Urban Exploration: The Golden Rules

Urban exploration can mean different things to different people. And that's fine. But since our exposure to the Internet, exploring has become a popular past time with all kinds of different theories about what it is ...

I think we can all agree on one thing though, that explorers go places most reasonable adults won't. I'd like to share a few Do's and Dont's about urban exploration.

Our Urban Exploration "Do Tips":

1) Explorers have a natural curiosity. Exploring started when I was a child. I bet for many of you the same applies. I get real excited before I explore. However, as an adult it's often illegal in certain situations. Do No. 1: Know your rights, and legalities. 

2) Explorers scout their location, online and off. Before the Internet, explorers scouted locations, so the Internet does not make scouting easier, and actually could lead to mistakes. Research is a part of scouting as well as visiting the physical location. Do No. 2: Do your research and try to avoid foolishness.

Foolishness tends to land explorers in jail, or with a hefty fine, or possibly getting shot with a rifle for invading someone's home unwittingly ... Like in this video inserted below. It's likely best not to bring along those break-in gadgets like in this video below, because this leads us to one of the main 'Do Not' Tips (Do Not break and enter).


3) Do be respectful of others, artifacts, and yourself. Other dangers associated with exploring can include loss of limbs, or even death, from falling through a floor or staircase. It has happened, so 'do' be careful.

4) Have fun. Exploration is not an elitist past time, but open to anyone who has a sense of adventure and curiosity. Likewise, those who think the idea of fun is vandalizing, looting and stealing are not urban explorers. They give urban exploration a bad name.

5) Do attend locations which have tours, or open houses or are willing to to give you a private tour. Urban exploration is not all about infilteration, no matter what others say. 

Our "Do Not Tips" Are:

1) Do Not steal anything. Taking is stealing. The golden rule: Take only photos, leave only footprints. 

2) Do Not force entry. That's called break and enter you know. Most explorers, when practicing infilteration, seek out existing openings. Unless all is boarded up, if in doubt, assume someone is occupying the location before wielding that crow bar!  Try knocking on the door, and be sociable, it at all possible ... 

3) Do Not make assumptions based off of Internet data because sometimes locations are occupied, or are revitalized, and no one has gotten around to updating this yet. Tread softly.

4) Above all else, Do Not become a self-righteous urbexer. We all did this when we were kids - it's fun. As adults though, explorers share slices of history that are actually interesting and enrich our art and culture. Focusing on how exploring benefits the community at large keeps the elitist ego trip in balance ... Keep your ego in check.

When these are in balance, urban explorers gain our respect for venturing into spaces where no one else has dared to go before.

An urban exploration video of an abandoned church:

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