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Seeking Out The Silence of Abandoned Buildings with Dan Urbex

This week on the No Tracers podcast I am joined by UK based explorer DanUrbex. Dan found a fascination with abandoned places at a young age when he explored an asylum. He has a love for the silence that exists in abandoned buildings and I definitely share that with him. Dive into this episode and hear some of his exploration stories.

0 (2s):

Welcome back to No Tracers, the podcast all about urban exploring. My name is K Enagonio and I am so excited to be back for another week of No Tracers. Just so you know, if you're brand new, this show comes out every Friday at 9:00 AM, Pacific standard time across Spotify, apple podcasts, and anchor. And this week on the podcast, I'm talking to Dan Howell, AKA DanUrbex on Instagram. Dan, I was actually recommended to this guy through a, another Explorer. They were like, you got to get him on the podcast. So I absolutely hit him up. And he was super stoked to be a part of this. And I am very, very excited for this episode.

0 (44s):

But before we get into it, just a couple of housekeeping things. If you guys liked this episode at any point in time, please leave a rating and feedback. If you do that, I will send you a signed photo print from an abandoned place that I have explored. So all you got to do is leave feedback to take a screenshot and send it to me at No Tracers on Instagram. My link is down in the description for you and send me a DM with your screenshot. And I will get you a signed photo to print out to you ASAP. Also on the note of things that you can do to support me. I have a book out about abandoned places that I've explored called No Tracers and urban explorers diary. If you guys want to get a cool coffee table book full of photos and stories from my explorations head to No Tracers dot com slash shop, and you can pick up a copy today, I'll sign it to you.

0 (1m 32s):

I'll send it out to you regardless of where you live and you can either read it, gift it to somebody, or you can just set it on your coffee table and let it let the energy from that book just reside in your space. And I have to think our partner liquid death water. If you guys don't know what liquid death water is, don't worry. There's an ad coming for you in three to

1 (1m 56s):

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0 (2m 45s):

Guys. Let's get into this episode with Dan Howell. Dan, can you please introduce yourself and what it is you do to the No Tracers audience?

2 (2m 52s):

Okay. I'm a I'm done or done. I explore in the UK. I'll basically just explore everything, take photos and share it to my Instagram or YouTube. Yeah. And just do it for a lot of fun.

0 (3m 10s):

What got you into exploring what initially made you catch the bug for this, this to almost, I mean, it's still a taboo thing, right? So what made you catch the bug for this?

2 (3m 20s):

It's kind of always been in my blood, I guess. I don't know anyone else in my family who's done it, but I've always had this interest in my mind. Like, oh, I'd love to go to an abandoned building. And I suppose this might sound weird, but I kind of got a buzz similar to what I thought I would get in an abandoned building when I went to like really, really big shops such as BNQ, which is, I don't know what the equivalent of that in America would be, but I just always loved the idea of being in a huge building, like by myself and it being just completely quiet.

2 (4m 1s):

Like I've always been kind of looking for a vibe like that. And I always have a thought for probably since I was about seven, six or seven and when I was 15, oh, you just randomly for project for school, decided to just go do it. Cause I felt like that was probably just the best way to do it. And I went to the remains of an asylum about 20 minutes away from my house and explored that it wasn't anything crazy, but I remember climbing through the window and just being, feeling so much feeling terrified, feeling excited, and it was such a great experience.

2 (4m 48s):

And I remember like nowadays, when I'm in abandoned buildings, I'll just kind of, you know, I've walked around it. I'm not really too nervous, but I was creeping around on like just peeking round to every single corner, just thinking someone was there. But yeah, that's kind of how the initial buzz sort of came in. And since that day I've basically explored like every weekend or every other weekend it's been, it's been really fun. Wow.

0 (5m 18s):

So have you also been exploring during this quarantine? Like, I don't know how it is over in the UK right now, but here in America, we've, we've still been exploring, you know, like there's nobody in an abandoned building, so it's not like, you know, we're going to expose ourselves necessarily to, to this virus if you will. So have you been, have you been exploring during quarantine?

2 (5m 38s):

Yeah. Yeah. I went for the first time, about two weeks ago with one of my friends, she hit me up and I was just, I hadn't explored in about, by that point. It was about four months I fought, I just really need to get back out again. And yeah, that was the only time I've been back out. But apart from that, it's been pretty stricter in the UK. It's been very much just like staying inside and only to go out for the essentials. And it's been a bit too risky trying to go out and explore, but yeah, I did that about two weeks ago. Yeah.

0 (6m 13s):

Yeah. It seems like you guys have been handling this a lot better than we have over.

