Sometimes, you get home and you just feel like you need to commemorate the trip with something more than a photo album on Facebook. Sometimes, the trip seems to have sunk so deep into who you are now that it makes perfect sense to have it etched into your skin.
I’ve actually never gotten a tattoo of any sort, though after my first trip abroad I got as far as sitting in the artist’s chair — when he informed me he was insanely hungover, maybe still drunk, and then said, “Okay, shake it off. Let’s roll.”
I told him I was having second thoughts and would come back later and never did. And I’m glad I didn’t. My idea wasn’t all that great, and if you’re gonna get a tattoo of something, you should really think it through and be 100%. There are thousands of pictures of travel tattoos out there on the internet. Here are some of the coolest I found.
The compass is a common theme. It can range from as simple as the basic, to the incredibly complex.
A simple globe tattoo can make it clear you love to travel.
This guy made headlines a little while back for getting the world map tattooed on his back and then filling in the countries he visits as he goes to each of them. Even though this is an undoubtedly awesome tattoo, coloring Russia was probably painful.
The coordinates of some special place are another fairly popular idea, though this doesn’t necessarily need to reflect travel. It could be home, the place that something important happened, or possibly a map to treasure.
5. Nautical tattoos
Anchors and ships are another fairly popular theme.
6. Minimalist tattoos
I’m a big fan of the minimalist tattoo done well. I also think the paper airplane is about the perfect symbol for the concept of wanderlust, which is one of the most common words I was finding on travel tattoos.
Obviously, world maps are ubiquitous. But there’s an infinite amount of variety and complexity to how you can do them.
8. Free bird
Another great symbol is the “free bird.” Though this doesn’t necessarily denote travel, it signifies a state of mind compatible to travel.
A postage stamp/postmark would be a great way to represent your hometown or a place that’s particularly close to your heart.
The creative image-based ones typically involve a globe or a vehicle with a token word or two.
11. Globe mandala
This globe mandala is one of my favorite travel-themed tattos. You could alter the specific design according to your own experiences.
12. Foot tattoos
For those who may not want large tattoos on prominent parts of their bodies, foot tattoos may be an understated alternative. All you need to cover them up are socks.
13. Passport stamps
Your passport will expire and you’ll lose all those stamps. Your skin will always keep them.
Arms are cool place to show your love for the world.
I’m not a big fan of quotes or words on tattoos. It’s a visual-art medium, so in my opinion pictures are preferable. That said, not everyone gets tattoos for the art. Sometimes they just need to be reminded of something.
Skylines are a trendy choice, and you can find them for virtually any city with a remotely distinctive skyline.
Featured image: Christopher L.