When I was 25, I traveled to Colorado with some friends to see the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, Garden of the Gods, Red Rocks, Boulder, and other amazing sights. The ten-year anniversary of my mother’s death had just passed and although I was happily living in Boston, surrounded by great friends, something was off. I was at a place in my life where I was searching for something. I didn’t really know what that ‘something’ was but I was pretty sure I would find it in Colorado.
Before leaving, I not only decided on the places I needed to see on my trip, I also decided on the things I must accomplish. The first thing that I needed to do was find a very special place with a babbling brook where I could sit on a rock and listen to the sounds I was sure would help me find the “something” I was looking for.
Me and my babbling brook, Colorado 1997
The second thing I was determined to do while there, was to finally get the tattoo (my first) of a “tribal seagull,” inspired by the book, Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Before my trip, my good friend, Leah gifted me a special journal with an inspirational dedication page that featured the sketch she had drawn of my tattoo. It was before the time of Google, so I flew west, not knowing where I was going to get this meaningful ink. However, I did know that like my babbling brook, I would find it and it would bring me closer to the “something” I needed to discover.
After many days witnessing the beauty of Colorado, I finally found my babbling brook. One of my traveling companions snapped the shot you see above and then left me to sit, think, and listen to the sounds I so needed to hear. When they picked me up later that day, my friend, Eric was carrying a local paper with an ad for a tattoo parlor called Bolder Ink in Boulder, which was the next town we would be visiting.
The following day, journal in hand, the cutest tattoo artist you ever saw tattooed my tribal seagull on my right hip. Placement of a tattoo is very personal. For me, the most important thing was that I would be able to see my tattoo, since it was for me and no one else. Once it was finished, I looked down and smiled. It was as if my feathered friend had always been there. Both this bird and my visit to the babbling brook brought me peace and gave me the “something” that I needed…something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I returned to Boston refreshed, energized, and content.
Just this past April, I celebrated my 45th birthday by taking a trip to visit friends in London and Paris and by getting my second tattoo. After a difficult stretch of years that included the loss of my sister and my divorce, I had to again begin the search for the “something” I needed to bring me back to life again.
The twelve days spent abroad were incredible. The places I visited and people I met, were like the soothing sights and sounds of the babbling brook I had found in Colorado twenty years before.
Those who love to travel will understand when I share David Mitchell’s quote, “Travel far enough, you meet yourself.” There is so much beauty in our lives, yet sometimes one must travel far enough away from it to really appreciate it. Somehow, visiting new places and meeting new people is just the refocusing tool needed to return to your own life with the “something” you need to be happy.
After returning from my trip, I knew exactly what tattoo I needed to get–a lotus flower. It was the perfect symbol to remind me of all the beauty in the world that persists no matter how difficult life may get.
I will always love to travel and dream of going many more places in this great big world. But for the times when I cannot get away, I will just look down at my wrist with that perfectly beautiful lotus flower and know that the “something” I need is right there within me.
My lotus flower tattoo and an important message I need to remind myself often
Peace and love ☺♥