Travel Tattoos: A souvenir that lasts forever


Tattoos are definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. And I totally understand why. (Let’s not start the discussion now though.)

For me, tattoos are just a way of showing what’s important for me. I don’t have any tattoos where I just decided “I like this” and got it. All of my tattoos have a meaning and for some reason, all of them are connected to a city I lived in.

I asked a few fellow travelers if they had any tattoos they got, just because they loved a country or city so much that they wanted to have a memory of it forever under their skin. Here are a few of the tattoos I collected and loved.


#1 Ilenia (Instagram: ileniacasalanguida): A little trip to Vietnam

I met Ilenia during my time in Dublin and we were friends from the very beginning, not only because we shared this constant feeling of wanderlust and fernweh. For her, getting a tattoos is like buying a souvenir.
“I got this tatoo in Vietnam,it represents all the stops of my last summer road trip. This is my favourite one because even if it’s not the most beautiful one I have,everytime I look at it,all the experiences I have been through during this travel come back to my mind. I started my collection of travel’s tattoo 5 years ago when I was living in London, I wanted to have something related with my experience that would have last forever so a tatoo was the perfect expression of it. Since that moment I started to get one in every place I go. I collected ones from China,Ireland,Uk, Thailand,Spain,France,Australia, now I can’t leave a foreign country without a tatoo, it’s my perfect kind of souvenir.”

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#2 Yalou from wearetheearth.nl

“I got my first tattoo while traveling Nepal in 2014. I already had the idea to design something with my motto live your dreams with your eyes open in it, but in Nepal, I figured out how I wanted it. It was there that I started living my dreams of traveling the world and it was there that I fell in love with the beauty of it. I also fell in love with everything in Nepal and that’s why I got my motto translated in Nepali and it is now forever around my ankle.

My second tattoo is set while traveling Morocco. Despite the pain, I got addicted to the beauty of tattoos and I thought a Hamsa Hand would be a perfect reminder of my awesome hitchhike trip through Morocco. I loved the design, I loved what it stands for; among others for protections while on the road and I loved the permanent reminder of a trip full of hospitality, love, and beauty. (You can find all of her Morocco tips, tricks and adventures on her blog here.)

My third travel tattoo is a fresh one, I got it a few weeks back of a Nepali tattoo artist who was in The Netherlands. I was planning to go see him during my second trip to Nepal this summer, but this worked as well. He designed a beautiful mandala for me. A mandala stands as a symbol for the universe, but for me, it’s also a reminder of my trip to and my love for Nepal and my search for the right spiritual path.(Read about Yalou’s Nepal adventures on her blog here.)”

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#3 Enni Maria from deniahania.com (Instagram: ennnimm)

“Last month I made my dream come true as I finally got to hike to the famous Machu Picchu. It was truly inspiring and breathtaking hike that I will never forget! It was totally a once in a lifetime experience to me. I also stayed a good two months in Cusco, surrounded by the beautiful Andean mountains. This trip was a dream coming true and I ended up having the time of my life there, therefore I decided to tattoo a geometrical mountain range to my angle. It is a little reminder for me to keep pursuing my dreams and being brave and strong.”

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#4 Justine (Instagram: veryintrepidexpat)

“I got my tattoo which says თერთმეტი (eleven in Georgian language). I lived and worked in Georgia for 1.5 years with a program called TLG – Teach and Learn with Georgia. At the time, there was a new group of volunteers coming every two weeks so when you met each other you usually asked ‘what group are you?’ I was in group 11 – and so the tattoo is for that time in my life, my friends also in the group, the decision to live abroad, Georgia which is still my favorite country, and also the fact that I started living abroad in 2011.
The best thing about my tattoo is that when people ask me what it means I can either tell them the whole story, tell them eleven but not say why, or just outright make up a new story because honestly who would know better?”
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#5 Taylor from traveoutlandish.com
“After studying abroad in Ghana, I wanted a tattoo that was both dynamic and reminiscent of that period of personal growth. I chose to adapt the West African Adinkra symbol nea onnim no sua a, ohu — a symbol meaning life-long education and a continued quest for knowledge. For me, it is continually evolving in relevance, and I still love it today as much as I did back then!”
Taylor Record, traveloutlandish.com

#6 Emily Kydd from seehertravel.com (Instagram: seehertravelemily)

“When I was 17 I lived in Australia for 6 months. It was my first big trip away from home, and near the end I decided I needed a tattoo. I designed my own piece with a local Aussie tattoo artist and the art turned into a stylized Earth, that clearly shows Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Ocean and the West Coasts of North and South America. There is a sailor-style bird flying over it all.

This tattoo said something to me at the time and has really come to epitomize my life ever since, always seeking travel, always seeking adventure and the unknown. I studied the Pacific Islands in university, I have lived in and travelled throughout the Pacific-Asian region, and I’m from the West Coast of Canada. I’m a scuba diver who loves the ocean, and the swirls of the Pacific always make me smile. My tattoo is at the real core of my life and truly speaks of who I am as a person in this world.”


#7 My own: A memory of the harbour city Hamburg

You all know this photo probably, because it’s my cover photo on my blog. But not a lot of you know what it means. This tattoo is an origami boat, which for me stands for my home-of-5-years Hamburg. It’s a harbour city and whenever I come back to visit I make sure to go down to the water and just watch the boats and ships go by. And because this place was home for so long, I decided to get a permanent souvenir of it.

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Do you have any tattoos related to a place you’ve been to? Let me know and I’ll either add them to this blogpost or I might even do another post like this 🙂

At the end all I can say is that I love every one of the tattoos and the meanings behind them in this post and even though I also collect other souvenirs, having a constant reminder about a special experience you’ve made on your body is just a tad more exciting!

P.S.: Thanks for all the girls contributing to this post!!

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