I’ve always been fascinated by Calvin and Hobbes. Dennis the Menace, Peanuts, and even the magnificent Dilbert couldn’t hold a candle to Watterson’s, and thus Calvin’s, imagination. While Garfield recycled another joke about lasagna, Calvin was trading Earth to aliens in exchange for alien leaves to because he had procrastinated collecting them for a class project.
Though Calvin’s colorful, imaginative stories first caught the eye, he also had many strips which seemed too introspective to share a panel with an imaginary tiger; Watterson pulled it off.
While I appreciated how Watterson inserted environmental, political, and at times existential themes into his jokes, it was Calvin’s sense of wanderlust that always brought me back to the strip. That word was never used, but it was clear that Calvin felt the need to escape into the unknown.
When I set out backpacking in 2014 I felt I had a fresh start. I didn’t know what was ahead of me and didn’t feel things were too bad behind me, but the thrill of starting anew was overwhelming. Nothing was impossible and success was not guaranteed. When the flight touched down in Brazil my life was instantly reset. It was time to explore.
After a year of backpacking, I worked short hours so I made Hobbes (full story here) and brought him with me while I traveled the world, from breaking down in Patagonia to hitchhiking in Malawi to a interpreting at a Greek refugee camp and plenty of places in between. Hobbes has now been to thirteen countries and has had countless adventures.
Hobbes, the handmade doll which sat in my closet 99% of the time, had become an important part of my life in an indescribable way.
At the end of 2016 I went back to the U.S. to see family, get healthy and be a happy, well-adjusted adult. It didn’t work. In February I found myself again Brazil where my life had taken a hard left turn before. This was my life now. I needed something more permanent than a doll. So I got something permanent.
As if on cue, two days after I got the tattoo done I saw this on my in-flight magazine.
Getting the tattoo done in Portuguese felt right as Brazil was the start of my last journey as well as the start of my current life. Some might say it’s immature or ask if I know it’s permanent, but they’re them and I’m me, and my life couldn’t be better.
All Calvin and Hobbes cartoons on this post were illustrated by Bill Watterson and are the property of Andrew McMeel Universal.
Please don’t sue me Mr. Watterson. I make no money from this blog and I’m not too bad of a person.