I’ve recently come across some of my old urbex photo albums, which I’ve started posting in the “Abandoned Exploration” section of my blog. Abandoned exploration has fascinated me long before I had my driver’s license, and it’s something I’d love to revisit in the near future. I guess what makes it such a compelling passion and hobby for me is the whole serendipity of being in the presence of such an immense force as time. I’ve never had much success with meditation, but some of my most tranquil, in-the-here-and-now experiences have been among ancient relics – engulfed by the surrounding environment. Hard to really describe or explain such a serene feeling with word (or even images). Urbex culture, in a broader sense, is something that I appreciate because I wouldn’t have been drawn to certain places were it not for their underground notoriety. I don’t much care for infamous locations being rampant with graffiti or exploited for paranormal fantasies, but I cannot deny the mystique of simultaneously witnessing the vacancy and the presence of humanity.
Whereas some of the structures and sites featured here have simply fallen naturally after years of decay, many others have fallen victim to demolition crews, vandals/arsonists, and in some cases even corporate greed. They had their run, and I was lucky to get there to document these places before overexposure attracted the attention of too many people to sustain their former state of preserved deterioration. Fortunately, there are still many places that remain virtually lost and forgotten by humankind: I’ve encountered my fair share of such well-protected secrets by simply following my gut and venturing forth into the wilderness, from the dense rainforests of Latin America to my current neck of the woods in temperate Pennsylvania – not far from home, but often overlooked or shielded by natural barriers from all but the more curious and intrepid explorers. Likewise, I’ve decided to use some level of discretion in revealing the whereabouts of some of these more regional haunts, as they seem to thrive as natural recolonization deems them fit for ecological succession.
Anyway, I’ve tried to arrange these photo albums in an order that makes sense both chronologically and categorically, but I still have a bunch of folders to sort through – and since the photos are quite dated, it may take a while to get together the batches that turned out halfway-decent. It would be a copout to use the platitude that the pictures don’t do any justice at all, but hopefully you’ll enjoy this for what it is 🙂
If you’d like to get an idea of what I’m looking at for my next big trip, check out my page titled “My Upcoming Venture: USA to Mexico (And Beyond).” I’ve also posted my “Mission Statement” page, which can be found in the same section. If I have time I’ll try to include a modified packing list geared toward the climate/geography of this particular region, which I’d like to supplement with some photos of my equipment (and possibly an overall weight calculation if I get around to it) for a more visual representation of the gear itself–and a general breakdown of what I’m dealing with, preparation-wise.
I’ve only tried hitchhiking once before, but that several-week 7,000+ mile journey around my home country whet my appetite for exploring new frontiers in alternative travel. I’d like to revisit hitchhiking for practical reasons (after the costs of important equipment/immunizations, I’m back on a shoestring budget) for the pursuit of experiences leading me deeper into the adventure of the unknown, presumably on a whole new playing field. I don’t count on making it as far as Mexico–or even out of the northeast USA, for that matter–but it is still an absolutely worthwhile prospect for me. As far as I’m concerned, preparation has a vaguely similar quality to expectation–yet it is a more opportunistic approach that openly takes into account the free dynamics of unhindered potential. As the old adage goes: “The journey is the destination.”
The album page is listed under the “Hitchhiking Across the U.S.” tab (http://wp.me/P4slfO-9v). It took me a while to finally get around to sorting through the thousands of pictures–selecting the decent ones to organize into an album–and putting them into chronological order, with factually accurate (or at least semi-relevant) captions took a few more whiles. But I think I’ve finally got it all in the right order–with the right names, places, and other details from the trip. Likewise, I’ve put my plans regarding book publication on hold. Although I’m about halfway though reading over my rough draft–weighing in at just over 78,000 words–I’d like to start drafting up a mission statement for whatever new adventure the future has in store for me rather than spending that time reliving past events. Getting the key elements that comprise the heart of my journey down on paper and organizing the structural principles behind each of those concepts is a necessary step for me to clear my mind. Collecting my thoughts and feelings through such media content is just one of the ways that I’m able to share the raw essence of the bigger picture until I can buckle down and smooth out the edges of the underlying substance so I can distill the roles I’ve played into the more universally-accessible state that exists in all of human potential. A casual look through my photo album reveals a glimpse of the circumstantial ebb and flow that helped facilitate my experience, but my point is that I simply decided on hitchhiking as a means to an end that any one of us could find a million other ways to reach on one’s own terms. In other words, the places and situations I share are just personal applications from my own screwy toolkit. The execution itself isn’t suitable for everyone, but the purpose is something I think we all owe ourselves to embody the full nature of who we are as individuals of spiritual truth incarnate. For the time being I can only demonstrate the qualitative subjectivity of why taking our surface reality for granted is a blindfold that may only be removed with a self-induced paradigm shift. But don’t take my word for it–how much sense does all this rambling make to you in the first place? When it comes to trying new things, you can’t always get talked into doing something different–sometimes you have to be the one who talks yourself into doing it!
This blog is a collection of personal accounts from the past, philosophies conceived in the present and prospective ideas for the future. It is a journey into the nature of reality–the adventure of life examined. There is some truth to the saying “The best things in life are free.” I think the best things in life can be free with a little work…I’m not talking about a 9-5 job at some business, but focused, personal effort–putting yourself out there; having the drive to apply yourself and the endurance to follow through with it. Just put in the time and it just might pay off beyond wealth or professional success. It might get hard at times, but becoming acquainted with that margin of unpredictability and getting more comfortable with the unknown gives more meaning to the challenging undertones of it all. You can get everything that you want from the experience as long as you put forth everything that you are and all that you stand for. I’m eager to keep pushing on through the hardships, looking back to see how far I’ve come along rather than trying to go back to where I once was. This makes the difference between struggling in vain to escape the moment and embracing it for what it is so I can appreciate the opportunity to fully experience it. At the very least, tomorrow is a brand new day–so why not focus on where you are now, in the present? Even at its worst, stepping outside yourself would only deprive you of a valuable life-defining element that is part of your entire being.