Urban Exploration Injuries with JennBrownXO
This week's episode is full of fun stories and laughter. I wanted to chat with Jennbrownxo about her urban exploration adventures and we started talking about her various urbex injuries and how sometimes urban exploration goes wrong..We talk about the time she landed on a nail, got an infection, and much much more. Enjoy this crazy episode! Thanks Jenn for joining me for this show! Get my book! Http://notracers.com/shop Follow Jenn: http://instagram.com/jennbrownxo http://jennbrownxo.com
Welcome back to the No Tracers podcast. I like to be super dramatic in that opening, you know, because this is a podcast about creepy abandoned places, but I felt like that one was a little too dramatic, but anyway, my name is K Enagonio. Thank you for checking out. No Tracers. I appreciate you picking this podcast out of all the podcasts you have to listen to out there in the world. Curious how you found this podcast. Please hit me up at K Enagonio on Twitter. I'll put my tweet, my Twitter. I'll put my Twitter down on the description. If we want to follow me and let me know where you first came across the No Tracers podcast. Why did you pick it? Was it because of the ratings and feedback that are under this podcast?
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0 (1m 25s):
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0 (2m 20s):
So this week on the No Tracers podcast, I'm joined by Jennbrownxo. If you don't know who she is, you should definitely check out her Instagram. Also, if you want to see some of her photos while we talk, there's actually a YouTube version of this podcast on the, just the letter K YouTube channel. If you want to check that out, there's a link in the description. Thank you guys. Let's jump into this episode, Jen, can you please introduce yourself and tell the audience how long you've been on it?
2 (2m 45s):
Okay. So my name is Jen brown. I go by jennbrownxo on Instagram and I'm based out of long island, New York I've been exploring on and off since I was probably 15 years old. And then I really started getting into it again, back in 2016, where then I started like introducing like my photography into it. And that's kind of me.
0 (3m 13s):
That's awesome. So tell me a little bit about your first exploration. Tell me like, what happened, where you went, who you were with that kind of thing?
2 (3m 22s):
Well, my first like exploration was, and I guess like really an exploration, like when I was 15, I was hanging out with like someone that I went to school with and there was like a and abandoned warehouse, like in town that the guy would go too and like ride skateboard's and stuff. And so I joined re friend one day and it was really funny. He like just took pictures of me or whatever, just sitting there. So it was kinda interesting to like, look back now and to see like, oh, that's kind of what I've been doing. You know, most of my life
0 (3m 53s):
That's awesome. I love, you know, I started out when I was like 13 or 14, so kind of around the same age and my brothers and I went out into the woods and we found this abandoned house that was out in the woods. And that was my first, my first taste of, you know, urban exploring and I got hooked on it and immediately, and I'm kind of been doing it ever since, but similarly to you, I didn't really get fully into it. And until like 2016, I lived overseas. I grew up overseas and there wasn't really like an urban community where I was at. I lived in the middle east. And so there wasn't like a group of people to explore with you. And yeah, and I was like 16 at the time. So it was like, definitely not something I was, I was into.
0 (4m 36s):
But when I moved to California, I met like a group of people that like to explore as well. And they kind of took me under their wing and we started exploring for you. Can you talk a little bit about the community out in New York as far as like the urbex community goes and what you've gained from that?
2 (4m 54s):
Oh, like just being out here in New York on an east coast, like there's just so many locations and there's just so many people in the last four years that I've been doing this, I've met like hundreds of people that have become like better friends and my life and I've ever had like previous to this hobby I'm and everything like that. And so it's kind of like, awesome. Like, you know, there's such a good community out here and, you know, like everyone, like, you know, just, it's nice to each other, like up here, like, you know, we're very friendly in whatso and you know, it's pretty nice, you know?
0 (5m 30s):
So with your photography, you, you introduced that like 2016 time. So tell me a little bit about what, what your goal was as far as like capturing content. Were you doing it for like Instagram? Are you doing it for yourself and talk about the introduction of like Instagram apps like that and what that did for you?
