when I was eight or nine, I received a deck of explorer playing cards for christmas. vasco da gama, ponce de leon, ferdinand magellan. I read tales of their adventures on the high seas. I traced their routes on colour-coded maps. and I knew, without a doubt, that the life of explorer was the life for me.
it is no easy feat to dedicate one's life to exploring the unknown when one is confined to a planet with six billion others, especially when those others have a way of swallowing up every available inch of space. for years, I wondered if there was some little corner of untamed wilderness left in this world for me to explore. and then I found my first derelict building. in a lot next to the buffalo airport, it was a huge, shattered, crumbling mess of an old warehouse. every time we drove past, I announced, "dead bodies!" as stories of tragedy and plight brewed in my mind. there might be no more lakes or islands for me to discover, but there will always be plenty of decaying buildings. I had found my calling. I would be an urban explorer.
today, I achieved my dream. armed with flashlights and cameras, a small pack of explorers and I set ourselves loose in an abandoned and soon to be demolished kodak factory. peeling paint, torn down walls and shattered windows told a tale of what had been. scattered machines, darkroom signs and desks with dust-covered notebooks spoke of life that once was. cold wind blew in through gutted walls and the only sound was crunching glass beneath our feet. imagination did the rest.
I climb fences. I skirt the guard. I love dark passageways. I see what my imagination tells me to. I am an urban explorer.