Maman! Maman!

This morning, today, I’ve done something crazy…!

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Maman! Maman!

This morning, today, I’ve done something crazy…!

Crazy like the day I decided to give up everything, sell everything and spend a year in New Zealand.

Crazy like scuba diving in a shipwreck, like a cruise amongst the fjords, like swimming with sea turtles, like watching an aurora australis, like looking at dolphins doing backflips, like lying down in a cave staring at glow worms on the ceiling.

Crazy like living an entire year without a home. Hitch hiking, couchsurfing.

Crazy like 10 days in Japan.

Maman, it hurted a bit, but not that much. I closed my eyes, thought about all of these beautiful experiences that I had thanks to New Zealand. And the tingling cradled me.

This is a piece of New Zealand, these Pohûtakawas.

A piece of New Zealand under my skin. A piece of this sweet madness I was right to listen to.

I hope you find it pretty. I’ll send you soon more pictures, when my wound will healed.

I love you. Céline.

I knew it. I knew that I wanted to get tattooed before leaving. I’ve been thinking about making my skin blossom for years now. Travellers usually get tattooed before they leave a country. Some even get tattoos in every country they’re travelling to. I thought about it, again and again.

Opportunity. I needed an opportunity. When Flo (& Mr Wellington) decided to get tattooed in Taupo, I took my chance. It was pretty quick as a decision, like a whim: I’ll be Taupo, Heather would send me a draft tonight, I got an appointment for tomorrow 10:00 AM. As I’m watching Flo getting scars on the table, my thoughts are racing.

All of a sudden, you start to dread. Because it’s for life. What if I got bored of the pattern? What will it be looking like when I’ll be older? What do my relatives would think about it? Would it be difficult to get a job afterwards? Does it hurt?

With a little help of my friends Flo and Anaïs (Whatsapp is wonderful, don’t you think?), I throw away all of my doubts to the (silver) ferns. I relax, and the pain is not that intense after all. I thought about Anaïs and how we were such in peace when we were lying down in this glow worm cave in Whangarei. About our adventures together. About all of my adventures. At the end, thinking about all of this while Heather was tattooing my skin, it was like engraving all of my memories. I can’t regret this tattoo at the end, as I regret nothing of my journey. I reached a moment of pure bliss, at the edge of falling asleep. The tattoo machine was vibrating on my skin and it cradled me.

It took me a day to adjust. To get used to it. Now, it’s like it has been here forever, this tattoo. It’s part of myself as any mole.

“How could I regret of living?” Told me Anaïs.

I get it now.


CASPER COBBOLD TATTOO,  1/57 Tongariro St, Taupo


  • You can’t repeat this enough times. Check the sanitary conditions of your tattoo artist.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions, even if they seem stupid to you. Your tattoo artist is your friend. (and it’s also a professional)
  • It’s better to be sure. This one isn’t like a Malabar one. It won’t fade away with soap.
  • A tattoo, that’s also some needles injecting ink under your skin. Between dermis and epidermis. Needles can hurt. Get ready to cope with pain or to snore like a baby on the table, it really depends – or get ready to alternate those both states as quick enough as you say Outch!


  • It’s so much better if you choose a spot on your skin that won’t get on contact with your backpack. Or be ready to spend a few days in the same place while you’re healing.
  • You have to take care of your tattoo. Even if you’re a backpacker, you’ll have to be sure to get access to hot water for a few days in order to clean this mess. So, be sure to book some nights in a backpacker hostel, mate. Forget about camping in your car/van for a few days.
  • As you’re going to need to clean your tattoo regularly for the first two or three days and wrap in cling wrap, you should buy some cling wrap in advance at Pack’N’Save. And be aware that sometimes, in the libraries and gas stations you can find hot water. Otherwise, there’s always hot water in Restaurants and Cafés.
  • Clean your tattoo with mild soap, neutral Ph is better.
  • Your tattoo doesn’t like either the sun or the water. Not the better time to go to Bali, baby.
  • If you’re working in a dusty, dirty, sunny environment (like if you’re picking), in other words, if you’re staying a bad environment for your tattoo to heal safely, wrap it with cling wrap even after the first two/three days when you’re wound is bleeding both ink and blood. Another option would be to protect it in a sock you just cut that can adapt perfectly to your arm or leg.
  • The few gross steps of your tattoo after getting tattooed: red and swollen, then you’re going to bleed ink and blood in your cling wrap (bon appétit!), and then you’re going to peel like a snake, and finally ô bloody hell, it’s going to get itchy. It’s good because it means you’re healing. But beware, if you itch your skin, you will damage your precious. So it’s exactly like with the bloody sandflies bites, you’ll have to persuade yourself really hard NOT TO ITCH YOURSELF. Even at night.
  • I highly recommend the Hustle Butter Deluxe by Richie Bulldog. It smells like coconut heaven.


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