2 (5m 49s):
Like with me, like when I first, like I got like back in to exploring probably when I was like 21 and I went to Kings park hospital and with there, I would see it and like pictures on my cell phone, but when I started getting back into it and then I like actually like was hanging out in the building and a little bit more, like I wanted to capture them and photograph them. And, you know, it was always kind of active on Instagram throughout the years. And, you know, I had realized all of a sudden, like when I started doing this, that there was this huge community out there, like just using like kingspark hashtags or just any abandoned hashtags. Like, I didn't realize how much was actually out there, like where I am.
2 (6m 30s):
Like, it's a small area, but I mean, I grew up like a four years old, like stumbling across my first abandoned house. So, you know, so like it's always kind of been a part of my life. So it's just nice that like Instagram has like put the drive into me to like kind of, you know, get out there and showcase my work. And I mean, without it, I don't think I would've pushed myself and I also wouldn't have met the people that I've met. Like I've come a long way in the last four years, just because of like, the people I've met through this community. Like I didn't edit photos like four years ago. I used to shoot with a fish eye lens and what was I doing? You know? And I just met all these amazing people that like, kind of showed me the way.
2 (7m 12s):
And like, I was always an Explorer at heart. So for me, like, and I'm a very blush brush person just in my everyday life. So with me and meeting people that take a really long time that are photographers, it really slows me down and makes me focus more on my work and improving myself to be a better photographer.
0 (7m 33s):
I love that. I love that. And it allows you to kind of slow down and take it a little bit, like take a little bit more time to capture your images and, and, and even to explore, I'm sure. I'm sure it like allows you to slow down when and appreciate it more.
2 (7m 50s):
Oh yeah, no, definitely. Definitely. Without a doubt. And that's the thing, like, since I've been doing this for so long, like I've kind of found my niche and like the whole like Victorian like structures. So like for me just to be there and while my friends take like two hours to shoot, it's just nice to take all that in like all that architecture and everything like that.
0 (8m 9s):
And I love hearing like about the, the niches of these different explorers. I've, I've interviewed quite a few people on this podcast so far and, you know, they all have their like favorite thing. Like some of them like asylum, some of them like houses and mansions, like I like that your into like the Victorian stuff. And that's very ample over on the east coast, I think, especially in your area.
2 (8m 29s):
Yeah. Oh yeah. No, definitely. And that's the thing, I mean, I've been doing this for four years and for the first, like two years I was doing it pretty much every weekend and I haven't seen all that. And I mean, you know, there's just so much out there if you put the time and to like looking for it like four years and I've gone from Maine all the way across to like Ohio down to North Carolina, Tennessee. Wow.
0 (8m 59s):
That's amazing. I love it. I love it. I love what exploring does. And the, like we were talking about the community and getting to do those road trips and, and just go hit spots. Like it's so exciting. And I love, I love this hobby it's oh yeah, no, definitely. And like, that's the thing, like with
2 (9m 17s):
Me, it was like the hobbies like really changed me a lot as a person cause like me, like, I guess I have like anxiety when I was younger and whatnot, and I was always afraid to go and do things on my own. And I really limited myself like doing things is I didn't have someone there and because of like photography, like it, I'm not that person, like, I actually truly like enjoy taking road trips by myself. Like, of course I love the company and I do things with my friends, but like every so often I'm like, I need to break guys. Like, I'm just going out. And like, I started going on like five day road trips, I myself. And it's just like, it's just like insane. It's like a whole nother world.
0 (9m 55s):
Huh. That's awesome that you like do that yourself. One of my questions is actually do explore with people or alone. Like, do you have a preference versus one or the other
2 (10m 5s):
I use to really enjoy in this one with people. And like, the thing was, is like a lot of people that I didn't explore with do no longer do it. So that's what kind of put me to myself a little bit. And also because like I found my niche with houses, there's like not much drama in the houses and you don't really see them getting vandalized so much because people don't share them. And so, because they kinda went on that to the house and each and everything like that, it's kind of made me break out that I want to explore a little bit more by myself just because I dunno, I liked listening to podcasts on the road and just, you know, just keeping in this scene. Right. And really enjoying it. But like, if I'm going to go out and do something, that's not like not how 60 years or something that I'm not really familiar with.
