How I Got Started with Urban Exploration



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Welcome to the No Tracers podcast. My name is K Enagonio and I am going to be your host here on this podcast. I don't know how frequently it's going to be posted, but I hope you guys subscribe so that you get notified every time a new episode comes out. I also don't know if I want to have this be a guest based podcast, or if I just want to do it solo, but I'm sure I'll probably have some guests on here and there, regardless because I like talking to other people. I like getting their insights and there's a lot of urban explorers out there in the world that I would love to talk to one-on-one. So hopefully this podcast can be not only a platform for discussion of all things, urban exploration, but hopefully I can also bring some education to you guys, as well as some entertainment.


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So this first episode of the No Tracers podcast is going to be about just an intro to urban exploring. I just want to talk about how I got into urban exploring and what it is and how you can also get started, because I'm sure there's a lot of you out there listening to this, that maybe on the fence about starting to explore places that are, you know, a taboo, if you will, but let's just jump into it. I'm just going to get started. So I started exploring abandoned places when I was a kid. I remember distinctly we had this neighborhood that we lived in, that my family lived in and my brothers and I would jump the fence on the outside of the neighborhood that led into like a forest, like a wood air wooded area.


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So we used to go walk around in this wooded area and just kind of explore the, the place. And I remember I was probably about, I don't know, 13 or 14, and we were exploring in the wooded area behind the neighborhood. And we came across this, like, it was basically like a house, like somebody built a house without actually building a house. There was a couch there, there was a washer or a stove with an oven. There were microwaves, there was a TV, there was a T V S E a whole TV set up. It had VHS tapes all over the place, photos all over the place, but there was this so actual structure for like an actual house.


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It was just as if someone set up there living room in the middle of the woods and it was super creepy, but you know, I'm going to be super honest with you guys. I, that was the first time that I explored something that was like abandoned and I found a VHS tape and I was like, Hmm, I wonder what's on this VHS tape. I'm going to take it back home with me and watch it. Cause I could always bring it back and just leave it there. You know what I mean? And I, I got home, I put the VHS tape in my TV, in my bedroom and I turned the volume down to like one and I pushed play you guys. It was, it was a homemade porno, VHS tape. I kid you not.


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It was the first time I ever saw porn and it like just destroyed my brain. I was like, what is what is happening? And that was like, around the time I was hitting puberty. So I was like, ah, what the fuck is going on here? So yeah, my first urban exploration was also my first time getting introduced to pornography. So that was, that's just a weird story about my life, but I wanted to share with you guys, cause I thought it was super interesting and you know, that's just a, that's why I don't really take anything from abandoned places. One day, I actually hope to open a museum about urban exploring where we can bring these artifacts from these abandoned places all over the world and display them and have little plaques that say like where they were from and the story behind, you know, acquiring that item.


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Because I know there's a lot of urban explorers out there that do take stuff from places. But my, my motto is leave. No trace, leave, no trace that you were there. So mostly like don't take stuff, don't leave anything there. Don't litter. Don't leave your trash. That's what leave. No trace means. I kept exploring over the years when I was 16, my family moved overseas. So my explorations kind of stopped because I didn't really have anywhere to explore. When I moved overseas, I didn't have a car. I didn't have anywhere to go. So my explorations were kind of limited. It was mostly like high school and then film school, right after that, I have a bachelor's in film production. So if you guys go to youtube.com/just the letter, K you will actually see a collection of urban exploration videos that I've made over the past.


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I dunno, four years. So let me just fast forward, real quick. So I moved overseas when I was 16 and then when I was 19 or 20, my dad and I moved to Perth, Western Australia for a year. And I graduated with my bachelor's in film production. And then I moved to California because California was the place where everybody came to quote unquote, make it as a videographer, a cinematographer, a director of photography, a writer, anything creative people come to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams and their passions. And a lot of times people end up, you know, unfortunately failing or not achieving their goals or their dreams.


