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Abandoned Exploration

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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 🙂

Hello, Reader.

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Choloepus hoffmanni (Hoffmann’s Two-Toed Sloth), 9/30/2014

After nearly two years of stagnancy I figured this blog could use a bit of upkeep. I also realized that the way I’d left things off didn’t exactly provide much closure for people who might be visiting this blog for the first time. Time flies and carelessness already boarded, so instead of making excuses I humbly offer you this 2016 update: https://existentialpace.wordpress.com/north-america-travels-2013-2014/

I’ve also made a few adjustments in an attempt to simplify the web navigation, but since I technically didn’t mention some of the (comparatively) newer pages in previous blog posts, I’ve decided to post a list of some of our specials. For starters, anyone who is interested in the feasibility of my travels or might even be considering doing something similar should note that I didn’t just take off on a whim, all willy-nilly…there was a method to the madness (https://existentialpace.wordpress.com/my-latest-venture-hitchhiking-across-the-u-s-oct-nov-2013/mission-statement/). No amount of planning could prepare me for life on the road, but it definitely helped to have some gear ready (https://existentialpace.wordpress.com/hitchhiking-pennsylvania-to-panama-may-november-2014/2014-revised-packing-list-with-photos/). Some of these considerations turned out to be inconsequential, while others wound up being pretty crucial; while this may be an arbitrarily subjective distinction, it is definitely better to make this distinction sooner rather than later.

If you’d like to check out the photo albums, here is our current selection (in chronological order):
Hitchhiking the USA 2013: https://existentialpace.wordpress.com/my-latest-venture-hitchhiking-across-the-u-s-oct-nov-2013/hitchhiking-photo-album-dont-try-this-at-home/
Hitchhiking the USA 2014: https://existentialpace.wordpress.com/hitchhiking-the-usa-may-august-2014/
Hitchhiking Mexico 2014: https://existentialpace.wordpress.com/hitchhiking-pennsylvania-to-panama-may-november-2014/mexico-travels-2014/
Hitchhiking Central America 2014: https://existentialpace.wordpress.com/hitchhiking-pennsylvania-to-panama-may-november-2014/central-america-travels-2014/

This sort of expectation-free and largely unpredictable method of traveling led to a lot of crazy situations, interesting photos, and borderline-unbelievable stories. At the same time, the most compelling thing I took back with me wasn’t tangible or easily described. The further I ventured out, the closer I was drawn inward–the whole “journey-is-the-destination” phenomenon was simply a catalyst to better understand and utilize a higher potential of my own existential framework. In my personal opinion, the “Insights” sections of this blog are the most important things I’ve taken out of the experience, and as the years go by they still hold true!

Insights (Introduction Page): https://existentialpace.wordpress.com/related-ventures/
Insights (Part 1): https://existentialpace.wordpress.com/related-ventures/insights-part-1/
Insights (Part 2): https://existentialpace.wordpress.com/related-ventures/insights-part-2/

The Vegetarian Amputee Chef–A Personal Thought Experiment:

I’ve posed this hypothetical situation to several people before, but I’d like share this with the vast realm of online peers on WordPress and consider a wider range of perspective from this global collection of worldviews…I’m also a bit curious to see if there is some general consensus independent of one’s dietary preferences. Feel free to comment with any opinions or additional input on this matter…

First off, I want to emphasize that I am completely against animal cruelty, and although I am not a practicing vegetarian, I respect the virtues and dedication of those who are. I also understanding that vegetarianism stems from a vast range of beliefs–from religious affiliations, to health concerns, to environmental principles. This particular scenario deals specifically with the aspect of vegetarianism that meat consumption is unethical–with an underlying moral premise that animals cannot explicitly consent to being killed for humans to eat/use their flesh. With that, here’s a little something I call The Story of the Vegetarian Amputee Chef: Herbert I. Vorr is a five-star chef who happens to be a vegetarian of the aforementioned demographic–while Herb has always been curious about trying meat, he would never betray his ideals and eat a non-willing creature. One day, he severs his arm in an accident. The doctor is unable to reattach Herb’s arm, so the limb is amputated and kept on ice to preserve the flesh. Herb’s open-minded doctor suggests that, being a master chef in top physical condition, Herb might want to consider taking his discarded arm into the kitchen as an opportunity for him to prepare a gourmet meal with flesh that came from an organism with the ability to decide its own culinary fate: As a part of Herb’s body (his own flesh and blood) is the source of this meat, his recent circumstances have provided an exception to his self-determined lifestyle.
Discounting the cannibalistic implications of the issue at hand, does going along with his doctor’s recommendation allow Herb the chance to partake in meat consumption–as a deliberately consenting individual–while justifiably staying true to the fundamental nature that represents his vegetarian beliefs?