28 June, 2019

Want a tattoo that salutes your wanderlust? Step right this way, into a world of bold vision and intricate design

There’s a subtle symmetry between the world of tattoos and solo travel.

Both are potent acts of self-expression that feel a little reckless. You start off unsure what to expect, but end in a place that’s euphoric.

They speak fluently to one another, too. Tattoos aren’t just a great way of capturing a trip (taking nothing but memories) – they’re also a reminder to keep the journey going.

Whether it’s a dainty etching of palm trees or a colour-infused montage of a hazy mountain scene, body art is a token of your wanderluster within.

Read more: Six ways to create a major life change

It’s all the prompt you need to keep that travel-loving soul stoked.

With that in mind, we’ve scoured the wonderful world of Instagram for the very best travel-themed inkings – as told by some of the world’s most exciting artists and salons, along with everyday ideas we love.

From minimal, delicate motifs to flamboyant colourwork, here are our favourite tattoos to inspire your next escape:

Palm tree paradise

Take summer with you no matter what the season with an ode to tropical living. A palm tree is a great option for a first-time tattoo, and this intricate silhouette from the folks at cult London salon the Love Hate Social Club treads the line between dainty and striking.

Beach dreaming

There’s a particular poetry to tattoos that are only unveiled in certain scenarios – as with this simple wave design by Toronto-based artist Brittany Randell. The surf signature comes into its own on the beach, and beyond lies as a hidden tribute to long hazy days.

No mountain higher

If you’ve made it to the top of Rainbow Mountain in Peru, or the Himalayan peaks of Everest, you may well want to mark the feat with a custom tattoo. Not only is there scope for spectacular line work here, but every time you look at it, you’ll be reminded of your inner strength and courage.

Memories made

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Yesterday’s jam @memoirtattoo

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Snapshot your memories of your secret holiday haven with a vivid, colour-infused etching. We love the folk-like element of this work by legendary LA tattoo artist Kim Saigh, conjuring up all the untold magic and mystery of a childhood story.

Join the jet set

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@kevinking.nyc ✈️

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Small and beautiful does it with this perfectly executed design by artist Kevin King of Bang Bang studio. Bang Bang holds iconic status in New York City, the birthplace of the modern tattoo, and this subtle emblem is typical of its meticulous attention to detail. A must for all you wanderers at heart.

Come fly with me

Another fun take on the sky-high theme comes with this cute inner finger print by South Korean studio The Day After. It’s an oh-so subtle nod to the restless soul that drives you – your cue that adventure is never more than a flight away.

Wide skies and wilderness

Berlin-based artist Julia Rehme of the studio Noiia has attracted a cult following thanks to her vivid watercolour tattoos. Surreal, painting-like etches are cut through with splashes of intense colour; as with this evocative lake scene. The result is a stunning keepsake of your adventures.

Art of tebori

The Japanese art of tattooing known as tebori has a rich history and is crafted over a series of hours by hand rather than machine. This lovely sakura (Japanese cherry blossom design) is a souvenir of Flash Pack writer Andrew Dickens. It was created by Horitoku, a tebori master known as one of the top artists in Japan, at a private Tokyo studio.

Into the wild

The Darling Parlour is a favourite in Sydney, with a large team of in-house artists known for their intricate line work. This snake logo is beautifully placed and hints at the wild child within. You could use it to honour a recent safari or rainforest adventure.

Cityscape muse

Another masterstroke from the visionaries at Bang Bang New York City, this lovely design stands out from the crowd. The skyline is faithfully detailed, but it’s the bursts of saturated colour that really make it stand out. A great way to pay homage to your favourite city.

Hawaii high

Tattoo atelier AKA Berlin doubles up as an art gallery, and hosts some of the city’s most exciting emerging artists. The intricate graphics at play here give the tattoo a painting-like quality, with bold hibiscus prints that throwback to far-flung beaches and hot summer nights.

Up and away

Travel is all about escapism, and that idea that you can take off at any point to pastures unknown. They’re both sentiments that are brought to life in this whimsical air balloon illustration by Seoul-based studio Hansan Tattoo. All aboard for adventure.

Touch of tropicalia

A cacophony of colour and pattern comes together in this glorious jungle scene – so vivid, you can practically hear the birds tweeting. LA-based Swedish tattoo artist Miryam Lumpini is feted for her vibrant colourwork, with tropical hues that bring nature to life.

Jungle flourish

For something less elaborate, this monochrome piece by Russian tattoo artist Sasha Masiuk, who has studios across the US, may also do the trick. The fine, life-like illustration has all the precision of a botanical print.

Words to live by

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Thanks Tann! 🏖🏝

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Are there two happier words in the English language than “care” and “free”? Brooklyn-based artist Doreen Garner, aka Flesh And Fluid, has exactly framed the spirit of wanderlust here, and we love the way the phrase is mapped out anatomically. Choose your own travel slogan and carry those chilled backpacker vibes with you wherever you go.

Plain sailing

Another gem from London’s Love Hate Social Club, this tiny paper boat is your prompt to sail away. Miniature tattoos have an appeal all of their own, and a fairy tale design like this is a particularly nice spin on the trend.

Forever free-spirit

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Frida (healed)

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Mira Mariah works from New York City’s Fleur Noire studio, and is known for being Ariana Grande’s go-to tattoo woman. Many of her designs celebrate the female form, and pay ode to feminist icons. Rather than get an inking of a landmark to celebrate your travels, you could also choose a figure as your travel muse; as with this delightful sketch of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

Seasoned globe trotter

A map of the world is always a popular option for seasoned travellers, and we like the extra touches that Brazilian artist Henrique Fuhrich has added here; from delicate loops to the teeny plane and a wanderlust motto to boot.

Landscapes of Japan

LA-based tattooist Lisa Orth is a hugely popular presence on Instagram; and with meticulous fine line scenery such as this, you can absolutely see why. There’s some clever symbolism at play here; the design plays tribute not only to Japan as a place, but also the style of Japanese landscape art.

Northern Lights

A vivid sense of place can also be dreamt up via a modern, colour-fused design such as this beauty by Amsterdam-based artist Sasha Unisex. A bold graphic approach is elevated with vibrant hues, for an on-point snapshot of the Northern Lights.

Henna haven

Again taking inspiration from traditional patterning techniques, this elaborate Henna-inspired design is informed by centuries of body painting art across the Middle East and Asia. Atlanta artist Kandace Layne uses Henna motifs as a central theme in her work.

Old-school explorer

Hollywood tattoo artist Dr. Woo specialises in single-needle fine line tattoos out of his studio, the Hideaway at Suite X (frequented by the likes of Drake and Cara Delevingne). The precision in this old-school cartography etching is unrivalled, and gives a nod to pioneering explorers of a bygone age.

Restless soul

If you live for the ‘Gram, you might want to follow the lead of I.Adventurer and get a neat typography stamp tattoo that fits into every shot that you do. It’s a simple but fun idea, as well as a permanently on-show reminder of the forces that drives you.

Self-portrait

As tattoos are a way to re-frame your relationship with your body, so travel lets you do the same for the self. This cute tattoo shared by South London tattoo sensation Zaya Hastra, who specialises in fine and minimalist designs, snapshots the process beautifully. Find out more about how travel fuels the self with our positively selfish campaign.

Main image: Don Ross III on Unsplash

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