For years I’ve been wanting to get a tattoo in Jamaica just to say I did it. Well I finally did it and this story has some great history to it. A couple years ago before many of you were readers, I met a guy in the street who was begging for money and discovered that he was a former tattoo artist out of Kingston who had an unfortunate accident in his life that left his hands mangled and unusable. He lost his tattoo shop (and everything else) and was reduced to life on the streets. To make a long story short, I kept in contact with the guy, did some fundraising through this blog and ended up sending him a pile of money to put towards the surgeries he needed to fix his hands and become useful again. After that we just lost contact for a while and I had no idea what became of him.
While I was living in Jamaica earlier this year I ran into him and was astonished at the man he became compared to the one I’d met years before. He is now well-dressed, good looking, thickened up and has really changed his life for the better! Since regaining the use of his hands he got back into art and was in the process of saving money to buy tattoo supplies and restart his career. You can see how this story is coming full circle right?
A couple weeks before leaving on my last trip I had mentioned to a friend in Canada that I may come back with a tattoo finally!! So on my first day back in Jamaica I made the call to Delroy and told him I’m coming to Montego Bay and wanted a tattoo. It seemed so fitting that my Jamaica tattoo be done by the guy my readers and I helped years ago….I was excited!
Since Delroy doesn’t have a new shop set up yet the plan was that I’d come to his family yard in Tower Hill, Montego Bay and get the tattoo at his home. As of now, since he doesn’t have the cash to restart a shop he told me he does house calls for his clients and I was the first to actually get it done in his home. When he had his shop in Kingston he did many tattoos for Jamaican celebrities and music artists…..Cecile and T.O.K. are on his roster of former clients.
He dug out his brand new box of supplies and of course I made sure to take pics of everything. It’s what I do!! All his supplies were new and wrapped and I even got to open my own needle package. I watched him assemble the tattoo gun and get everything ready to scar me for life!
Here’s a picture of the room my tattoo was done in. Later it became home to five of us – I spent the night in here with Delroy, his cousin and two small nephews and went back to Ocho Rios the next day. I even got to have some awesome red pea soup his auntie made while I was there.
The tattoo I wanted is a phrase I read a long time ago that was the most fitting for me and my life. It says “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” and it speaks a lot about my free spirit and lust for travel and doing what I do. I told Delroy I wanted it to be done in a pretty font but not too perfect so he decided he was going to do it freehand. I have to admit I was a little nervous that he would be doing it on my back where I couldn’t see it. For all I know he could have written “I Like To Kill People” and I’d never know it til it was done! So I made him take photos every once in a while and show me the camera so I could see what was going on.
The initial part of this process was kind of sexy LOL. I don’t know about you but I love having my back tickled and when he was preparing my skin and sketching the phrase it felt so nice – but nice and sexy turned into hell when the gun came out! After I viewed the sketch he drew on my back he told me to lay down on the bed and we’d get started! I was kind of chicken because I’d only ever had one small tattoo done before and it’s on my upper arm where it didn’t really hurt at all. This one on my back was a whole different story….OUCH!!! The following picture was taken with my Blackberry, it’s the only one that turned out since I was taking them blindly while laying there.
The finished product only took about 30 minutes and I am completely happy with it aside from some shading and color I might add in the future. But at this time I only wanted the black lettering. They say when you get a tattoo you should be SURE of what you want and it should mean something to you so you don’t regret it. This one has so many meanings for me considering the circumstances and the person who did it. In my opinion every tattoo should tell a story and this one definitely does.
Once we were finished and I was thoroughly in pain we cleaned up the room and decided to head into the town for drinks! Our first stop was the pharmacy to pick up some lotion for the tattoo and then we went to a little bar in downtown Mobay, had drinks and talked about how funny life is and the interesting people who come into our lives along the way.
If you’re ever in the Montego Bay area and would like to get a tattoo let me know and I’ll put you in touch with Delroy. He’ll come to you and get it done!