My Travel Tattoos

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It’s no secret, I love tattoos. I love looking at them, and I love getting them. What do I love even more? Travel tattoos. Each time I got a new tattoo I felt the need to include them in a new post… But, that would have resulted in a lot of new posts. So, I present to you, My Travel Tattoos:

 

World Map 

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WHERE:

Sacred Heart Tattoo, Vancouver.

WHY:

Travel, Map obsession, Geography.

STORY:

I had just travelled across Canada by train with my best friend and arrived in Vancouver just in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics. My friend and I decided it was the perfect occasion to get tattoos. I was in the process of completing my University degree in geography, and have always had an extraordinary obsession with maps. This is my favourite tattoo.

 

Compass Rose

WHERE:

Immortal Impressions, Keswick, Ontario.

WHY:

Travel, Geography, Match with world map.

STORY:

It’s the only tattoo I have that I’m not particularly pleased with, as the artist made it much darker than I had asked for, but I still like it. It goes as a set with the world map that is on the other wrist.

 

Sak Yant Bamboo Tattoo

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WHERE:

Wat Bang Phra, Thailand.

STORY:

After a comically arduous journey from Bangkok involving a taxi, van, bus and a motorbike for three, I arrived at Wat Bang Phra to receive a bamboo tattoo from a Monk. The monk that tattoos you decides what design to give you and where it will be placed on your body, without any consultation or warning. I ended up with a Hah Taew design on my left shoulder blade, which displays five rows of magical spells for protection, good luck, love, fortune and success.

 

GPS Coordinates

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WHERE:

Dawg Pound Tattoo, Niagara Falls, Ontario.

WHY:

Travel, Geography, GIS specialization, Personal.

STORY:

The coordinates specify two locations:

42°56’35″N   80°17’31″W  —  The place that I grew up. 40°41’29″N   16°42’57″E  —  The first place that I ever travelled; Italy.

I specialized in GIS (Geographic information systems) in University and chose two places that mean something to me.

 

Feather

WHERE:

Inner Vision Tattoo, Sydney, Australia.

WHY:

Travel, Personal, Quote.

STORY:

I had been going back and forth between the idea of an airplane or a feather, for the same underlying theme; travel. It represents my favourite quote (which I might still get done somewhere else);

I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth, then I ask myself the same question.

It does have one last personal meaning to me. Ooh, mysterious :p

 

Wanderlust

WHERE:

Paradise Tattoo + Piercing, Helsinki, Finland.

WHY:

Travel, Finnish “souvenir”.

STORY:

Obviously, I’ve got a big case of wanderlust and when I’m not already travelling, I spend my days dreaming of exploring the world. My mother encouraged me to get a tattoo while I was in Finland, and so I did.

Notice the blue “t” on the end of the word. It mimics the blue cross of the Finnish flag. It is the only coloured tattoo that I have.

 

Passport Stamps

WHERE:

Seven Crowns Tattoo, Toronto, Ontario.

WHY:

Travel, Personal.

STORY:

I wanted something to represent each of my family members. The elephant is for my mother, the fish is for my father and the owl is for my sister. These are all animals that I associate with them and it made sense for me. The animals are all emerging from roses which are surrounded by passport stamps. I’m not a big fan of flowers, but this helped me choose roses. The passport stamps are scanned directly from my passportand are from my previous travels. I personally love the reaction I get from fellow travellers no matter where I am. I’ve spent hours talking with perfect strangers after they spotted the Turkish passport stamp poking out on my shoulder.

Morgan at Seven Crowns will now be my go-to artist when I am at home in Toronto.

 

Hawaiian Islands

WHERE:

Island Ink, Paia, Maui.

WHY:

Travel, Love of Maui, Map obsession.

STORY:

During my first trip to Maui I fell in love with the Island. I was always quick to answer “Iceland” as the response to “What’s your favourite destination?”, but now it is tied with Maui. As someone who wants to explore every region of the world, it’s not often that one particular place is able to keep my attention. But, I know that Maui is one destination that I will frequently return to for the rest of my life. Going along with my map-obsessed theme, I decided to get the Hawaiian Islands outlined on the top of my foot before I left. I know that I will be headed back soon, and I already have a few ideas up my sleeve for some more Maui ink. Funnily enough, before I left I asked if they would give me a tiny black dot to represent Hawaii on my world map tattoo. They did.

 

Jim Morrison

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WHERE:

Tribo Tattoo, Prague, Czech Republic.