2 (10m 49s):
And yeah. I'm obviously going to go with people and just to be safe about it. Yeah, for
0 (10m 53s):
Sure. And then for gear, like gear wise, do you have recommendations for new explorers? Whether it's the camera you use or maybe a pair of shoes or a certain backpack you use, do you have a gear recommendations? I
2 (11m 8s):
Know this I'm actually really horrible and it comes to this eye. It's more and like little like red, like fake heads sneakers. And, and I mean, I started off really bad in the beginning. Like I bought stuff cheap. So like the one thing I can say to people is like, really, if you're going to do this and you want to like do it for them to tography reasons really invest in a full frame camera, like, yes, maybe to start off with something simple, but like, if you really want to do this seriously and you want to, you know, make your art and do it big and you want like that and crisp photo, like really just invest in the full frame. I wish I did it years ago and I saw someone and you places and they're all JPEGs. So yeah.
2 (11m 48s):
So like the first, like two years of traveling, seeing a lot of things. Yeah. It's like, oh, and like with my book, like I had to go back into so much content that it was just like, oh no, I have to use these issues. So, yeah. And so like, if you guys want to do something later on in your life, definitely invest in a full frame. Yeah.
0 (12m 8s):
Okay. So you have a book as well. I also have a book and I was heavily inspired by Seth lawless who has like 18 freaking books. And I was like, if he can do it, I can do it. So tell me a little bit about the, the reason you wanted to create a book and talk a little bit more about that process of actually, you know, going back through those photos and reliving those memories and deciding what to put in that book. So I
2 (12m 32s):
Actually had no intention of ever doing a book. I really had no intention of ever doing anything with my work, but a publishing company actually came across and my work and asked me if I wanted to do it with them. And you know, it was really nerve wracking. Cause I'm not a writer, you know, I'm not good with my words. So it was a struggle, but like it was something good. It was into an achievement and it made me feel proud. Like I'm actually getting like recognized for like this passion and everything like that. So it was kind of awesome. And like with that, I mean, it was a struggle to try to come up with 6,000 words. But at the same time it was fun. Cause like I had to go back and research like all these places, like I had to go back and try to figure out like, okay, where's this in my math and thousands and thousands of applications.
2 (13m 17s):
And what was this name? Okay. And like with my book, I didn't put any of the names of the locations unless they were like demolished or like very well known. So like I had to be careful with writing it because I didn't want to give out too many clues to give them away. Wow. So it was so long process. And then I was like, okay, like, I'm good with that. I did it. And then a, they asked me to, to do a second one and I was like, okay. Yeah, sure. Why not? You know, you're just like you do it. And it's like, it's really not that bad. You know?
0 (13m 51s):
And looking back at it, how long did it take you to make that first one?
2 (13m 55s):
So they gave me, I think like two months for the first one and I had all the material already. Like I already have all content, but when I had to do the second one for Pennsylvania, I think they gave me like six months to do it because I just didn't have enough photos. And I was out to like the last weekend that it was do to get more stuff. Like it was bad. It was really, really bad. Well, I guess I've got to go on to piss away and you're real quick and dirty. Oh my God. And he was in this summer too. So it was so bad. Everything was so overgrown to, like I admit there are a couple of horrible photos and the second book, because like, I, I needed things like there's one of this one house it's so overgrown, all you see is like the windows.
2 (14m 36s):
So, but I was like, oh my God. Yeah. So that should be interesting. And then she comes out of Colvin and kind of
3 (14m 48s):
Delayed. Yeah. Yeah. Pretty much
0 (14m 53s):
100%. Speaking of COVID have you been exploring during a quarantine slash lockdown? Have you still been exploring? Because I mean, as we all know, there's not too many people in abandoned buildings.
