If I had enough money I'd get a tattoo in each new city that I've visited. Unfortunately, I don't.
Presently, I have two tattoos but, like most other inked-up individuals, I want more.
I was gifted my first tattoo on my eighteenth birthday by my sister. In Baskerville script on the inside of my left forearm I have the lyrics "Stay far from timid, only make moves when your heart's in it, and live the phrase sky's the limit" from Notorious BIG's song 'Sky's the Limit'. This tattoo is a constant reminder to, well, stay far from timid, only make moves when my heart's in it, and live the phrase sky's the limit. It's blunt, to the point, and poetic. It's also cool as hell to have Biggie's lyrics forever on my arm.
I got my second tattoo in May 2015, when I was 20, on impulse and on my right bicep. It's a bagua(pronounced bah-gwa), a Taoist symbol originating from the I Ching and symbolizing balance and change. I'd been passionate about Taoism since about tenth grade when I first read the Tao Te Ching, a little book with 81 sections, or as I like to think of them, poems. I loved the placement since I could always see my tattoo (both tattoos are meant to be reminders) but in the same vein it's also there for the entire world to see too. At least a couple times a week random people will ask me about my tattoo, and although it's enjoyable to explain sometimes, other times I really, really hate delving into it. I'd get tons of questions about this specific tattoo while bartending, and I love explaining the backstory of what it means and why I got it once I've built some sort of relationship with whoever's asking me. But when it's the first question someone asks it feels invasive since it's such a personal thing. But I guess that's what I get for picking my bicep as the canvas.
I would absolutely love to add to my small collection of tattoos in the last location I travel. Or perhaps earlier, somewhere like Poland or Germany, where getting a tattoo might be cheaper than, say, in Vienna (my current location).
I've been thinking a lot about what I'd like to get. For a long time I wanted a large decaying tree with little saplings growing from it on my thigh; then I wanted a realistic eye on the back of my neck; and then I wanted a geometric diamond on my finger just because I thought it'd look pretty cool. But now that I've started to seriously consider it, I think I'm going to get the number '22' in Baskerville script, like my other tattoos, on the inside of my right wrist. I've also wanted a circle for a couple of years now and will get that across from my bagua on my left bicep (I really value symmetry in art and have a septum piercing specifically because of my love for symmetry). The circle is meant to represent the idea of infinity, continuity, that there is no beginning or end but instead everything can be interpreted as a continuation of new beginnings and new endings that emerge from something before them.
The 22 is meant to represent my experiences at 22. I'm only halfway through that age right now but even so this year has been a big year. I earned my degree this year; I bartended full-time which had been a long-term goal of mine (I always thought bartending was such a cool job, I mean, it looks awesome and you also meet so many people); I lived downtown in a bustling city – something I'd wanted to do since at least age ten, but probably earlier; I had an amazing relationship with an amazing person (that later ended but was a valuable experience nonetheless); I embarked upon my first solo-travel trip (across Europe, a place I'd wanted to visit as a child); I had an academic paper published in a journal; I moved all my things on a whim from the city I'd lived in for five years and will be moving to a brand-new city, the city I envisioned myself as settling in since at sixteen.
I've done so much that I'm proud of this year. Writing it all down I almost can't believe it. Me! I did all that! I've made so many of the little dreams I've dreamt about come to life (of course with lots of love and support along the way). And I think 22 is worth commemorating. And getting a tattoo of that number will always remind me of what I'm capable of. So, by the end of this trip, if this idea still sticks then my third tattoo will be the number 22 (and perhaps also a circle for symmetry's sake).