WHY:

Love for Morrison, Personal, Travel.

STORY:

I could probably go on for hours about how much Jim Morrison means to me and why I love him, but I’ll keep it simple. Thanks to my father, I got my first Doors album at the age of 11. I grew up listing to his music, but more than anything I adore his poetry and writing.

Above Jim is an edition to “The Soft Parade“;

There’s only four ways to get unraveled, one is to sleep and the other is travel. One is a bandit up in the hills and one is to love your neighbour until his wife gets home.

Mine says;

There’s only two ways to get unraveled, one is to fly and other is travel. 

 

Airplane

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WHERE:

New Tribe Tattoo, Toronto.

WHY:

Travel.

STORY:

For the same reason behind all of my other travel ink, I’ve always wanted an airplane tattoo and have been planning to get one since around the same time that I got the map tattoo.

Eventually, I decided I would get it on my finger, but I spent nearly a year searching for a studio that would actually tattoo hands. I never pushed the issue–I know that artists do not like to do it, especially for people that are not already heavily tattooed.

Finally I found a studio in Toronto (good thing, as I will be needing a touch up in a few months) and couldn’t be happier.

 

 

Chief Seattle

Chief Seattle

WHERE:

MTL Tattoo, Montreal.

WHY:

Name, heritage.

STORY:

My name is Seattle and I was named after Chief Seattle (the same man that the city was named after). I was given this name because my Grandmother was Native Canadian, so I have always had a connection with the Native culture. My family would be considered part of the Cree tribes (from Alberta), but Chief Seattle (Sealth) was Chief of the Duwamish in Washington.

My favourite quote from Chief Seattle:

“Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints.”

 

 

Pura Vida

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WHERE:

Anchor’s End, Jaco, Costa Rica.

WHY:

Costa Rican souvenir, Earth Day, Turtle Rescuing.

STORY:

I had heard the saying “Pura Vida” before arriving in Costa Rica and thought it was a bit cheesy at first. In my mind, it was something that North Americans would adapt and try to sound cultured after a Costa Rican surf holiday. Within the first couple of days in the country I started to realize that it was used in regular conversation among the locals in replacement of hello, goodbye, no worries, a general acknowledgement and a response to how are you? After a month in the country, I even caught myself saying it a few times. It’s literal translation mean “Pure Life”, and in a country where nature, environment and a laid-back culture are more important than anything, it simply makes sense as the unofficial slogan of Costa Rica. So, when I decided to get a tattoo in Jaco, the idea didn’t take much thought.

Additionally, I got the tattoo on Earth Day, after a Sea Turtle rescuing trip with Contiki. It all felt like the perfect way to sum up my time in Costa Rica.

 

 

Kanji Calligraphy 

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WHY:

Japanese souvenir.

STORY:

I was given a hand painted Kanji calligraphy piece as a farewell gift when leaving Okinawa, Japan. The black script translates to “fly to Asia and remember Okinawa” and the red circles are the symbol of Okinawa (and is my second colour tattoo). I most certainly will remember this incredible little island, and this beautiful ink now lives permanently on my right rib cage.

 

My Tattoo Map

Blue = Where I’ve been tattooed
Green = Where I’d like to get tattooed

More Posts on Travel Tattoos on My Blog:

Getting Tattooed While Travelling
Travelling With Tattoos
Travel Tattoos
Getting Tattooed by a Buddhist Monk

My Articles about Travel Tattoos on other website:

12 Of My Travel Tattoos & the Stories Behind Them
Getting Tattooed by a Buddhist Monk

Getting Tattooed Around the World
Mistakes Travellers Make Getting a Tattoo

 

38 Responses to “My Travel Tattoos”

  1. Seattle Dredge
    August 6, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    Okay guys, I finally turned comments on for pages as of today! I’ve received well over three hundred emails regarding this page, so please feel free to leave your questions here for others to read over. You’ll save me from writing a lot of repeat emails 😀

    Of course, you can still email me if you don’t see your question/comment here.

    • Jono
      August 8, 2014 at 10:09 am #

      Hi Seattle, just wanted to say your blog is fantastic. I just need some advice, I am currently taking a Gap Year, which has been an incredibly eye-opening experience for me at the tender age of 18. I would love a tattoo of the coordinates of the country I am in, however, having discussed my plans with my parents, it is clear that they are not supportive, any ideas on how to deal with this?

      Thank you so much for your help, love your blogs!

