If you’re here, you probably have the travel bug or a soul ready to wander. While traveling is more accessible these days, the reality is, it’s still a costly endeavor for many. Most people travel once or twice a year.
What to do when you’re stuck in your town or city, but just itching to explore?
Put on your sneakers, grab your camera, and explore!
The easiest tip I can give someone is to go on yelp and find a highly rated coffee shop. Why? Because a lot of great communities are built around public spaces of conversation and thought (like the ancient Greeks or Romans). Many people go to coffee shops to read, study, work, and chat with their friends. Oftentimes, the neighborhoods that are built around a beloved cafe are well developed and attract an array of people. If you walk around a coffee shop neighborhood, I guarantee you will find a lovely street or curious street art. Not to mention, a satisfying cup of coffee.
Visit your local library. The library is full of books and some of them may have historical books based on your town or city. Some of the books may feature little historical quirks about your town that you didn’t even know about. That empty building that no one goes to? It could be an abandoned mansion ready to be explored.
Use the internet & instagram. Why so basic? Because some instagram profiles and websites feature hard to find places or unknown, beautiful spots you had never imagined. Follow a few travelers or local urban explorers and you can be inspired to go to those places featured on their gram!
Stay curious. Have you ever wondered what that courtyard behind the house is? Or what that building is used for? If it is a public place or a service of some sort, you can always go and check it out. You just need to muster enough courage to ring the doorbell.
Another recommendation is to join meetup.com. No, it’s not a website full of weird, awkward loners with no friends and you would die before you attend one of them. It’s actually very niche and there are plenty of activities! Some of them do themed photography tours (ie. Christmas lights in NYC) or are communities for young urban explorers. Join them with an open mind and you will find new people to explore. I’ve been to a few hidden rooftops in Manhattan through friends I’ve met.
There are a lot of urban explorer communities that find unique places, but these are networks you have to build. I suggest going to a meetup or asking your social network if they know someone. Many times, people do know that one person who is part of the underground community. My advice is to stay safe and know what you’re getting into!