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And they switch their career path to do something more stable or something that's, you know, less risky, I guess I could say, yeah, more stable would be the best way to describe it. But so when I moved to California in 2014, I started freelancing. And then in 2016, I went to my very first photography meet up. I think it was a T FTI meet up, actually, no, it was hosted by a John logic and it was, was called spidey mob. And so I showed up to this meetup and I met a bunch of photographers there and got to talking to a couple of them through connections that they had made through friends.


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And somehow the topic of exploring abandoned places came up and I was like, oh my God, I love exploring abandoned places. I would love to do more of it. Is there any abandoned stuff here in California? And my world was opened up to the world of urban exploration. From that point, I actually met up with this guy named Chama and we actually explored some abandoned places and he was one of the first people to bring me to an abandoned place in California. And then my friend Vickers actually took me to a bunch of abandoned places around California. We explored this giant 17 story hospital that was completely abandoned. We've explored dental, hospitals and St.


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Asylums churches that have been torn down. We've explored all kinds of stuff in California. So I got my start as a, an urban Explorer that photographs and documents these places in about 2016. So that's when I really started documenting these places that I was exploring with my friends. And I started putting up videos up on YouTube and they started gaining some traction and I was like, wow, this is really cool. I really love being a part of this community. And so since that time I've been able to travel across the United States when I freelance. And whenever I do go somewhere to freelance, I look up the area that I'm in and I try to find a band and stuff. And then I'll try to go explore.


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And I'm going to do a whole episode later on about, should you explore by yourself or should you always bring someone with you, but real quick, I'll just tell you that. Sometimes I explore by myself because I travel and then I'm by myself when I'm traveling. So I just naturally want to go explore. And I happened to be my myself, but most of the time, I always say, take somebody with you, but so take that with a grain of salt, definitely. But I'll do a full episode on if you should explore with another person or not later on down the line. So be sure you subscribe so that you don't miss an episode that comes out here on the No Tracers podcast. But as far as where I've gone, I'm not going to give you guys the locate, the exact locations of anything because within the community, giving out locations is very taboo.


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It's very against the, the secret rules of urban exploring. You don't share your locations with people outside of your network because that's how our spots get burned. And when I say they get burned, that means that they get boarded up, security gets put in place. The police get called. That's what, it's what it means to have a place, get burned, even getting a place to militia is another form of it getting burned. But yeah, so I'm not going to give you guys actual locations, but I'll just tell you about some of the places we've explored and you can go watch the videos on YouTube and Instagram and all that stuff. So one of the places I explored, like I said, was a 17 story abandoned hospital in California.


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And that's the most detail I'm going to give you the location is that it's in California, but this place was absolutely insane. And I'm going to do a full episode on it in, you know, I don't know, maybe a week, I'm probably going to record it right after I record this, but be sure you guys stick around because there's a lot of stories I want to share with you about these places, how we got in the security, like all that stuff. It's always very crazy. It's always very anxiety. If you're prone to anxiety, I wouldn't explore abandoned buildings, but I mean, I'm prone to anxiety and I I've never had a problem with it in an abandoned building, but I just wanted to, to start this podcast Al by telling you guys how I got started, why I got started.


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But the reason I got started is because I do find beauty in decay. There's something about decaying, rotting, buildings that reminds me of almost the way humans decay. You know, when you get put in the ground, it takes time for your body to decay into the earth. And that's the same with buildings. It takes time for nature to do its job and to take back a building that's been abandoned. And I think there's something so magical and so powerful about that. And the fact that nature takes back buildings from the outside in, or even sometimes from the inside out, depending on the structure of the building or, you know, the state of decay it's in, it's always super interesting to see how much decay has taken place.


