Some might say I’m a professional traveller. That’s not technically true, because I don’t make money from travelling – quite the opposite, in fact. I’m an influencer by trade, and the travelling is more like part of my job than the job itself. Just as some people send emails or answer phones as part of their job, I travel to island paradises as part of mine. 

Another thing my job entails is finding innovative ways to weave together my clients’ messaging with these idyllic locales and the kinds of things that travellers might choose to do when visiting them. The latest thing I’ve come up with is getting a tattoo that somehow relates to a given client’s message, however tangentially, while in the given location. I document the whole experience through video, and post the whole thing in my stories. 

Of course, this particular service is only available for ultra-premium clients – it’s not like I’m getting myself covered with commercial logos or anything. But if the price is right… well, what can I say? I’ll get a stylised tortoise on my collarbone from a tattoo artist local to Delhi, even if it is a tie-in for a multinational investment fund for the pharmaceutical industry. I mean, in the long run, who’s going to be any the wiser? That tortoise could represent anything, including a fun recreational trip to India, and my bank account is undoubtedly better off for it.

The only regrettable experience I’ve had with this strategy was when I was looking for a place to get a tattoo close to Siargao. I took too long comparing shops, and ended up having to go over to Bali to get it done in the timeframe. The client then refused to pay me, because I didn’t do the thing as per the terms of the contract. For some reason, they insisted, it had to be in Siargao in order for it to be of use to them. So in the end I lost a whole lot of money, not to mention skin, to a baby panda in headphones. I learned an important lesson there.