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My First Tattoo

I got my first (and only) tattoo last year at the beginning of September with one of my best friends, Helene. We had gotten some fake ones together before, but this time they were real. I’ll share our thought process, all the various decisions we made and why; it might help you if you’re still deciding whether you’d want one or not!
1.       Reasons
Helene and I love tattoos (she probably a bit more than me, she’s obsessed), and it was her idea to get one together. Last summer we travelled in Central Europe for 3 weeks, just the two of us, and so we thought it would be a good idea to get it then. It was our first time backpacking so we wanted to make it special. 
2.       Concerns
I’m not gonna lie, I was very scared of getting the tattoo. I was scared I would regret it, that I wouldn’t like it after a while, or that Helene and I would stop being friends and then I’d be left with a tattoo constantly reminding me of her (which will hopefully never happen). I was also terrified of the pain: I have a low tolerance for pain, I’m the type who
will already be hurting even though no one’s touched me yet. So I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to go through with it. The fact that it’s eternal was concerning as well, because I couldn’t tell if in 20 years I would still want it on my skin? And I could see how excited she was, but I didn’t feel the same because I was more focused on the negative aspects. 
3.       The Design

We wanted an original design, something no one else could possibly have. We discussed having the same tattoo, or having subtle differences to distinguish the two. We finally decided to have two different ones, but that are complementary. Between the two of us, Helene is the artist so she designed the tattoos. You can see them on the two photos: hers is the on the left and mine is on the right. We decided to draw our journey, going from France to Poland and then back. Hers represents the top half of the map, and mine the bottom half. We decided that we wanted a bit more than just a map so we thought of numbers, hers signifying the 10 cities we viewed in 22 days, and mine the 3337km we did by train in those 3 weeks. She also really likes dot work, so she thought about adding it to our tattoo, which honestly was a great idea because I think it makes it even better. 
4.       Where to do it on our body
We had to decide where we wanted the tattoo on our body, and ideally we wanted it to be the same for both of us. We did it without telling many people, and not telling our family, so we didn’t want it to be too obvious and for everyone to notice it straight away. We decided to do it on our rib cage, mine on the right hand side and hers on the left, which is the perfect location. No one can see it when we have clothes on, and even we can’t see it often ourselves so we don’t get bored of it. 
5.       Finding the Tattoo artist
We had to decide when we wanted to get our tattoo done, and in which of the 10 cities. We thought it would be best to get it at the end of our trip, in case it was a bit painful or if complications occurred. We were concerned that our backpack would rub it, so we wanted to avoid having that for too many days. We also wanted to get the tattoo in a capital, since there would be a bigger choice of artists and an increased chance of good quality ones. We therefore chose Prague to do it, as it was our last capital to visit and our second-to-last city. Helene did the research and found the perfect tattoo artist, looking at different styles and finding the one that would be best for dot work as well, since each artist has their own specialty.

6.       The pain
As I mentioned above, I was really scared of the pain. We decided that I would go first because there was concern that if I saw her in pain, I wouldn’t be able to go through with it. At the start it wasn’t very painful and I was quite surprised, but slowly the pain increased. I could barely feel anything when the needle was between my ribs, but as soon as it went on the bones, it was really painful. (I might've cried a bit...) The tattoo artist was lovely and he would pause when it became too painful; he made sure we were comfortable and that we could tell him when we needed to take a little break. The tattoo took approximately 20 minutes and then I was done. Helene, on the other hand, barely felt any pain and it was quite surprising to see the difference between the two of us. It really depends on the person, since each body reacts in different ways. Helene felt pain once it was done, whereas I could barely feel anything. Everybody is different so it’s difficult to predict how you’re going to feel before you actually do it.
7.       Taking care of it
It was quite simple to take care of our skin once the tattoo was finished. We had to buy and apply a special cream twice a day and avoid exposing it in the sun. Considering its location on our body, that was not a problem. We also had to avoid taking showers with water that was too hot while our skin was still very sensitive. 
8.       Telling my family
I thought about keeping my tattoo a secret from my family, until it was necessary to tell them: when we’d go to the beach and I wouldn’t be able to hide it anymore. However, I figured it was best to say it to avoid constantly keeping the secret. They were surprised and did not completely understand why I decided to get it done, and couldn’t believe that I managed to sit through the pain. Now that they’re used to it I don’t think it’s much of a problem, they probably still don’t understand why I have it and think it’s a mistake, but I’m happy with it and don’t regret it one bit, and that’s what counts. 

I’d be open to getting another one, but maybe in an area that is known to be less painful. I do not regret it at all and I still love it, and I honestly forget it’s even there quite often until I see it in the mirror, so it’s always a lovely surprise. It overall was a positive experience and when looking back, I don’t remember the pain too much, I mainly remember how happy we were once we got it done.

I hope this was helpful! And as always, thank you for reading. 




  1. Such a great story behind the tattoo. I thouroghly enjoyed the fact that you described the decision process, choice, having it done and the reveal. Thats awesome.

    1. Thank you! Very considerate comment :) x


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