Travel Tattoos Collaborative Photo Essay

We love being on the road. We love tattoos. If you do too, this post is for you. I asked some of fellow travel bloggers to show my readers their travel related tattoos and tell the stories behind them. Are you ready to get inspired?

Jeff of Latitude 34

I always wanted a tattoo when I was younger but never found the perfect thing to get done. After living in Thailand and traveling around SE Asia I wanted to get something to remind me of my time there without it being cheesy or cliche, it had to be unique.

While traveling in Cambodia I met an elderly man who had fought in the war against Pol Pot and lost his leg. He never learned to read or write because he was fighting instead of going to school. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind writing the lyrics to one of my favorite songs which I thought fitting. With the help of his friends he wrote the words “I will not fear what I don’t understand” and “What I am to be I know become”. I knew immediately that was the tattoo that I wanted, and as soon as I returned to Los Angeles I had the words placed in my chest, as my first tattoo.

Since then I have added a Thai eagle underneath his words which stands as a symbol of my love for the Thai people and a reminder of some of the best memories in my life.

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Anna of The Legendary Adventures of Anna
Getting a travel tattoo has been a dream of mine for a long time but it has been a challenge to integrate the theme of travel into a tattoo. The things I love most about travel are of course taking photos, but also meeting new people, having new experiences, connecting with different cultures and the overwhelming sense of freedom I gain from doing what I love. These are all difficult things to capture in a tattoo. After some time, I came across the quote “she flies with her own wings” which I felt encompassed all of those intangibles. I had those words added to a world map and had the artist color the map as if it had been splatter painted with a rainbow of colors. There are also some simple bird silhouettes within the map. It’s very me and I love it!

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Anna of Anna Everywhere

I got this tattoo in August 2013 while studying in a small town of Leiden in the Netherlands. It’s my second tattoo. I also have a rose in my ankle that I got in Toronto for my 18th birthday.

I can’t say my second tattoo was spontaneous, because I have been planning on getting it for a while. I created my own design of a hummingbird and decided to put it on my side. Why? It might sound cheesy, but people love hummingbirds even tho they are tiny. For me it’s like a symbol of significance in a big world.


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Twitter: of Weirs World

There are many reasons to get a tattoo and there are equally as many reasons not to get one. Never mind when you’re away from home, getting caught up in the moment of travelling and experiencing new things and people. It can be a very influential time in your life and many people wish to mark this moment in time with a ‘memento’ you can’t buy in a souvenir shop. Something more meaningful (and sometimes without meaning in a drunken decision) that serves as a reminder of your time somewhere, the people of the place and/ or a particular feeling that stirred strong emotions within yourself at the time.

This is my tattoo abroad story:

I visited Thailand in 2006 (shortly after the tsunami that destroyed it) and at the time many of the islands had been smashed and destroyed. When I visited the whole place seemed to be in a state of repair, with locals scurrying everywhere while tourists laid about and partied the nights away on the tropical islands. Koh Phi Phi was one that captured my imagination in particular and seeing the people there work through the days, fixing up their houses, huts, restaurants and the like with such a happy-go-lucky attitude to life, was really moving for me. Their smiles each day as I greeted them and their seemingly never ending positive attitude really stuck with me. It was then talking to a local one day, when he mentioned a word ‘Sanuk’ – a thai phrase which embodied positive living, joking around whenever possible and smiling through the painful parts in life to make them seem more bearable!! I also liked the idea of a traditional thai bamboo tattoo, supposedly they last longer, stay clearer, heal quicker and bleed less during tattooing – all true so far!!

My second trip to Thailand was linked to a break from my crazy life that I was leading, living in the extreme’s with both work and my social life. Partying all weekend, working hard all week and sleeping and eating somewhere in between was taking it’s toll and despite being a fun way to live, I thought it wasn’t much sustainability to it and this trip to Thailand should be the beginning of a more rounded, balanced person. I decided that I would choose 2 english words that would allow me to do this and remind me to live my life in these ways. I chose ‘Balance’ and ‘Energy’ and thought these would link nicely with ‘Sanuk’ to remind me to live a happily, balanced, positive life with energy. Cheesy maybe? You decide but it means a lot to me and is a constant reminder of how I want to keep living my life.

Finally, after my second trip through Central America and more specifically my time spent in Costa Rica…a phrase that permeates through the people and their lifestyles here is… yup you guessed it ‘Pura Vida’ or simply ‘Pure Life’. I’m certainly not the only person who feels this way and this is a fairly common tattoo to have amongst people who have been moved by this part of the world. It’s an infectiously positive place and the people (on the whole) embody this phrase. I thought I would try do something different with this and came up with the ambigram idea to have this tattoo but in a different way. An ambigram, if you weren’t sure, is a word that reads the same no matter which way you read it – upside down or right way up!

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Zof of The Picktures
I got my very first tattoo during my very first trip to Armenia, a country that I came to love. It took me two weeks to decide I wanted to move to Yerevan. If you follow this blog, you know that I one day last July I finally made it. The courage was everything I needed and I got it. On my left foot. In Armenian. Now I can look at it every single time I’m stepping out of my comfort zone. Also, isn’t the Armenian script the prettiest?

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Which travel tattoo is you favorite? Do you have one? Would you like to get one?

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