2 (6m 19s):

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I think we can say that like complete idiots, it's just a bit manic, but yeah, hopefully we're going to get to the end of it soon and this kind of get it back to what can be considered as normal, but only time will tell. Right.

0 (6m 36s):

For sure. For sure. So when did photography come into play for you? When did you pick up a camera? And when did you start bringing into your, your airbags missions?

2 (6m 47s):

It's always been there since that first day a, when I explored that asylum, I have my camera on me and I did take some photos, but photography is always kind of, well, not always been a passion, I've always taken photos, but I think the passion really started kicking in when I was about 13, 14 years old. And that was just kind of doing your average, like taking photos of nature to taking photos of trees on portraits and stuff. Just kind of the basic stuff, I guess you could call it, but yeah, since day one of exploring, I've always taken photos and just gradually over time, a lot improved and yeah, just experiments with it and just had a lot of fun.

2 (7m 31s):

I think that's the main thing about photography just to have fun with it and not necessarily take it to seriously and kind of this same with exploring just like, cause I'm always kind of seeing stuff about drama in the obits community and I'm just, it's fun to watch from the sidelines, but like why drama? Just like, it's such a simple hobby. Why would people kind of M argue about it? But yeah. Yeah. They make it like, well to complicated. Like literally all we're doing is like walking around buildings and taking photos. It's it's not that deep, but yeah.

2 (8m 11s):


0 (8m 14s):

So speaking of like photography and stuff, what gear would you recommend for like new explorers? Like this could be a pair of shoes or kicks or craps, whatever you want to call this

3 (8m 27s):


0 (8m 28s):

A backpack maybe, or even like what camera you shoot with, what is some gear that you would recommend

2 (8m 37s):

In terms of a camera? I would say anything realistically, I don't think you need a $1,000 or a 1000 pound camera to take a great photo. I think it's more about the idea and the process of taking that photo rather than the actual quality of it. So, you know, if you've got a smartphone or if you've got a cheap camera, it doesn't matter what you've got, you know, take it with you and you know, don't worry about what gear you've got. It's about how you use it at the end of the day. So yeah, I would say anything for a camera shoes on, I can't really say much really exploring like big boots on normally just kind of put on these, these old vans that I've always worn and they're like, the stitching is coming out.

2 (9m 25s):

They're filthy, like they're designated exploring shoes, but yeah, I think in terms of gear, a mask is always good. I'd say if there's very cameras or if there's asbestos, I think when mosque is always a good shower and water or any kind of drink, cause you know, you've got to stay hydrated, but yeah. In terms of certain gear, I don't think it's just kind of up to you what you think you will need, but definitely bring some kind of camera, definitely some drink and some food as well.

2 (10m 6s):

Just keep your essentials on you and yeah, just pretty much that and whatever else you think you'll need.

0 (10m 13s):

Yeah. I think gear is a very like personalized thing in the urbex community. Like everyone's got their like certain things they bring with them. Like, and so I just wanted to get, to get your opinion on that. Let's talk about social media real quick. W how did that like help you grow as not only a photographer, but as an urban Explorer? Like we have you used it to connect with other explorers, like tell me a little bit about your social media life. Oh, a hundred

2 (10m 37s):

Percent. When I first made my Instagram, it was literally the day that I got back from my first explore. I thought, Roy, I've never, like, I've never made an Instagram account at that point. I thought, you know what, I'm going to go for it and just make it and just have like, initially it was just going to be for my own personal use to so I could post all my photos on there and to see the progress. But gradually over time as my pace grew, you know, can I get to a hundred followers to a hundred followers and get into a thousand followers? Now I'm getting close to 10,000 followers on just it's, it's definitely motivating to have people who are interested in my work. And it definitely kind of pushes me more when I'm out to go for those more complex shops and to try and go for something a bit different, I suppose. But at the same time, I don't want to get figures kind of stuck in my head and this kind of misused my influence. Like if you've got a decent sized following, when I think is good to use it for good. And you know, if you've got it, then you might as well use it. So, you know, I think certainly did help and yeah, I've definitely used it to link up with a lot of people.

2 (12m 5s):

And again, that's another great use for Instagram. Like people can have the bugs for that, but I think it's great for meeting new people and just interacting with people and talking to people about relatable things, because I haven't really got many friends who were interested in this and it's nice to have a conversation with anyone about aerobics and yeah, I think the community is good for the most part. And I think it's, it's, it's quite a social kind of thing as well, I think. But yeah, Instagram has definitely helped with a lot of stuff for sure.