I have six tattoos, four of which have personal meaning. The first one I ever got was a dragon flying across a sunset at the top of my back on the right hand side.  I had it done for no other reason other than I liked the design and I wanted a tattoo. And to date (that was in 1994) I have only ever seen one more like it. I forget it is there half the time. The second one was a black Celtic sign which is on my lower back on the left side- positioned there to be opposite the first one and to be “balanced”.

Then in 2008 I went travelling to Thailand, among other places, and a lot of people get tattoos to remind themselves of their time away.  And the four I ended up having are all in Thai but I took a while to think of something meaningful. So the first one was on my right leg- reading down towards my ankle- it says “happiness, love, good luck”- ความสุข (khwām s̄uk̄h), ความรัก (khwām rạk), โชคดี (chokh dī). It isn’t very big and I think the guy had trouble keeping the letters smallish- but the tattoo guys are so talented, they probably could do anything you asked for.

The second one was on the opposite leg in the same place, (remember I like to be balanced) and on this leg- “friendship, freedom, peace”- เสรีภาพ (s̄erīp̣hāph), ความสงบสุข (khwām s̄ngb s̄uk̄h), มิตรภาพ (mitrp̣hāph).

So as I said it took me ages to think of the right words for me. I am a happy person who will find love (and I don’t just mean from being with someone) from everyone I find and I wish everyone good luck in whatever venture they choose for their life.  No one can have too many friends and on my travels I have accumulated quite a few. The freedom to do whatever one pleases and wishing for a peaceful existence.

Phuu Khao Yai

Then I had my name in Thai carved onto my wrist- again I liked the design although I am not altogether convinced it actually says Gill.

My Name in Thai
My Name in Thai

I also have “big mountain” tattooed on my neck- big mountain ภูเขา (phuu khao) ใหญ่ (yai).  It’s not very big and when people ask me what it means and I say big mountain- they look at me as if to say “huh?”; but I love nature and this one represents my time travelling around Thailand.

Friendship, Freedom and Peace
Friendship, Freedom and Peace

I don’t regret any of my tattoos, although I have been worried in the past- on landing a teaching job in Thailand and realising I had to wear a skirt, I thought I was going to get sacked before I had even begun. But my boss told me she was not worried and that was that-I taught the kids there for 3 years-there are certain stigma’s attached to tattoos but that should not be the case. Just because people have tattoos does not mean they cannot hold down respectable jobs, like teaching kids.

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