For many travelers, getting a tattoo is the driving force behind their long journeys.
On the day of the tattoo
Julien Chavane flew from France to Japan but almost missed the appointment. "I have the address written in Japanese, but it doesn't show up on Google Maps," Chavane said. He stood in the viking outfit middle of Nagoya, a city of 2.3 million people in central Japan. Walking around for a while, Chavane entered a cafe and came across a flyer with the tattoo artist's appointment. He held out the flyer and asked the barista behind the counter, who led him through a few blocks to the correct address.
About a decade ago
people who traveled across continents to get tattoos like Chavane were rare. But thanks to increasingly convenient travel, the development of social networks makes it easier for tattoo artists to promote, now there is no shortage of people willing to travel thousands of kilometers to realize their tattoo dreams.
Tattooing and travel have a history that goes hand in hand, although the origins of this are unclear. Ancient European sailors often returned home with a Polynesian-style tattoo, or pilgrims traveled to tattooed Holy Lands 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 to tattoo.
"Tattoo art is an investment in yourself," says tattoo artist Laura Martinez of Paris, France. "They'll be with you forever. So travel costs shouldn't be a barrier for many people."
Martinez's clients are tourists from all over the world
Martinez said, traveling helps them tattoo more purposeful. They know exactly what they want and often have very specific ideas. Martinez is also a frequent traveler. She has tattooed American customers in Brazil, French customers in the US, or Japanese guests in France...
Zachary Robinson-Bailey, a color tattooist in New York, USA, is surprised to tattoo clothing 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 amazing, and overwhelming," he said. Exposure to clients from all over the world also helps Robinson-Bailey continue to develop his unique style.