I’ve had the tattoo on my mind for awhile now. I knew I wanted something to connect me with Newfoundland and Labrador, and I knew I wanted it on my wrist. The outline of the province was what I ultimately settled for, seeing as how it’s a pretty distinguishable shape, and one that invokes a sense of peace whenever I look at it.
The only thing missing was my nerve.
When Lena and I were liberated from WWOOFing, we decided to do a little road trip around Lesvos. Clearly the thrill of freedom and adventure got to me. We spent the first day roaming around Mytilini, the prettiest little port city I’ve seen in Greece yet. While most islands are quiet this time of year, Lesvos is a constant buzz of activity. It’s one of the few islands that doesn’t depend on tourism to survive, and most of its energy is focused on Mytilini.
We spent most of the day roaming the streets and the market area, or sitting at cafes along the waterfront with a beer or coffee in hand. But we kept passing this really unique looking tattoo shop with tons of wall art outside its front door, and I couldn’t shake the idea of doing something spontaneous. I’d already shaken off the shackles that kept my life stagnant. I was exploring my lifelong dream destination, backpacking solo, and recovering from a year I’d rather forget happened.
“I want to look into getting a tattoo,” I told Lena.Lena, stoic as she is, barely batted an eyelash.
So we went to Skin Deep, where the lady at the front desk started chatting with us in a long stream of English. Lena and I both marvelled over her perfect accent.
“I’m Australian,” she said.
I told her what I wanted, and showed her the image on a computer. I described where I was from, while the others gathered around listening intently.
“And this place really exists?” she asked. We had a good chuckle.
The guy responsible for my tattoo was a badass, as you’d expect. A handsome badass, who didn’t speak English, but motioned for me to sit in his tattoo area. I started climbing onto the seat, and he quickly stopped me, saying, “No, no!” Lena explained I was supposed to sit on the chair next to it and extend my arm onto the seat. We all laughed a lot, my cheeks aflame.
“I’m new,” I apologized.
The art took about an hour, and it was surprisingly painless. Perhaps because it was only a rough outline, or perhaps because I am a badass myself. (There’s some statistic that says redheads feel less pain than most people. But I’m a whiner, so I doubt it.)
I felt it was significant that I finally made it to Greece, my dream destination for a decade, and decided on a random island in the middle of the Aegean to create a connection to my little island in the middle of the Atlantic. I woke up one morning in Turkey after a few nightmarish dreams of home. Glanced at my wrist; was comforted.
I completely love the results. Do you have any travel tattoos?