Tattoos: Permanent Reminders of our Latin American Adventure


Nacho and Diego admiring Shaun’s tattoo.

For those of you who don’t know – when I was 18, I worked as counter help for a known tattoo shop in Austin, Texas for 3 years. Having said that, I know what to look for when it comes to quality work and a safe, clean environment. I wasn’t about to compromise my health abroad when it came to getting a permanent reminder of our life changing experience.


Our time abroad was coming to a close and with that, we needed closure by feeding our addiction – tattoos.

It is already hard to play the “tattoos or travel” game so it is nice to treat ourselves every now and then. If we had the cash, both of us would have full sleeves by now.

The shop we picked turned out to be quite the gem – despite the name. Were we really about to walk into AMERICAN TATTOO at Bond Street while in Argentina? (Yes, I realize it means the “controversial” American, or rather, from the Americas.)



I kinda wanted to die of embarrassment.

But we went in and got placed with the coolest guys ever – Nacho (Ignacio) and Diego. Not only does the tattoo shop have sodas, snacks, and coffee to treat their customers, but it was so damn clean I could smell the green soap on everything. If it smells like a hospital, you have gone to the right place.

And OMG the decorations.


I probably got quite a few weird looks as I started clicking away at the wallpaper. Vintage to the tee! It was also adorned with signed guitars by various artists and an amazingly awesome contemporary chandelier that I wanted to take home with me.


These guys were classy. Seriously. It was one of the most amazing shops I had ever step foot in.


They started prepping us. Shaun got Nacho as he spoke English and I got chatty Diego. Poor guy had to deal with me asking him to repeat himself a few times but we were all in a GREAT mood.

This is where it gets a little messed up (in a good way). I’m officially a tattoo veteran.

My tattoo? The word “home” tattooed in cross stitch lettering (think “Home Sweet Home”) on my foot – also known as one of the most painful places on your body to get tattooed (the 4 big ones being sternum, ribs, foot, and the underarm). Just think of it as a reminder that home is where my feet are, not my possessions.


And what makes me a veteran? Not the fact I now have 3/4 of most painful under my belt but it was the fact that not only was I chatting up Diego, but I was giggling due to the tickling sensation of him wiping my foot and taking my own photos while being tattooed in one of the most painful spots. It was a little messed up. Even Diego was impressed.



Shaun? He decided to go the uber geek way.


His poison? The Zelda triforce, shield, and sword. What that has to do with our trip? I have no f*cking clue but that is what he wanted and I’m not going to be the one to knock it.


He was a little out of it while they were tattooing his calf. I’ll let that one slide though since he doesn’t have the hours of work that I do. Maybe one day he’ll have a higher pain tolerance that me – ALMIGHTY ERICA (*snicker*)! (This is also what happens when I write most of the posts, much to his dismay of me calling him a wuss.)



It was all said and done for the both of us in less than an hour. And price? Well, Buenos Aires ain’t cheap. Lets just say it was on par with getting tattooed in the States. Sure, we could have been lured in by the $30 tattoos on sale…

But really – did I want to start my story with a “So one time we got $30 tattoos in South America?”

No thank you.


42 Responses to “Tattoos: Permanent Reminders of our Latin American Adventure”

  1. Ali May 30, 2012 at 4:29 am #

    Awesome! I thought about getting a tattoo on my foot for a really long time (I have a bunch on my back) but so far I haven’t come up with anything I really want, and the pain of a foot tattoo does scare me a bit. Addicting as they are, I still find tattoos really painful. I was just happy to make it through without crying the last few times.

    Your comments about Shaun cracked me up!

    • Erica May 30, 2012 at 10:59 am #

      Oh man, I HATE getting tattooed. There is NOTHING I enjoy about the process but I love the end product enough to go through with the pain. What are you thinking about getting on your foot?

      And as for Shaun – he hates writing so I make sure to heckle him a lot so maybe he will get off his lazy ass and write something. <3

  2. Steph May 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    Looks great! I know you were nervous about finding a good shop so I’m glad you did!

    • Erica May 31, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

      It took a while but I’m glad we ended up where we were supposed to. 😛

  3. Kristina May 30, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    1. The shop was super awesome
    2. I would also like that chandelier.
    3. I love your tattoo and the meaning of it.
    4. Even though I am not an uber geek Shaun’s looked really cool.

    • Erica May 31, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

      <3 Thanks Kris. I had seen so many scary tattoo shops while we were traveling that this one blew me away. Just because people are in the States getting tattooed doesn't mean its clean. I could have eaten off the floors (not that I would have).

  4. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures May 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    Love your choices!!! What a cool parlor.

    • Erica May 31, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

      This was by far the quickest I’ve ever picked a tattoo to be on my body. I normally sit on the idea for a year before I place it on myself. I’m so happy with it!

  5. Heather May 31, 2012 at 4:05 am #

    I love your tattoo, Erica! Awesome choice both with the “home is where your feet are” and the cross stich lettering!!

    I used to love Zelda…so many good memories of playing it with neighbors when I was young. *happysigh*

    I wanted to get a tattoo when I was in college but I never quite figured out exactly what I wanted. I thought about it in Oz but didn’t get one. Maybe one day…!

    • Erica May 31, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

      Thank you Heather!

      I too have fond memories of Zelda – Windwaker came out the week of my college finals and messed me up something fierce. 😛

      I would love to see you get a tattoo (but not until you know for sure!)

  6. Amanda May 31, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    Fun!! I have yet to get a tattoo abroad, though I already have one planned for the next time I’m in New Zealand – I’ve wanted to NZ fern leaf on my foot for years, but have decided to wait until I go back there again to get it done.

