Urban Exploration Journal — N˚1:

Walking around an old military base, you never know what kind of art you’ll find.

I started Bengal Derkins to inspire adventure and creativity. Since starting the Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram, I've been writing a lot about music and sharing art. The adventure side of the Bengal Derkins on the other hand, has been lacking. I hope to rectify that with an Urban Exploration series that I’ll be starting.

Urban exploration sounds funny, I know. Every time I say the name urbex, or urban exploration, people laugh and look at me weird. It’s something I enjoy doing with friends and most of the time they’ve never heard of urban exploration. Usually they think they’re going on a trip around the city, looking for hidden restaurant or coffee gems. So if you’re unfamiliar, that seems to be the norm.

An abandoned mess hall, from military days on a west coast island.

Urbex, or Urban Exploration is merely exploring man made areas, usually abandoned buildings or modern uncommon places. The locations don’t have to be in the city, in fact most often I’m finding areas far away from the city that have been abandoned.

Old military bunker on an island off the coast of a major city.

You’ve probably all seen what I’m talking about. Think about that abandoned church, or giant mall. Or maybe you’ve seen old ghost towns that once housed a small community and are now almost forgotten relics of a time past.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “who would want to illegally go into that trash hole, filled with homeless people and graffiti?” Well, that’s a sane thought to have, and let me explain.

First, there’s something to exploring a place that once had so much history. It’s both eery and exciting to travel to an area that was inhabited by so many people and is now a modern graveyard of memories. It’s fascinating to try and feel what they felt, imagine how the area would have looked, and try to learn what went right and wrong.

Second, that graffiti is a breeding ground for poets and artists. It’s amazing to see some of the work they come up with, and how it reflects how certain generations feel at the time. That’s the other thing, the graffiti changes often, so there’s lots to see and the sentiment of the artists are so different from place to place.

Third, it’s a fun way to hang out with friends. There’s a slight sense of danger, because, after all, a lot of these areas are off limits. So it’s fun to try and navigate around without disturbing the area with a friend. Also, having a friend to enjoy the history with you is great because they notice little things you might not.

Lastly, it’s a way to preserve the humanities. A lot of these abandoned areas will ultimately be torn down and lost to history. So documenting the building, even in a decrepit state, is important. It’s a lense that we can use to learn from generations past. If you want proof check out the great website, Detroiturbex.com

Old car hanging out in an abandoned warehouse.

I hope I’ve inspired you to explore around and have adventures. Notice the normally unnoticeable. See what others often don’t. And, if you feel inclined to urbex, I ask that you follow these, fairly simple rules.

  1. If you do have to trespass, let that be the last and only rule you break. That means don’t steal anything. It also means don’t break anything in order to get to your destination. This requires that you be very clever.
  2. Take pictures, but don’t give away your locations. This is similar to spelunking. Most spelunkers will have to initiate you before they let you know where all the good locations are. This is to preserve the locations from people who don’t respect the urbex rules. Plus, that’s part of the fun, trying to figure out where certain areas are and it makes it that much better when you do find the location.
  3. Don’t get caught. Some locations will have guards. This one is for your own good.
  4. Be safe. Travel with a friend, not only to enjoy the area more, but also because if something does go wrong, you’ll have someone that can help you out. Watch out for old floors, be aware of asbestos and radiation in old abandoned areas. Often times, there’s a very good reason the place is abandoned.

That’s it. Most importantly have fun. I’ll be posting my adventures and if you have any comments, questions, concerns, or ideas feel free to share them with me.

As always, stay wild.

Also, here are some great websites to check out if detroiturbex.com got you interested: