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I got a hideous tattoo while on holiday. 20 years later, I’ve covered it up

Question: Have you ever gotten or seen a hideous tattoo?

For some, they’re the ultimate holiday souvenir. A permanent symbol of an enriching experience in a foreign land, a work of art to gaze upon as you recall a time and place that left an indelible impression not just on your soul, but on your skin as well. For the rest of us, they’re a cringe-inducing reminder of the day we perhaps had a few drinks too many on the beach and asked a stranger to ink us with a bizarre design that did not hold up well to the cruel hands of time.Sadly, I fell into the latter group. In my case, it was a large piece of black “tribal” art etched across the length of my lower back with an arrow in the lower center pointed in a rather unfortunate direction. And sorry, I’m not showing it here. Call me a coward if you must, but it was just that bad.I was in my early 20s, in Bali. It was just one stop on a year-long adventures filled with mishaps including a bad Thailand motorbike accident and a stint on an Australian farm putting stickers on papayas after getting robbed at a nature reserve. None of those experiences were as regrettable as this tattoo. I put little thought into it, deciding to get the ink on a whim after meeting an up-and-coming tattooist in the island’s north. Fast forward two decades and, big shocker, I loathed the thing. I spent years trying to hide it while at the beach or the pool, leaving me with limited swimwear choices, deeming it a constant reminder of my younger self’s penchant for making rash decisions.

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