Tattoo. On my left arm. Coordinates, to my favorite spot in Iceland. Please view:
And the Icelandic spot in question, Seljalandsfoss:
And now you get to hear me talk about why.
Well for one, I've wanted a tattoo for a long, long time. But I was never quite sure WHAT. Something floral? Song lyrics? Something artistic? Something with specific personal meaning? A little of all of the above?
I've said it before and I'll say it again: when I know what I want, I am a very decisive person. Once I see or think of something and my gut says "yes, that thing," I latch on and make it happen. It's been my way with many big decisions in my life.
When I saw the coordinates tattoo, it was like that. It just clicked. On the surface, it communicates some straightforward things, like an interest in travel. Also, I love text. Also, it fit well right in the spot I already wanted a tattoo. Simple, subtle, but not hidden away.
As for Iceland itself...man, I'm never going to get over that place. It's a trendy travel spot right now so I'm not silly enough to say it's MY place when a lot of people probably think it's THEIR place right now. But sure, shared with a bunch of other people, it's mine :) The first place I traveled abroad. The destination I finally bought myself a passport for, at age 27, alone on Valentine's Day in city hall. I realize that could sound depressing, but that's the thing -- it wasn't! It was exciting and empowering and MINE. Much like yesterday when I went to get the tattoo done, I specifically planned to go alone. Because I wanted it to be MY experience.
The country is....well it's the best. I'm pro-America, I think we have our great things and our problem areas, but I don't want to be one of those people that is like AMERICA SUCKS, THIS OTHER COUNTRY DOES EVERYTHING RIGHT. But, Iceland does a lot of things really well! Extremely little violence, super pro equality/feminism/gay rights.....just a quaint, rugged little destination of "everyone's welcome here but leave your bullshit offshore" kind of vibe. And I can get down with that in a big way.
The waterfall itself, is stunning. Smaller than some of the other waterfalls I saw in Iceland, but breathtaking. Simple, subtle, but not hidden away. (See what I did there??) Holding its own.
Also that whole summer...man. Pivotal. My Iceland trip (pictures here and here) came at a crux time when I was like FIGURE OUT ALL THE THINGS and my head and heart were like 23 levels of tumultuous. It felt amazing and symbolic to literally, physically take myself halfway around the world to this rugged, remote, peaceful, insanely beautiful rock of an island and just process some things. It felt free, and more or less marked the beginning of the next few months of cutting myself free of so many tangles and weights in my life. It's a time period I want to anchor myself to and always carry with me in many ways, and now I literally, physically do.
And for those of you asking the inevitable "did it hurt" question....well the best description is one I read online, which said it feels like an electric cat scratch! Stings in the moment, uncomfortable but nothing terrible, and then it goes away. A day later, it feels like a sliiiiight sunburn, which I'm told might hurt a little more over the next few days. Honestly, nothing to be scared of. When she started tattooing I was so relieved, because it didn't hurt nearly as much as I expected it to. Haha. Win.
p.s. My tattoo artist was Kristy at Black & Blue Tattoo in San Francisco. She was so nice, calming and talented. She also hugged me at the end. And the tattoo shop felt like a cozy therapist's office. Highly recommended!