12. Tattoos About the Place

angelinaFew things capture the paradox of backpacker pretense better than tattoos. Every year, thousands of young travelers try desperately to be original only to end up behaving like everyone else. Getting a tattoo of a place you’ve visited is sort of like wearing American Apparel. It was cool and unique when nobody was doing it, but soon enough it got played out (see Nice but ubiquitous hoodie).

Ah, tattoos. So youthful and rebellious. Such a ballsy move to paint oneself with permanent artwork. And when backpackers sport a dope tat from their sojourn overseas, well that’s a backhanded beenou my friends. Go ahead, ask them what it means or better yet:  where they got it. Before you know it, you’ll be witnessing the eruption of Mt. St. Beenou.

A few backpacker tattoos to ponder (combinations of the below options may also exist):

  1. Plants and wildlife. Take, for example, a simple dolphin or whale tail. Countless girls have fallen victim to bad ink (see Megan Fox) and a common precursor is a fond and lasting encounter with porpoises off the coast of [Insert tropical dolphin inhabited place here]. Female backpacker Type A suffers terribly from the above Backpacker Tattoo Syndrome (BTS).
  2. Traditional/tribal tattoo styles. Thai bamboo style tattoo. Anything Maori. It looks fucking cool. Surfers rock it so it must be, right? Don’t forget that Mike Tyson has one on his face. If you wanna pull an Angelina, go adopt a kid from Vietnam.
  3. Foreign writing. I’ll be the first to admit that Sanskrit, Arabic and Farsi look awesome. But not if you’re a white boy from Idaho. You end up looking like that dad wearing the “My Sister Went to the Bahamas and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt” shirt. Speaking of t-shirts, you may be aware of t-shirts from Japan and Taiwan printed in senseless English (e.g. Happy So Much!). The meaning is lost in translation. Yeah well, that “Carpe diem” you got in Chinese characters is just as meaningless (e.g. Grab Time) to the average Chinese person.
  4. Pretend spirituality. Buddhist, Taoist and vegetarian symbols are common offenses.
  5. Carpe diem. Cliches are excellent ways for backpackers to express their originality.
  6. Nationalistic beenous. On the topic of cliches, Canadian backpackers often have tattoos of Canadian flags or maple leaves. These are as cliche as the Canadian flag patches on their backpacks.
#1-2 combo.

#1-2 combo.

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10 Responses to “12. Tattoos About the Place”

  1. Anonymous says:

    go fuck yourself dude ..

  2. mike says:

    Couldn’t be as bad as barbed-wire tats, could it? Yeah, it could. BTW… people say never get a girl’s name tatooed on your body, but if you do her name in another language, if you ever do break up, you can lie about it to the next girl. Not a bad idea.

  3. mike says:

    I’m in total agreement man, the only thing worse than I’m-more-wordly-than-thou-because-I’ve-seen-more-places (even though most travellers don’t retain any wisdom from their travels) Carpe diem is a woman’s name.

  4. james says:

    fuck carpe diem, people today use it as an excuse to do all kinds of stuff

  5. Dana says:

    Why are you hating?

    these tattoos might be really meaningful to whoever got them. mind your own business, and stay out of theirs. they do whatever they wanna do to keep them happy and you do whatever you do. you should really find something better to do with your time

  6. matt says:

    You are a massive penis, dude. You’re probably one of those people who’s life is so unfulfilled that you would never feel strongly enough about anything to even hold a sentimental thought in your mind, let alone have something inked onto your skin. You’re also probably an Amaerican, so i feel it my duty to explain to you that Canadians have maple leaf tattoos so they don’t get mistaken for an American and get the shit kicked out of them bacause every other country hates them.
    Understand?

  7. Tom says:

    Lol yea tattoos… its almost as cliche as using the ever so cutting edge and original angry writer angle while using catch phrases like “beenou”, oh the originality…

  8. john says:

    Hahahaha. Awesome piece of writing dude. And very fair.
    (…and I have a tattoo suit from throat to toes.)

  9. Stéphane says:

    Looks like at least 4 people got a stupid tatoo on their last trip..

  10. okaaay then says:

    “You’re also probably an Amaerican, so i feel it my duty to explain to you that Canadians have maple leaf tattoos so they don’t get mistaken for an American” – yeah, good one. That makes waaay more sense than wearing Canadian t-shirts, national sporting team hoodies or sewing a flag to your luggage.

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