      Jono

      • Seattle Dredge
        August 8, 2014 at 10:27 am #

        Hi Jono, glad you like the blog! You’re pretty brave to do a Gap Year at 18, what country are you in? I haven’t been in this situation myself, as my Mom often seems even more excited about my tattoos than I do, but I think you are in the same boat as the majority of young people. Legally, you can get as many tattoos as you like right now, but morally, you might want to reason with your parents a bit more. You could always agree to wait until you’re a bit older to get the same tattoo.. but try explaining to them that it just won’t have the same meaning to get those coordinates done outside of the country that they represent. Ensure them that it will be small, hold a deep meaning to you, and walk them through all of the steps that you’ll take to be sure that everything is clean and hygienic (asking to see the wrapped needle, reading reviews, etc.). Maybe mutually agree on a placement that is well hidden/tasteful. But, most importantly, tell them that you’ll ultimately agree to what they wish, that way they’ll feel that you’re truly taking their opinion into consideration, and perhaps begin to soften. In the end, I certainly wouldn’t advise going against their suggestions–but hey, it’s your body *shrugs* :]

        I added the coordinates of the place that I grew up/my parents house, which might have made them feel like a part of the tattoo (I also have other ones to represent my parents). My Mom actually likes explaining that one to friends! Could be an idea for you?

        • Jono
          August 8, 2014 at 10:55 am #

          Thank you for your quick response!! I’ve been in Spain for 7 months now, am here for another 5 months. Thank you for your brilliant advice, I will definitely put it to good use. Where do you think would be a good place for it to be situated, I myself would like to keep it reasonably private, as it holds a special personal meaning. That last part does sound like a great idea, our beach house which we’ve gone to for holidays since I was 4 practically symbolises my childhood, I think that would be a great addition!

          Once again, thank you for your quick and incredibly helpful advice!

          Jono.

          • Seattle Dredge
            August 8, 2014 at 11:11 am #

            No problem! That sounds awesome, I love Spain :] Anywhere that can be covered by shorts/sleeveless shirt is generally a good bet for hiding ink. Other spots could be back of neck, under arm, ribcage, or side of foot. Another option is to do it in a lighter colour of ink to make it less prominent, and perhaps a small font on your wrist or shoulder. Hopefully the beach house idea will make them a little more supportive! You’ve still got 5 months to make them come around, good luck and send a link to a photo if you end up getting it done 😀

    • Mara
      August 11, 2015 at 1:19 am #

      You should consider getting tattooed in Sarawak, Malaysia. The tribal tattoos MIGHT interest you 🙂 Love your tattoos!

  2. Laura Rubio
    October 8, 2014 at 2:51 am #

    I just loved all your tattoos and the stories behind them, but what i love the most is that you want to get one in my country, Colombia.

    we have so many amazing artist in my city, Bogota, if you ever decide to come down here, get in touch!!!!! i know a few places.

    • Seattle Dredge
      October 8, 2014 at 10:06 am #

      Ooh, yes yes! I would love suggestions, I will be there in November and definitely plan on getting one 😀

      • Laura Rubio
        October 9, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

        hey!!!! it is great that you are going to Colombia, when exactly will you be there? I live in another country but I’m visiting for three days in november as well, and i think i will be getting my second tattoo, so maybe i can take you where I’m planning to go. Honestly, i would love to have the chance to meet you, I am a travel addict as well and i work as cabin crew for an airline, this has given me the opportunity to travel around the world a little bit easier. do you have any plans there? if you need anything just let me know, 🙂

        • Seattle Dredge
          October 14, 2014 at 8:36 am #

          Oh awesome! I’ll be in the country from Nov 4-18, but travelling from Cartagena to Bogota, so prob in Bogota closer to the 15th or so. I’d definitely be up for going to the same place if you’re around then :] No big plans, just going to be exploring as we go

  3. Maya
    October 14, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    Hi! Your tattoos are amazing! I love travelling too, like a lot. I’m 18 now and doing a gapyear in Ecuador but originally I’m from Belgium. I would really love to have a small tattoo that reminds me of this year forever. But the problem is that I don’t have any idea what I could get as a tattoo… I just want something small at the side of my wrist. Do you have any ideas? That would be wonderful!
    Already a big thank you!