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Some buildings are completely pristine. Some buildings are completely overgrown with Moss or leaves or, I mean, not leaves like grass or, you know, other plant life that thrives in cooler, dark, darker climates. I've also run into people. I've run into raccoons. I've never seen a rat in an abandoned place. So that's one thing I'll say is that I've never actually seen like rats running around in any of these places or cockroaches. I've never seen any of that stuff. I've seen. I saw a family of raccoons in an abandoned asylum once that was pretty interesting and took some photos of them. And if you guys want to see them, you can definitely do that on just the letter k.com/blog.


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You guys can go check out some of my blog posts about these abandoned places that I've explored, and you can see the photos from them as well. So I'll put a link down into the description for you guys to the blog post I'm actually referring to right now with the raccoons. It was at the abandoned Downey insane asylum. And if you don't know what that place is, just Google it. You can find it on Google. I highly advise against going there because there's a, an always ever present police presence at that place now. So yeah, I feel free to Google any of these places and I'm sure somebody has given the address away, but that's not what I'm doing here on this podcast. So if that's what you're here for, you've definitely tuned into the wrong podcast.


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But other than the few places I just talked about, as far as exploring some of my dream places to go, our Fukushima Chernobyl, the abandoned six flags in Louisiana, there are a bunch of malls in Akron, Ohio. I want to go to Detroit really badly and just do a bunch of stuff in Detroit because a lot of buildings there are abandoned. I would love to go to New York and explore. I'd love to go to Florida. There's a football stadium in Florida that I really want to see. Most of the stuff I want to see is actually on the east coast, just because the east coast was the first developed section of the United States. So it's older, the buildings are older, the buildings are designed differently than they are out west.


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A lot of them are made of brick or concrete, and I really love old brick buildings. So that's definitely a huge perk of going to the east coast is you get these really cool brick buildings. And other than that, I just want to keep exploring as long as I can. You know, I'm 26 now. And I think at 30, I'll probably slow down on the exploring stuff, just because like legality and all that stuff. I don't want to get like, get myself into too much trouble. I know there's explorers out there that have been arrested many, many times, and I do not want to be one of those people. I would like to stay on the safer side of things.


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I would like to explore places that, you know, don't have security or don't have a police presence. I would like to explore places that have been abandoned for a really long time to the point where people have completely forgotten about them. There is a theme park in Rhode Island that I've explored. That was super interesting. Actually, it was actually used to be a part of someone's property, but it's no longer a part of their property. So it's just like open land. So I explored that. That was super interesting. And then the next day somebody went and explored it and there were like gunshots. So you never know what's going to happen at these abandoned buildings. And we'll talk more about that in a future episode, but basically I just wanted to give you guys an introduction to myself and what I stand for and my place in the community and why I'm making this podcast.


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And the reason I'm making this podcast is because one, we are in quarantine right now from the Corona virus and I have nothing to do. I've done all my work for the week and it's Monday. So yeah, I don't, I don't even know what to do, but by the time this podcast out, hopefully I have some more work to do. Hopefully work comes in and I can keep making this podcast. Hopefully I can get some sponsors for this. That would be really cool if we could get, like, I don't know, 3m to sponsor us and give us some masks or smoke effect, maybe to do some smoke grenade stuff with them. But thank you guys for tuning into this podcast. I really hope you enjoyed it. I hope you stick around for future episodes and let me know on Instagram at K Enagonio, if you guys explore as well, I would love to connect with you there.


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My links are down in the description, and if you like this, please leave a rating and some feedback. And I'll actually send you a signed photo print of one of my photos from an abandoned place. And the last thing I want to say is that I actually have a book out about urban exploring. It's called No Tracers and urban explorers diary. And you can pick up a copy@justtheletterk.com slash No Tracers. I will sign it for you. I will send it out to you as soon as I'm allowed to mail things again. And I hope you guys come back for more. Thank you also. I need some feedback if you guys want guests on this podcast or anything like that. So be sure to tweet me at K Enagonio and let me know, or hit me up on Instagram. Thank you guys. I'll talk to you next time. Go out, go explore something and leave no trace.