There is a sense of adventure in every kid. They are curious. They are an explorer. Figuring out their world one step, one mystery at a time. From testing urban legends that were passed down from older siblings or friends. Challenging the fear of the unknown. Daring the darkness. 

My parents always nurtured the desire to explore in me. They are the ones who took me past my first no trespassing sign. It was into an old broken down coal breaker. It sat, deteriorating across the back road. Cars driving under the shoots as if they were an overpass. The sunlight was swallowed, yet we saw the road below our feet through the missing floor boards. We were walking through history. 

That day, I was a mashup of fear and excitement. And it has been that way ever since, going into a cave in the woods, exploring an old condemned hotel where I spent most of my teenage years going to shows (and standing on the roof, just looking at the valley), and spending an entire summer searching for an abandoned insane asylum from second and third hand accounts of former explorers mixed with landmarks referenced in urban legends. 

There are unspoken rules, protect yourself (good boots and a facemask), don’t take anything, don’t break anything, but take tons of photos. It is a respect thing. For the place. For the history. For the next explorers. 

I wish I had photos of that first exploration, into the Harry E. But it was the early 90s. I was a child. And stopping there on the way home felt like a whim. 

I carry that curiosity with me, and always have the urge to explore around the corner or behind the yellow tape. There is something romantic about seeing what is under the sheet or forgotten behind the locked door.

I think this all feeds into my work, my writing, my friendships, my life. I want to know stories and histories, I want to go past the surface, I want to capture the days, weeks, months that fly by us all. Pause for a moment. And look. Look at what changed, what didn’t, what made us who we are. 

Exeter, PA

It seems like there are so many of these forgotten spaces.