2 (15m 3s):
Oh yeah, no, definitely. Yeah. So I don't go out as much as I used to. I've maybe gone on like once a month, I've done a lot of like solo weekend trips. My mom saw this thing on Facebook. It's an inflatable mattress for like the backseat of a sedan. So she bought that for my birthday so that I could go traveling and sleep in my car and not to have to do like hotels and stuff to do that car for a couple of weekends. But it's just so hot and humid out here. And I, you know, I'm not really leaving New York too much. So it was just like, it's not the best to sleep in the car. And I'm also not working on like supporting myself, making peace mass. So I'm kind of limited to like what to do. Wow.
0 (15m 43s):
That's super interesting that you're doing that. I thank you for that. It's a problem. Yes, it definitely is. I do have to say, although it's horrible that we're going through this. I feel so comfortable wearing a mask in public because like we wear one when we go exploring,
2 (16m 3s):
I've never worn one going exploring, I've only learned and I'm so mad. I've only worn it ones. And it was because the black mold was so bad that when we went back, like we were just like, we have to do this. Like we felt like our no exams were like burning. Yeah. I'm really bad. I'm really bad with this. And I'm telling you got Lyme disease on here. I got jumped onto slowdown Lyme disease and it was really retarded. I actually didn't even know I had it. And I went down to Virginia. And just so you guys know, I don't know if many people know this, but down south they are, have these bugs called chiggers. So yeah. So they have them. So like from may till like November, you don't go to Virginia because of those and the techs.
2 (16m 49s):
So I didn't realize I actually had it like all of a sudden for like two weeks I had like chills and then I was like tired all the time and you're just making up excuses, like not knowing anything. And like three weeks later, like notice a tick and he happens to be on my blue. And I'm like, how did I not notice this? I get the, I get the bull's eye. And I'm like, no, it can't be this. And everyone's like, oh my God. And then my joints started hurting and I was like, oh, but the other thing too is I always have to exploring with my friend upstate on Cinco de Mayo. And I was like, dude, like, I don't think I can drive home. Like, I'm that tired? Like I think we might have to go to hotel.
2 (17m 29s):
And we were only like an hour from his place in the city maybe. And then I had like an hour and a half home, but yeah, it it's exhausted. Wow. And then this antibiotics from it, or they screw your brain up really bad for like a week. You can't, you don't make sense.
0 (17m 48s):
Oh my God, this thing's that we do to get the shot. Oh, I'm saying,
2 (17m 53s):
And it's funny because that summer relax spring and summer. So like the antibiotics for the limes, your on it, I think for like four weeks. So you don't have to like avoid this on for like five weeks. And then I was back out exploring like maybe two weeks later and they jumped on a nail. So then I had to go back on antibiotics and it had to avoid the sun for another two weeks. So it was like that whole summer. I couldn't explore. I couldn't be in the sun at all because the antibiotics, so yeah, kids definitely check here. So
0 (18m 22s):
Check yo. So for real, also check the floor. Oh my God. I was in Rhode Island exploring a theme park and my, I was blogging at the time, so I wasn't paying attention. And my phone, literally my shoe went like right over top of these nails and the nails went right between my toes.
2 (18m 42s):
I mean, you got lucky and see, I was climbing through a window and there was like an air conditioner, like below the window wall. And I like didn't have good balance. And so I just jumped and it was dark. I couldn't see. And it was a port on the floor and like, my friends were here from Canada and they were like, oh my God, do you wanna leave? And I'm like, no, it's fine. Take your pictures. And it hurt so bad. But like after like 10 minutes, I was like, all right, I'm going to take purchase now. We'll deal with this Tet and Slater. Oh yeah, no, definitely. Yeah. So now I remember that I was 30 when I got my tennis shots on a good time on 40, so that's good. Perfect. Okay.
