What Alyssa’s BUCKETLIST TATTOO Represents
This post is just for fun since a lot of people ask what the symbols on my bucketlist tattoo mean!
First and foremost; I had always wanted to get a tattoo that symbolized my first, most greatest bucketlist accomplishments, so these are all things I’ve ALREADY DONE, not that are waiting to get checked off!
Second, the tattoo is extra meaningful because:
A). I got it a day after almost “drowning” in a cenote in Mexico (read that story here), and two hours after swimming with Whale Sharks! (And that story here!).
B). I designed parts of it myself, using a few of my real photos (that the artist digitally outlined) like the Taj Mahal, and Moai Head. I drew the Kilimanjaro symbol and wrote the words inside of it!
C). The Tattoo artist was referred to me by someone I had just met in Playa del Carmen, and when he saw my design, and how meaningful it was, he gave it to me for free!
So without further ado, here’s what the symbols actually mean!
1. Globe with Number 7: Reaching All 7 Continents
My first travel bucketlist ever was reaching Antarctica and ticking off all 7 continents (like most travelers). I’ve never worked harder to accomplish something so seemingly impossible…well…besides the whole “create a career that gets you paid to travel”.
There was NO WAY I could have afforded to pay for an Antarctica expedition when I went in December 2017. The lowest price I could find was around $7k and I did not even have that in my savings account.
So, the business woman in me reached out to all of the major Antarctic expeditions, pitching endlessly for a sponsored trip. But with no luck. They all either said their target audience wasn’t millennials (apparently they think only older people with money can afford it) or they weren’t interested in the publicity.
I took this all as a learning opportunity and got strategic. After asking on IG if anyone would be interested in going to Antarctica, I then asked one of the companies if they would give me my spot on the trip if I got five people to come with me. They said yes. And so I accomplished my bucketlist goal of reaching all 7 continents in December 2017.
Oh, and of course my trip was super EXTRAAA: we even went paddleboarding, had a sauna on board, and the crew had a massive 30th birthday brunch for me!
Read my Antarctica Stories and Tips Here:
2. Taj Mahal with Number 7: Reaching All of the New 7 Wonders of the World
As soon as I heard there were new lists for the 7 World Wonders (man-made and natural), I added them to my bucketlist. That was back in like 2014. In December of 2016, I reached my 7th of the Wonders: Christ the Redeemer in Rio, which was an extra big accomplishment because I basically loop-holed getting a visa to get there.
The full story will be in my upcoming novel, “Yes, I’m Traveling Alone”, but essentially I got offered a business deal in Rio, and asked them to fly me to Argentina first to get a visa (which I wasn’t sure I’d get). I then proceeded to fly myself to another major bucketlist check: Iguazu Falls, got the visa there, got into Brazil, saw Christ the Redeemer, then went to my LAST of the 7 Wonders of Nature: the Amazon Rainforest.
Curious what the list of New 7 World Wonders are? Check out my recent post which includes my tips!
3. Waterfall with Number 7: Reaching all of the 7 Wonders of Nature
As mentioned above, I reached the last two of the New 7 World Wonders of Nature in one trip. Iguazu Falls was by far my biggest accomplishments, and one of my first major bucketlist goals along with Antarctica and Easter Island.
I’ll be coming out with a full blog post about all of them, but the full list of the New 7 World Wonders of Nature are:
4. Elephant with Number 5: Big 5 Animals of Africa
Another one of my major bucketlist goals was to go on a safari in Africa, and see the Big 5! I’ve now gone on several safaris and have seen the Big 5 many times, including in:
The Big 5 Animals of Africa are: lion, elephant, rhino, water buffalo, and leopard. I completed this bucketlist goal in 2017 as well.
5. Mountain Outline with “Kilimanjaro”: Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
…With two weeks notice. A female founded and run adventure company had reached out to me in January of 2018 to ask if I would be interested in being their ambassador for their International Women’s Day trek.
I accepted, without any prior intense hiking experience besides the 4 day Inca Trail hike, and without any training besides traveling non-stop. Despite many people on the trip and trail doubting me due to my appearance and lack of “professional gear”, I met many amazing women, realized how badass I am, and was the first to summit on International Women’s Day.
Check out my Kilimanjaro posts here:
6. Coral : Diving the Great Barrier Reef
Like most of us, we constantly hear that global warming is destroying the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. So I made it one of my bucketlist goals to go diving to see it first.
It was actually a super random, extremely ambitious/risky move that I took right after climbing Kilimanjaro. I was “on a roll” and didn’t want to stop the adventures. But booking a diving trip last minute to the Great Barrier Reef doesn’t always work. The weather can be fickle, and spots are limited.
Luckily I did an Instagram meet up in Sydney and met a girl from LA who knew a guy who was a dive instructor for GBF tours. She connected us and I flew up the next morning to do the dive!
Here’s some info for diving the Great Barrier Reef: How to Dive the Great Barrier Reef
7. Moai Head: Experiencing Easter Island
As I mentioned, this was one of my absolute top bucketlist goals of my LIFE along side Antarctica and Iguazu Falls. I just could never afford it until a few years after I started traveling/blogging.
There was no way of getting a collaboration because the island is still very uh, un-technologically-advanced (as it should be), so I had to save up a lot for this trip.
Finally, again in December 2017, I made plans to do it, right before going to Patagonia AND Antarctica. Talk about the most epic moth OF MY ENTIRE LIFE!
So intense that I have yet to write itineraries for Easter Island or Patagonia (probably because I flipped a rental car there), but have at least written this myth buster about the Moai Heads.
So there you have it! A shit ton of stories permanently displayed as symbols on my forearm, with an additional story of getting them on top of that! I’ll definitely be continuing it up the back of my arm, likely soon since it’s been two years since I got it and I’ve accomplished a lot more!
Next tattoos I will likely add will be:
- The Number 100 with a “Butt Nut” as the zeros: Signifying reaching my 100th country in 2019, which was the Seychelles — another major bucketlist destination that is iconic for its…butt-shaped coconuts
- Baobab Tree — symbolizing exploring and learning about Madagascar; yet another destination I never thought I would make it to!
- Sagrada Familia with the number 47: Signifying my move to Barcelona…and enduring a 47 day strict mandatory home confinement due to the global pandemic.
- Phoenix — to represent the four times I almost died abroad, but fought to bounce back, and kept going.
My Other Tattoos Are:
- The words “World” and “Peace” on the outside of my palms, so when put together in prayer-hands, says the phrase together — World Peace, Love, and Happiness are my religion, and that’s what I always pray for.
- Lotus Mandala on my ribs: This will get it’s own post, but essentially I designed this while on the bus during one of my India group trips because the lotus mandala kept showing up in my life. To me it represents the many intricate layers of my life that have lead me to where I am now. There are certain small symbols in it representing these things. At the bottom is a “unalome” which represents the “path to enlightenment”: the squiggly part usually represents chaos, so instead of squiggles, it’s my handwriting of the word “everyday”.
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