The swallow tattoo was a symbol used historically by sailors to show off their sailing experience. Of British origin in the early days of sailing, it was the picture of a Barn Swallow, usually tattooed on the chest, hands or neck. According to legend, a sailor with one swallow had traveled over 5,000 nautical miles (9000 km), a sailor with two swallows had traveled 10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km) Traveling these great distances was extremely difficult and dangerous in the early days. sailing, so one or more swallow tattoos signified a very experienced and valuable sailor. It is legend that if the sailor drowns, the swallows will carry their souls to heaven, that freedom and hope.