We've all got them. The time you busted out your best Spanish and accidentally told the elderly Colombian man that you had a negative opinion of his mother's morals. The moment you realised you had mistakenly walked in on the men's timeslot in a Moroccan hammam and you wished you had packed a black hole to swallow you instead of that bikini. No travel adventure is complete without a tale of some cultural or linguistic mishap, the more shudder-worthy the better.
And then, when the story is over, the memory is shelved until its next retelling and life goes on unscathed. Unless, of course, your moment is the one where you decided to indelibly imprint yourself with a tattoo by which to remember the moment.
"Travel tattoos – those oh-so-permanent souvenirs – have joined the ranks of hostel guitar-playing and shark-tooth necklaces as global symbols of backpacker douchebaggery."
Harsh, but fair. But then, as Anita goes on to point out,
"I'd wager that fans of impromptu tattoos are doing what we all attempt when we travel: hoping to absorb a precious moment for posterity."
And afterall, isn't that at the root of every grand travel tale ever spun? Trying to capture the moment is something we're all guilty of.
"Some travellers point their Nikon, others upload to Instagram. Then there’s compulsive souvenir shoppers, eager to take traces of an adventure home. [Ummm - can anyone here relate?!] I've been known to note down recipes on the road, in the hope of conjuring flavours of a far-flung place – though it never tastes the same back home," says Anita.
"They're all strategies for capturing the joy of travel and taking it with us."
That's true enough. But at the risk of making a value judgement, telling a story is probably a better option for most.
So go on, get those stories out. And if you ever need a listening ear, we're here for you - just be prepared to return the favour.