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People who fly across continents to get tattoos

For many travelers, getting a tattoo is the driving force behind their long journey.

On the day of the tattoo, Julien Chavane flew from France to Japan but almost missed the appointment. “I have an address written in Japanese, but it doesn’t show up on Google Maps,” Chavane said. He stands in the middle of Nagoya, a city of 2.3 million people in central Japan. After walking around for a while, Chavane enters a cafe and finds a flyer with a tattoo artist on it. He held out a flyer and asked the barista behind the counter, who guided him through a few blocks to the correct address.

About a decade ago, people traveling across continents to get tattoos like Chavane were rare. But thanks to increasingly comfortable travel, the development of social networks makes it easier for tattoo artists to promote, now not a few people are willing to travel thousands of kilometers to realize their tattoo dreams.

Tattoos and travel have a history that go hand in hand, although their origins are unclear. Ancient European sailors often returned home with Polynesian-style tattoos, or pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land with tattoos to mark their journey. The Razzouk Tattoo Shop in Jerusalem’s Old City is said to have been open since 1300, still attracting long lines of pilgrims for tattoos.

Tattoo shop operating since 1300 in the old city of Jerusalem.  Photo: Cultural Tour

Tattoo shop operating since 1300 in the old city of Jerusalem. Photo: Culture Trip

“Tattoo art is an investment in yourself,” says tattoo artist Laura Martinez from Paris, France. “They’ll be with you forever. So travel expenses shouldn’t be a barrier for many people.”

Martinez’s clients are tourists from all over the world. Martinez says traveling helps them make tattoos more purposeful. They know exactly what they want tattooed and often have very specific ideas. Martinez also travels a lot. He has tattooed American customers in Brazil, French customers in the US, or Japanese customers in France…

Social media helps people from all over the world get to know Laura Martinez and find her.  Photo: The Washington Post

Social media helped people from all over the world get to know Laura Martinez and find her tattoo parlor. Photo: Washington Post

Zachary Robinson-Bailey, an expert on colorful tattoos in New York, USA, is surprised to learn that many customers come from far away to his shop. “A woman took a six-hour bus ride from Cleveland just to get my tattoo. It was absolutely stunning, and incredible,” she said. The exposure of clients from around the world also helps Robinson-Bailey continue to develop his unique style.

Prior to flights to Japan and New York, USA, Frenchman Chavane used to travel around Europe and South America to get tattoos. “When you get a tattoo from the masters, you see the value in it. Tattoos never fade. They are true masters and you have to work hard to find them, wherever they are.”, Chavane shared.

Destinations are also important for him to arrange the itinerary. Chavane will drink beer, eat delicious food and enjoy as much as possible. She often schedules tattoo appointments at the end of the trip to fully explore the destination, without having to abstain or suffer the pain that lingers after the tattoo.

Angelina Jolie and her ex-husband Brad Pitt also flew across the continent to get a tattoo. The former couple has been to Thailand many times to get tattoos sak yant. This is the type magic tattoo which not everyone can do. The cost is also quite expensive, around 3000-5000000 USD for a basic sack of yant.

A Thai monk tattoos Angelina Jolie using a long steel tube with a medical needle.  Photo: Splash News

Thai artist, former monk, tattooed sak yant for Angelina Jolie in 2017. Photo: Splash News

Joe Giordano, a sergeant in the US Marine Corps, started getting tattoos in 2015 to remember his journey. “I started thinking I should get a tattoo everywhere I go,” he said.

However, after meeting an artist in Cambodia who tattoos not in a traditional but local style, Giordano rethought his approach to the art of tattooing. He began to see the tattoo as a motivation for his journey, rather than just seeing it as a “souvenir”.

“Wherever it is, I want to be tattooed by an old and passionate artist who has had a huge impact on society,” says Giordano.

loyalty (Based on Washington Post)

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