About the Post

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I am a Denver-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

Inking My Travels

When I was a child, and I mean young, I broached the subject with my father about getting a tattoo. He told me that if I did I wouldn’t live under his roof any longer. Well, this wasn’t really an issue as I’ve always been afraid of needles. I guess, as I look back on it now, the question was more along the lines of seeing how far I could push his limits, which were obviously not broad enough to allow his young child to get a tattoo – even if it said “I ❤ Mom.”

 
Well, for the past 13 years, since my first trip to Las Vegas, I’ve talked with my brother and best friend about getting a tattoo. They always said they’d do it if I did it, knowing full well that I didn’t have the stones to let a needle touch my skin. But on this trip I was resolved, and approached Brian with the idea back in December when I was home in Minnesota for a family Christmas.
 
At the time he said he was all for it and we talked designs a bit, but I’m pretty sure Brian still didn’t think I’d go through with it. I think he started to get the idea though when I brought it up again about a week before departure, asking him if he’d actually get one with me. He seemed a little wishy washy with the idea at that time, but I’ll give him credit as he held true to his first word from December and did it right along with me.
 
Now, at times I can be a little overbearing (alright, more than a little sometimes), but this is something that’s quite permanent so I didn’t want him to make a decision that he wasn’t going to be happy with. So after sitting at Starlight Tattoo in Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas for an hour or more throwing around questions and taking stock of the place, I pulled him out to have a bit of a talk with him about it, saying that he was free to do as he chose and I didn’t want him to feel any pressure from me on this to do it just because I was going to.
 
I’d be damned though, despite me thinking he wouldn’t, he went through with it and got a cool tattoo of a fireball shooting up his arm. Well, at least that’s what he says it is. A good part of me thinks his cousin is right and that it’s actually the red ghost from the Pac Man game.
 
Regardless, as he went first, I knew there was no backing out for me. I was dancing around the place, nervous as can be, as I was starting to have second thoughts. I knew I wanted to do it, but the jitters were getting to me at that point as there was a lot of prep work needed to be done to get mine all lined up. Finally though, at 1am, I finally sat down in the chair and my most excellent artist got to work. And after five hours (yes, I didn’t get out of the chair until 6am) I was done and quite pleased with Dina’s work, willing to recommend her to anyone interested in a tattoo. She really held my hand through the whole process and was quite gentle with the needle. It was great and not really painful at all.
 
But, to be totally honest here, I did have to go back the next day and give her a bit of grief as she told me I’d have no problem sleeping that night – which was no where near true. As I got both shoulders tattoo’d, and I tend to sleep on my sides, I didn’t get a wink that night and ended up being up for about 41 hours straight. Yeah, sure, I laid in bed for a bit from 630am to 9am, maybe even dozing off for half a moment, but I didn’t get any worthwhile sleep as I had too much adrenaline going with the soreness on my shoulders.
 
As I spent the next day walking around, making sure not to bump into anyone lest I decide to smack them back for the pain, I came to realize that there was no real problem with getting the tattoo itself. Yeah, it hurt a little bit, but not as much as I had built it up in my head. The real pain was the day after, and to a lesser extent for a couple of days after that even, as it felt like I had a nice sunburn on each shoulder. Still though, it was worth it to me and I’m happy that I did it.
 
So why’d I get what I got? Well boys and girls, this is where my warning comes in: Don’t get anything that you’re not going to be happy with for the rest of your life as it’s permanent. I had toyed with the idea of some tribal armband or whatever, but I knew I wouldn’t be happy with it later on. If I did that then it would’ve just been a tester tattoo to see if I could handle the pain and thus get a better one later on. And this is part of why I took so long in deciding. I wanted something I’d be happy with forever and that was truly a part of me. And I’m glad I waited and took the time to decide, even if it was for 13 years.
 
Anyway, the reason why I got a hemisphere of the globe on each shoulder is to tell the story of the countries I’ve traveled to; I’m proud to have traveled to all seven continents and I want to document that, along with my other travels. So, as there’s a good amount of blank space on my shoulders, I plan to fill in the flags of the other countries as I visit as I go along. Some I may do as I go there and others I’ll do back home in the good ol’ U.S. of A. But, no matter what, it’ll always be a story of where I’ve been and what I’ve done. And I’m quite proud of that and happy with the tattoo.
 
And again, if you’re set on getting one and have a design picked out, head on down to Las Vegas for some fun in doing it and see Dina at the Starlight. It may be a bit more expensive due to the quality of work and location, but it’s all a part of the experience. And oh, take a page out of my lesson book and do it earlier in the day so you can sleep at night as the adrenaline will hopefully have wore off by the time you want to go to bed. It’s no fun to walk back to the hotel at such an hour with only the prostitutes heading home for the night, hitting on you still for more business, to keep you company.
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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Updating My Travel Tattoo | Jason's Travels - April 1, 2013

    […] As the needle dug into my flesh, I recalled how much a tattoo can hurt. I also remembered that it wasn’t nearly as painful as I first anticipated. And in the end, for a design I truly loved, it was all worth it. I wasn’t at Denver’s Th’ink tank Tattoo, though, for a new tattoo, but instead to update an old one – my travel tattoo. […]

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