Hobbies on the cheap: Urban Exploration

As I’ve gotten older, I have found, I’m always on the hunt for cheap hobbies. I think it has something to do with committing so much of my free time to extracurriculars from about age 3 to 23. And now that I’m a (boring) old adult who works 40 hours a week, I don’t want to spend the other 128 hours watching TV, hitting up the occasional happy hour and cleaning my apartment. I want to find new and exciting things to do without draining my bank account of the money I earned during the 40 workin’ hours. It’s a delicate balance.

So, let’s start with something that can range from thrilling to educational at a cost of ZERO dollars. Urban exploration is all about exploring your city and surroundings, seeking out it’s oddities and unique infrastructure. While I can’t condone any law breaking for the sake of a new hobby, any sort of exploration–even legal exploration–can be exhilarating. I’ve always loved going places that feel off limits or hidden to see things I wouldn’t have otherwise seen. I climbed up the belltower of a church the hour before my confirmation. I’ve been in all sorts of nooks and crannies on my college’s campus (and a lot of other college campuses too). I love checking to see if doors are locked and if they’re not, curiosity just gets the better of me! Perhaps I read too much as a child? jk no such thing. Perhaps, at nearly 30, my imagination is still too active? also no such thing.

Now that the weather has warmed up, I have my eye on a few places I’d like to explore! Setting out on an evening walk can take on a whole new level of excitement if you commit to making it an urban exploration adventure–veer off the path, stop for things that strike your eye, look for clues, read signs and historical markers, do research, Nancy Drew the shit out of your town! Take pictures or don’t. Bring a friend or don’t. Just keep your eyes open to the wonders around you.

For some added inspiration, check out the video below! If you don’t have half an hour to commit to watching something right now I HIGHLY recommend you come back to this page when you do…I promise this short docu, called “UNDERCITY”, is worth it. It follows Steve Duncan on a few urban exploration missions in New York City. All his emotions; fear, exhilaration, nerves, EVERYTHING–are just so palpable. You just have to watch it for yourself! What a rush!

Where would you love to explore this Spring? For the next month, I’m gonna make it my mission to hunt down some cool stuff that has otherwise been tucked away. And to hold myself accountable with this new hobby (I told you I spent a lot of time in extracurriculars…I need structure! lol) I’m going to document some of my findings on Instagram with the hashtag #urbanexploration. If you’d like to play along, let us know how to follow YOU on Instagram in the comments below. Happy hunting!

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