Are you a collector?
Most people have collections or souvenirs of some sort. I come from a family of collectors. I have gathered various collections over the years of my traveling. Some I have inherited from my family and others I have started on my own. I have a collection of elephants and tea cups that are on display in my home that came from my great grandmother. In my younger years I had a book of stamps. I was particularly fond of the ones from foreign countries. As I got older, my tastes changed and I switched to collecting spoons. I still purchase a spoon from each destination I visit as a memento. My husband and I began a collection of beer glasses and steins during our marriage which he still adds to on a regular basis. Our children have followed suit and they each have their favorite souvenir. Our eldest collects shot glasses, the middle collects key chains, and the youngest snow globes when we vacation.
This year I began a new type of souvenir, tattoos;
they not only remind me of where I’ve been, but are an expression of my passion and love for travel. Travel for me, is more than visiting a place and having a good time. I have truly been affected by the places I’ve been. When I travel, I am like a snake, shedding a layer of myself and growing with each new destination experience.
I have always wanted a tattoo, but it wasn’t until my second visit to Australia that I was so profoundly affected that I came back and began getting the artwork on my body. The first tattoo I received was an outline of the country of Australia, located on the inside of my right wrist. Always I have been in love with this country, as long as I can remember, and it is the passion that I have for this beautiful place that led me to open my travel agency Boomerang Escapes. The map outline itself was copied by my tattoo artist from the name badge that I wore during my #amazingaussieadventure sponsored by Travel2, a supplier of Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific vacation packages. It truly inspires me as I glance at it during my work day.
I received my second tattoo on the same day as the first. It too represents my love for Australia, but also the passion for my business. I showed the artist my business logo, which is comprised of two koalas on a branch, and adapted it to a tattoo for my lower back right hip. For me, it provides reinforcement and drive to make my business a success. In addition, I get to see my favorite animal in the mirror.
My third tattoo, came only a short couple of months later. It is a dragon fly located on my left big toe. I chose the dragon fly first because whenever I go out to my backyard to lay out at the pool they gather around me and settle often on my toes as I sit soaking up the sun. They are such a beauty to watch. The second reason is what the dragonfly symbolizes:
Maturity and Depth of Character
Power and Poise
Defeat of Self-Created Illusions
Focuses on Living in the Moment
The Opening of One’s Eyes
These are all characteristics that I seek to practice and embody in my own life and work. I find travel to be a powerful tool for achieving these states and the tattoo on my toe a reminder of the direction I am heading.
My fourth tattoo came with my last trip. This tattoo was more than getting a tattoo, but to actually have it be part of my trip experience. We were made aware that it was possible at several of the resort locations in French Polynesia that we would be visiting that we could have a tattoo artist meet with us in the resort’s spa. I decided to wait until my last island experience on Taha’a to arrange to have an artist from Rangiroa come over to the spa. It was such a special experience as the artist asked what I wanted and why I wanted it. He then created a one of kind tattoo to represent something personal for me. I ended up with four flowers that encompass the French Polynesia triangle. Within the tattoo is a the Tiare for Tahiti, one for Rangiroa and one for Taha’a with a final flower that brings all the islands together. In addition there are other symbols, such as triangles to represent shark’s teeth for protection.
You may have noticed I did not say my last tattoo. I have plans to collect at least 3 more souvenir tattoos to complete the areas of the South Pacific that I specialize in, Cook Islands, Fiji and New Zealand.
Just recently I did a webinar on New Zealand and found that I can take care of this when I visit Roturua on New Zealand’s North Island. Similar to Tahiti, you can meet with an artist and discuss your design and what meaning it has for you. However, for those of you not quite ready to take home a permanent souvenir on your skin, you may have your tattoo design done on fabric. Your unique design and cultural artwork could then be framed and become an original piece for your wall at home. No matter what you collect or bring home for a souvenir it is bound to have lasting memories of an experience your heart treasures.
Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI.
She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds. Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind. She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember. With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.
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