When I set off on my round the world trip back in March 2015 there were only two things I identified as certainties…
1) I was going to do a skydive.
2) I was going to get a tattoo.

The skydive happened in New Zealand on what remains one of the craziest days of my life so far. But sadly – and I must stress this is easily done when you’re 20 years old and let off the leash on a round the world adventure – I ran out of budget for a tattoo.

Skydiving shenanigans

Eight months later and after a hell of a lot of saving, plus a lucky trip to Chelmsford races, I was back in New Zealand. When I left I not only had another bucket full of memories to last a lifetime – I also had my first tattoo.

The New Zealand Tattoo

I was in New Zealand for a month in January 2016. To be honest the idea of the tattoo wasn’t really on my mind until about week in.

Myself and the group I became close friends with on that trip were having some beers in Franz Josef when one of them said they were thinking of getting a tattoo in Queenstown – the town we’d be arriving at a few days later. I mentioned I wanted to get something travel related and the idea blossomed from there.

After a couple of days in Queenstown we found the perfect tattoo parlour which offered walk-ins. How did we know it was perfect? It was on Camp Street (My surname is Camp)

Camp Street, Queenstown

As for the design I went for a very simple silver fern associated with New Zealand. You see it all the time on All Blacks rugby shirts or Black Caps Cricket tops. And, most importantly of all, below my right ankle until the day I die.

For me this tattoo represents my years as a backpacker and my love for my favourite place in the world. New Zealand was also the first, and at the time of writing, only country I have traveled in its entirety. And if you want to throw another cliché into the fire – it’s the country where I would say I ‘found myself’. It’s certainly the place where I learned the most about myself, my values and I will always struggle to think of a time where I was happier.

21-year-old me getting my first tattoo

The London Marathon Tattoo

I’ve wanted a tattoo to represent my mental health struggles for a number of years. But nothing really ever felt right.

There are very few things that are more permanent than a tattoo. Therefore it makes sense to think about it long and hard before getting it done. It’s the opposite for me. On the two occasions I’ve got mine I’ve just known it was right – and that’s coming from a serial over-thinker.

I had the idea on Wednesday October 6th, took a stroll to the parlour a day later for a consultation and on Saturday October 9th it was done. Just in time for movie week on Strictly Come Dancing.

Ready for tattoo number two!

The design is simple. I took the Mind charity symbol and added in the London Marathon logo which doubles up as the River Thames and a figure crossing the finish line.

I think the meaning behind it is obvious. It represents my battle with my mental health problems. As well as the achievement of running the London Marathon where I raised money for Mind, a charity dedicated to helping those facing their own mental health battles. It may have only been just over a week since I crossed the finish line but I already know the marathon and everything related to it will be seared in my mind as one of the most fantastic things of my life.

Absolutely love it!

The only thing I really hesitated with was the placement, but once I considered my left wrist I didn’t have to think twice.

2021 is the five year anniversary of going public and being much more open about my mental health problems for the very first time. Before that I could count how many people knew about it on one hand and even then I thought too many people were in the know. I’ve worn them on my sleeve ever since and will continue to do so.

Why I wanted them

I was 21 when I got my first and it took almost six years for me to decide I wanted another. Obviously I love them both, otherwise I wouldn’t have them on my body in ink for the rest of my life. I’m actually one of the small minority of my friends that has one tattoo, let alone two.

Both are small and easily hidden. Some people think this is because I low-key hate or am embarrassed by them and others have even been so kind as to tell me they don’t like them. Funnily enough, I didn’t do it for them.

One of the more common comments I receive is ‘why would you have one below your ankle?’ And I’m sure the same question will be asked now I have one on the inside of my left wrist. Two places where no one can see them most of the time.

It’s a fair question to ask, but the answer is simple. I can see them. Both of my tattoos are for me. They’re to remind me of what traveling, and more specifically, New Zealand did for me. And my latest addition is to remind me of my five-year journey in developing my mental resilience, as well as what running the London Marathon for Mind created for me.

New Zealand 2016//London Marathon 2021

I’m sure there is one burning question on everybody’s mind – will Jordan be taking anymore trips to the tattoo parlour?

I guess that depends. I would describe myself as an ordinary person who occasionally does extraordinary things. By that I mean my day-to-day is pretty basic, but when I invest in something beyond that there are no half measures – I go all out.

So with that logic I hope I get more. But we’ll have to see what happens. All I’m certain about is I will know very quickly after I’ve done something that I want a tattoo to pay homage to it for the rest of my life.

2021 London Marathon

You can still donate until November 8th 2021. If you wish to do so you can by clicking the links below.
Fundraising Page: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JordanCamp
My blog post about the event
Instagram: @JordanCampLondonMarathon
Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/9589825
Mind Website: https://www.mind.org.uk


The story behind my tattoos

Jordan Camp

I’ve been sharing my writing with the world since 2015. Back then it was about travel, then I transitioned into wellbeing and mental health awareness. Soon after I was being paid for it as I wrote about sports, politics and, of course, the pandemic. My words have been published in the i, Mancunian Matters and a number of the South West London associated publications. In 2021 I ran my first marathon, for the UK mental health charity, Mind. I currently live in Essex where I am training to become an Ironman.

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