I won a Henk "Hanky Panky" Schiffmacher Tattoo!
Craziest and coolest thing ever.
I made a video about it here: https://youtu.be/7ZeVLiQZ78k
Now that covers all the basics, so go give it a watch and it should catch you up.
What I want to talk about in a bit more depth is why THAT tattoo!
I have wanted a second tattoo for 30 years.
The last tattoo I got was back in 1992 (or around then).
It is a tattoo that has a deep meaning.
A dark meaning.
A moment in my life that I never want to forget, but not for good reasons.
But only a few people know the full story and that is what I love about it.
On the surface, it seems happy and fun.. but there is a serious reason there to always remind me.
I say all this just to explain that tattoos for me have to be something incredibly important. I won't just go out and get one.
For the last 30 years I have wanted a tattoo but...
What? - I just couldn't decide on anything. I couldn't think of anything that touched me to the core.
Where? - Again, the placement is everything. I wanted a big one on my back, but I always used the excuse of "I have a fat back. It isn't something I want to ink."
And then there is the money; if I have 500 euros then I will spend it on something else. A new camera to help make a bigger impact with my plogging. Or something for my sports etc.
I never felt I could justify spending it on a tattoo.
But then this competition happened and it became clear.
The stars aligned. The What, and The Where came to me in a flash and the Cost was nothing.
On top of that, there was the fact that such an incredible person as Henk would do it.
So let's explain the What and Where
I can't remember how I came up with the slogan "PLOG, RUN LONG, VEGAN" now, but it is something I have used for years now.
The PLOG and VEGAN bits are logical.. but RUN LONG? Why not ultra runner or marathon run etc? Well, I think I wanted to say that I am a runner who prefers to run further.
For me, RUN LONG means I love running for 2hrs or more. It means I love running 4,000km a year and it means I love the marathon distance and beyond. It isn't a set distance or quantity, but a feeling.
I joke that these three things are the only things I am good at. And in a way they are. Or rather, they are the things I am most proud of.
I started Waye of Life to re-find myself. Find my happiness. Find my passion. My joy.
PLOG - As a teenager, I was very ethical. But I lost that in my mid20s to 50s. Sure I was still trying to be a nice person. But it wasn't comparable to that teenager.
You hear people say, "do it for yourself, not for others". "don't compare yourself to others". For me, it is "I want to make that 17yr old version of myself proud"
I compare myself to him and what he stood for.
Plogging is very much aligned with reigniting that ethical and caring person I used to be.
RUN LONG - For 20 years I was a 'triathlete' - I went from Olympic distance straight up to full Ironman distance. I only did 2 (Germany, 2002 & Switzerland, 2006) but that was only because I had a young family. If I didn't have those I would have done one each year.
But I was doing triathlons less and less. They were crazy expensive to do and I wasn't equally excited by each discipline
Sure I love, love, LOVE swimming and biking, but in a triathlon, the swim became my warm up and the bike was just to get to the run.
And on YouTube, I was just watching runners, not triathletes.
So I switched and focused on running. The true passion that I had been doing since I was 13.
The bike and swimming remain the loves of my life but without the pressure of competition.
The best switch for happiness I have made. Each run is a joy.
VEGAN. Oh gosh.. then the newest of the three. Since Jan 1st 2019.
But it remains the most impactful thing I have ever done.
I did it for health and trendy reasons, but I remain for ethical and environmental ones. Being vegan is like lifting a weight from my body. A lightness and joy from not hurting animals.
So these three things are at my core.
And I don't want to hide it. I want these to be as big and bold as I can make them.
I don't want to have to explain to someone that if you translate these symbols from Sanskrit you get plog, run long and vegan
I don't want to symbolise it in drawings - "that rowboat on the ocean that is floating beside a lifebuoy symbolises my passion for plogging and reaching out to save the oceans"
I want someone to see it and go.. yep, it is clear. You live plogging, running long distances and being a vegan!
Originally I wanted to have decoration around the words to make it 'cooler' but that would only distract from the message.
PLOG... RUN LONG... VEGAN!
So that only left the 'where'
Originally I wanted it on my upper arm or somewhere hidden.
But then I thought about the 'What', and the 'What' they stand for.
I want these to be visible.
To be seen.
To be read.
To help me make an impact.
So, they are placed where they are to be 'instagrammable', to be photographed.
To be seen when I bend down to pick up trash.
To be seen when I stand for a photo.
To be seen holding trash.
To be seen when I run passed someone.
So that is why they are at the angle there are.
To be readable when picking up trash and when folding my arms.
I won't hide it. I want this tattoo to be something people want to see.
I am incredibly proud
of these three things
They are a PERMANENT pledge of my passion and commitment to my 17 year old self and the planet.