder of two amazing trips to my favorite country in the world. It immediately stirs up memories of friends, places, foods, smells and experiences. And it’s my family name, in which I take a great deal of pride.

I almost got another trip-inspired tattoo this past spring. That story is less sentimental and more comical. Though it could have been tragic. While out in Osaka, Japan one night, after several sakes and Yebisu beers, my friends and I met up with a tattoo artist. He introduced us to his friends and showed us their studio. In my drunken stupor, I actually thought it would be a novel idea to get a tattoo of the Yebisu logo. Thankfully, the studio was closing and no one was available to do the job. I dodged a bullet on that one!

Have any trips motivated you to get inked? Have you gotten a tattoo while on a trip? Do you regret that shamrock on your lower back that was inspired by a few too many pints of Guinness? Share in the comments.