    Not looking forward to that foot pain… but the other tattoo I have is around my wrist, and everyone was telling me that was going to KILL, and I didn’t think it hurt that bad at all!

    • Erica June 1, 2012 at 11:50 am #

      Ooh! The wait is going to make the experience amazing!

      The foot does suck. Not as much as the sternum. I thought my wrist was easy breezy. I’m afraid to think of what those people would think of other places on the body!

  7. Stephanie - The Travel Chica June 1, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    I almost forgot you guys got tattoos! I really like “HOME.” I cannot comment on Shaun’s because I am not an uber geek.

    • Erica June 1, 2012 at 11:51 am #

      I know. I was so behind on content (kinda on purpose) and I knew it would take a while to get this one up. 😛 Thanks on my tattoo – I’m so happy with it.

  8. Kieu ~ GQ trippin June 2, 2012 at 2:28 am #

    I thought about getting a tattoo on my foot, always thought it looks cute.. on others. Then I realized I hate my feet and don’t want to draw attention to them. Lol. Looks really cool on you though.. love the cross stitch design. 🙂

    • Erica June 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

      I’m kinda meh about my feet but feel like my tattoo makes them cuter – especially when I find toe nail polish the same color as my heart. 😛

  9. Helen Lear June 3, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    I hate the travel/tattoos dilemma. My partner is waiting to get her sleeve finished and I’ve got some neck/back work that is somewhere in the process of growing into something. A good way to end the trip though. I’m hoping to tie in something from the 2 years here in Australia…when I have the money to spare.

    Keep up the travelling and tattooing 🙂

    • Erica June 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

      I wish I could have my sleeve finished. I feel all… undone and everything. But my skin will be there when I get older so I’m not in a terrible rush. 😛

      I can’t imagine how expensive it is in Aussieland!

  10. Normand Boulanger June 3, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

    Wow, very cool. Both tattoos are very cool. I don’t know abour getting one on my foot. I often heard that it was a very painful. I have 7 and maybe I’ll stop by in Buenos Aires for an 8th one, cause that shop looks great. Thanks for sharing that.

    • Erica June 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

      It is a bit painful but not nearly as bad as some of my other ones. I can understand why some people stray away from that area. I got an extra bit of pain because my tattoo artist never moved to the shader due to the intricate design I had. I was at a 1 for the full hour!

  11. Doc Wends of Journeys and Travels June 4, 2012 at 12:25 am #

    I just love this post! I had a similar post about getting a tattoo backpacking overseas and this one, I got in Vietnam. Awesome tattoo indeed and a great way to remember every country I went and the people I met along the way.

    Awesome design you got here!


    • Erica June 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

      Howdy howdy! 😀

      I wish I could get a tattoo in every country but then… I think I would run out of room on my body lol.

  12. Camels & Chocolate June 4, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    Wow, you guys are so brave. I couldn’t do that!

    • Erica June 8, 2012 at 11:45 am #

      Well, with how much of my body is already covered, this was a cinch. 😛

  13. Ayngelina June 4, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    Very cool guys, that is definitely one of the nicest shops I have seen.

    • Erica June 8, 2012 at 11:48 am #

      Same here. The shop I worked at was nowhere NEAR that comfortable and soothing.

  14. Raymond @ Man On The Lam June 4, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    I love your HOME tattoo! Great choice.

    • Erica June 8, 2012 at 11:48 am #

      Thanks! It just clicked when I thought about it.

  15. Christy @ Technosyncratic June 5, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    I’ve been thinking about getting the word “compassion” tattooed on my foot for awhile, but I just can’t decide on the script or exactly where… and the pain factor isn’t helping me decide any faster. 😉 At least it would be an easy tattoo and over pretty quickly!

    • Erica June 8, 2012 at 11:49 am #

      There are so many fonts in the world I can’t imagine trying to pick one you like (and the tattoo artist has to agree as well!). Good luck – that is quite a few letters! 😛

  16. Abi June 6, 2012 at 12:01 am #

    One of the few things I am quite confident that I will never do…

    • Erica June 8, 2012 at 11:50 am #

      To each their own right? I would never suggest tattoos for everyone – especially with the stigma involved.

      • Abi June 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

        Stigma?! Not even sure what stigma there is…I’m just not keen on needles unless I need them!

        • Erica June 8, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

          HAHAHA! I hate needles too but I find solace in the fact that they are pins pushing ink into your skin, not piercing it.

          • Abi June 8, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

            Nice try but no. Still noooooo. Much easier to put needles into other people 😉

  17. Susan @ Travel Junkette June 8, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

    Love it! I got a tattoo while in Japan and am SO happy about it. It reminds me to live big & love big, which I try to keep as my general life motto!

    • Erica June 19, 2012 at 12:50 am #

      Awesome lady! I think it is so important to have reminders like that.

  18. Cate Brubaker July 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    I got tattooed in a bar in Beijing. I was attending university there and as western style tattooing was emerging about as quickly as China’s middle class the prices were ridiculously expensive. One of the artists secretly agreed to “moonlight” and do the work outside of the shop. It all worked out perfectly, I got exactly what I wanted and at what was a fair price. We’ve kept in touch over the last few years and I’m going back in October to get the rest of my back piece finished!

    I’m glad your experience went so well, and I love the “home” concept. Perfect!

    • Erica July 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

      That is so awesome that you get to go back and complete it! What a story!

      The interesting thing is that normally I sit on a design for a year before I get anything but this one seemed so perfect.

  19. Tim November 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    Just found your blog……and I am in BA going to get inked tonight! Thanks for the review

    • Erica December 1, 2013 at 11:34 am #

      Hey Tim! Thanks for dropping a line. How did it go? What did you get?

  20. Tim December 3, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    Got a lock and key will post on your fb page

Leave a Reply