0 (19m 20s):
So tell me about your scariest exploration. Ah, scary.
2 (19m 26s):
I knew you're going to ask me this one, two, and I was thinking you had it earlier. And I feel like there hasn't really been scary. Like the most nerve-wracking one is there is this one mansion that's pretty popular out here. And now that many people do it because there's a guard dog. And it was so funny because like me and my friend were outside for like an hour and a half trying to find a way in and the dog didn't do anything. And then I noticed that there's like a window and it's like missing a little bit. And I'm like, Hmm. I'm like, let's check this out and realized it was plexi glass. So we're just standing there, like not even meeting and noise and the dog starts barking. And I was like, oh my God, what do we do?
2 (20m 6s):
And my heart's just like pounding and pounding. And it, that was, that was very terrifying. And then there's actually another time there's an old palace theater in New York, New Jersey and oh my God, I thought it was going to die. And I had to probably the worst panic attack. Oh God. And a different way. And that like every single time I went there, it was like a new way. And then this one way I went in, it was the winter and there is ice on this step. So because of this stuff's were like all debris. It was just kinda like a mountain. And I kept telling my friend, like, we can't go up. Like, it's all ice. Like if we slide, we're holding a hole, that's in the wall and like plummeting down.
2 (20m 52s):
Like we were really high up. Like we were on like one of the top balconies in this year. And I was just like, oh my God, I'm going to die. Like I texted him on my friends. So I was like, I'm totally good. Yeah. So that was probably my most like nerve wracking, scariest, traumatic experience. Well, I
0 (21m 8s):
Got stuck in an abandoned jail once. Oh my God. No, no. Not
2 (21m 14s):
In this setting. <inaudible> I'm sure it's happened before. That
0 (21m 21s):
Was a fear of mine. As I was shutting the cell door, I was like, oh my, oh God, wait, what if it locks
2 (21m 25s):
Out? Yeah, no, I would never do.
0 (21m 28s):
And God, but no, we, we we're in this jail. A cop showed up was camped outside, waiting for us to come out. I had somewhere to be, and there was no other way out. And we were like, okay, we either go back out the way we came, probably get arrested or we climb over this razor wire fence sounded like a good idea.
2 (21m 45s):
Yeah. Oh my God. And you do this though. Like the better you get at it. Cause like, I mean, I don't know, there's this one power plan. And it was just like, one is this barbed wire fence is going to end. It was like three fences. And it was just like, oh my God, I'm so sorry to card. And she's insane. The effort that takes to going into power plants is just really bad to me these days.
0 (22m 11s):
Oh, for sure. The only I've been to a nuclear power plant and luckily we were allowed to be there. This band was like filming a bunch of music videos. And so they were like, yeah, you can come film and our abandoned power plant. That's fine. But that's the closest I've been to exploring it. Power plant. I know
2 (22m 27s):
You guys don't have that much out where you are. Like you got to come out this way a little bit more. Yeah.
0 (22m 33s):
The east coast is the shit. Whenever I tour with bands as a videographer or, you know, whenever I took my own band, I'm planning on stop when we stopped and each city, I want to link up with an Explorer and, and like explore their area. I think it would be super fun. So that's it. And for, for when COVID goes the fuck away. Oh
2 (22m 51s):
Yeah, no, I hear you. But don't long island doesn't have much. So don't waste your time. A couple of things. That's why I'm always leaving. Like that's why I travel every weekend. Cause like there's really not that much here. Yeah. I dunno. You definitely have to travel more and see the world. That's what I love doing. Rather, just being able to see the world and experience different areas.
0 (23m 13s):
Absolutely. Same. I am the exact same way. So tell me about your favorite exploration.
2 (23m 19s):
Everyone always asked me this and like, I'm never one that like has like favorites, but like one place that like is kind of like close to me. And like I always said, like once I got there, like I can retire that I wanted to do and I have, and it's been years, but there was this old silk mill and, and still have like th