    • Seattle Dredge
      October 14, 2014 at 10:58 am #

      Thanks Maya! I don’t usually decide on a tattoo design until I’ve been in the country for a couple of weeks. I only get one if something significant presents itself to me.. okay that sounds a bit silly, haha.. but when you know, you know. I haven’t been to Ecuador, but I’d probably be keeping an eye out for indigenous symbols (maybe from Quitu tribe, etc.), perhaps a particular animal, interesting local maps, something like this, or any local art that stands out to you. If you’re going with words, obviously something in Spanish could work, or one of the indigenous languages as well. Hope that sparks some ideas :]

  4. Danielle
    October 15, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

    I love all your tattoos! I’m pretty sure I’m going to start an international airport code list on my back at some point 🙂
    Danielle recently posted..Hiking Torrey Pines

  5. Denis
    November 24, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

    Hi Seattle
    I was looking for an idea about a second tatoo and I found your blog. I really appreciated it. I like the idea about the tatoo with passport stamp
    I read it quickly. I didn’t travel too much but I went to Greenland this summer. So my only advice is: go there. This country is amazing, my best expérience…
    I’m french so sorry if I do english mistakes. I read that you went to Paris. But France is not only Paris so if you go back there, try to visit Normandy(where I live) or another french areas, France is a beautiful country

  6. Nina
    March 2, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

    Hi Seattle,

    I love all your tattoo! specially the GPS Coordinates, I always wanted to do that! how did you find yours cause Im having trouble finding the Coordinates for my home! sorry if you already answered this I didnt read the comments lol

    Thanks!!!
    Nina

  7. Isaac Franklin
    April 18, 2015 at 10:31 pm #

    Wow i never seen so many great tattoos… very nice

  8. Jon
    April 18, 2015 at 10:34 pm #

    hmm what if the gps cordinates were a code to help find hidden treasure 🙂 i sence a bones sequel 🙂 nice tat!
    Jon recently posted..Wearing the Traditional American Flag as a tattoo | American Traditional Tattoos.com

  9. Gia M.
    June 9, 2015 at 10:47 am #

    Hi! You should have a tattoo made from the Philippines 🙂 There’s a province up in the north that still do it traditionally. Her name is Whang Od and she’s pretty popular here as she’s one of the last few from the tribe who can still do the traditional tattoos of headhunters back in the day. Just in case you’re into tribal designs or something 🙂 I adore all your travel tattoos by the way! 🙂

    • Seattle Dredge
      June 10, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

      That sounds perfect! I’m coming to the Philippines in Feb/March next year, and will definitely look into that. Any tips on getting there or anything else to expect? I’ll do a little Google research, but it sounds like you know what you’re talking about 🙂

      • Gia M.
        June 13, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

        That would be great! The weather would be perfectly sunny, too. Hmm, I haven’t been there myself but one of my closest friends got her water element tattoo there and if you’re the type who’s down for a little bit of Philippine adventure aka trekking and riding local transport, then this one’s for you! The way they tattoo on you is super different from modern tattoo shops, though, like this one’s primitive. They use a thorn from a grapefruit as the needle and charcoal ink, but from what I know it’s perfectly safe since it’s practically a tourist site.

        I found an article that was just recently posted with directions on how to go there, lodging, expenses, who to look for, what to expect, etc. I hope it helps! 🙂 You can also Google “Whang Od” and you’ll see a lot of bloggers talk about their tattoo experience. I’m really excited for you, if you decide to push through with it! That would be awesome! 🙂

        http://insights.looloo.com/apo-whang-od-tattoo-artist-in-kalinga/

  10. Shannon // Camera & Carry On
    August 7, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

    Hey Seattle,
    This is just one more big THANKS for being apart of our 40 Travel Inspired Tattoos article. Your art is awesome, I wish I had room to included more of it! Until next time…

    http://www.cameraandcarryon.com/40-travel-inspired-tattoos-from-travelers-bloggers-myself/

  11. Jay
    October 12, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

    I enjoyed checking out your travel ink! I have two that were done in the Philippines, one in HK, one in China, one from Singapore and one from Myanmar! I really should have gone one in Vietnam when I was there last month
    Ah well!

  12. Gina
    May 16, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

    Dear Seattle,
    Your blog is just amazing!… so many trips and adventures… you just embraced what u are..a traveller. Some people are meant to do it…and some like me are meant to dream it while struggling to make tough decisions like keeping the safe job, planning a career, having kids or… following the heart…
    anyway…loved reading to your posts! it would be great if someday you could come to visit Cape Verde Islands. Then you would have to add some new tiny black dots on your map tattoo 😉

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