That Time I Got An Elephant Tattoo In A Hut

by | Nov 13, 2012 | Reflections, Thailand | 6 comments

This past summer I had the opportunity to go back to the place I fell in love with in 2011, the Elephant Nature Park (ENP). During my return trip there, I met a woman named Jodi. Jodi is from the United States, where she used to work as a tattoo artist. For the last eight years, she has lived in a bamboo hut at ENP, married a Thai man and is now raising a son. This new life of hers is something that I can only dream of having. When she moved to the park she brought her tattoo equipment along with her and gladly tattoos volunteers who approach her. There are also quite a few mahouts walking around with tattoos of their elephants done by Jodi.

After lunch one afternoon, Jodi and I walked down the path to her home. Elephants and chickens graze and run freely around it and she was even nursing a baby bird back to health inside. Okay, so maybe not the most sanitary of places but I could not resist. Getting a tattoo of my favorite animal, in a hut, in one of my favorite places on Earth? How could I say no?

It took only five minutes of time, my foot propped up on a stool, before I had a perfect little elephant tattooed on my inner left ankle. A reminder of how much forgiveness these elephants are capable of to still trust humans, of how important forgiveness and gentleness is in our lives. A reminder of one of my personal favorite eles at the park, Jokia. A reminder that outside of this craziness that we call life, there is a place where time, money, and stress just don’t matter. A reminder of a place that changed my life and my perspective.

Below is another photo of a tattoo done by Jodi, on my friend Lauren who I volunteered with back in 2011. Hers is way more kickass than mine, I only wish I could pull that off:

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