[Resolution] #31 Visit an Abandoned Place

Abandoned House

There’s just something about these places, abandoned places. Forgotten, left alone for years yet still standing, frozen in time and simultaneously being eroded by it. It’s tragic and beautiful, frightening yet alluring. So, when I found out about an abandoned victorian mansion in a small town nearby, I couldn’t resist; I had to see it for myself.

Three friends and I piled into a car in the dead of night and traveled an hour and a half into the middle of a small Texas town (omitting the name for the hope of protecting the house from vandals or the like), and there, right on one of the main roads stood this amazing old home.  (A special shout-out to my beautiful friend Jasmine who found it and orchestrated the whole trip.) It’s something straight out of a horror movie, I tell you, which, in the case of us four lovers of horror movies and all things dark and macabre, is something more along the lines of a giant work of art.

I don’t know about them, but as we came up on this property my mind exploded with thoughts of beautifully aged rooms filled with history, a tribute to a lifetime that had long passed still standing and ready to be explored by those willing to step inside and find it. Something like this…?

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But, unfortunately the world does not have the same reverence for abandoned history as some. Some people, say, people who simply need shelter, or a dumping ground, will stumble upon places like these and use them for what they are…an empty space to occupy.

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Originally I didn’t expect to see anything but the outside of this house, maybe get a peek inside a window if I was lucky. But, our luck ended up being that nothing really stood between us and the inside of this house. We were expecting some sort of protection. A locked gate? Boards over the entry-way? There wasn’t even a “No Trespassing” sign to be found.

This meant that it was extraordinarily easy for us to get inside for a look around (which is good, because I chicken out really easily with things like this), but it also meant it was extraordinarily easy for squaters to occupy the place for the many years it was abandoned.

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Luckily, although the house has been used as a dumping ground and many of the belongings of the previous owners had been scattered about, it seemed that much was still left there to explore.

It was not a glamorous task. We had to trudge through thousands of empty soda bottles, cases worth of crushed beer cans, various food containers and even stumbled upon an open suitcase that had been used as a ‘toilet’ for quite some time. But, when you looked past all of the trash and possibly hazardous material, what stood before us was a snapshot of someone else’s life, left behind long after they were gone. I’d love to know who these people were and what happened to them, honestly, but I didn’t think to find anything to help me trace them.

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Bedrooms with draperies and clothes still hanging on racks.

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Books still on shelves,

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and tons of beautiful old architecture, still intact, like the skylight in the upstairs living area.

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After the adrenaline finally wore off, we had a wonderful time looking through the things that were still there. Books that had been published all the way back in 1910. Newspapers, still readable, from 1975 (the front page story was about a woman being promoted to Cashier. Woo!). Old records. Racks and racks of now vintage clothing. Hat boxes and trunks. We even found old suitcases filled with hand written letters and a collection of old valentines (chocolate boxes with the wrappers still inside).

It was truly fascinating. I found myself feeling, in a way, privileged, to be able to look into someone’s life like this after they were gone. I was reluctant to remove anything from the home, but part of me kind of wants to go back and ask permission to clean it out. There is so much history inside, so many things that were probably once cherished. Don’t they deserve to be cherished again, put on display somewhere rather than be surrounded by garbage and human filth?

Question of the Day: Would you rescue history from an old abandoned home, or should it be left where it is despite its former owners being gone?

It was an eye opening experience, and a perfect first big adventure for the year. 🙂 We even got this inspiring shot of this defiant little plant managing to grow in the dark sub-floor of this forgotten place.

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I think this plant will be my role model for the year. I’m really impressed with its gusto.

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Photography by the aforementioned beautiful friend Jasmine. 

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Happy New Year, Wake Up Ami is Back!

2014 is Going to be Better

Like many people, my 2013 was a roller coaster, and I’m not talking about the fun “that was fun, let’s do it again” thrill ride kind. I’m talking about something more akin to a runaway mine car plunging into dark tunnels full of jagged rocks and scary mine creatures.

Speaking of tracks, I know that some of you may have noticed that I most definitely fell off track on my resolution list for last year.

2013 was a year of big changes in my life, serious transformations occurred in almost all aspects: social, mental, physical, financial and more. What occurred in my life last year was far more than I could have ever put down in a list for myself, and thus, a few months in I decided to see where the year would take me instead of working off of a list. While goals are great, sometimes it’s just best to go with the flow and see where life takes you.

That being said, though, by the end of the year that seemingly endless roller coaster finally started to slow and delivered me to a far more stable (and happy!) place, and on the eve of the new year I decided…I think I’ll celebrate the feat of making it through 2013 alive with a 2014 full of fun and excitement.

I’m back, and more awake than ever. Here’s the resolution list for 2014. Happy New Year!

1. Paint a painting–without brushes
2. Find treasure in a geocache
3. Get some fancy pajamas
4. Invest
5. Go camping
6. Fund a Kickstarter campaign
7. Stay in a hostel
8. Grow and eat my own vegetables
7. Redecorate or paint a room
8. Write a short story
9. Host a holiday dinner at my place
10. Pay for the person behind me in line
11. Pull a prank
12. Start a YouTube channel
13. Sing karaoke
14. Finish P90X
15. Plant a tree
16. Watch an eclipse
17. Make my own costume for faire / a con
18. Learn how to do make-up…well
19. Get a hammock
20. Marathon an awesome movie series (Star Wars, LOTR, James Bond)
21. Fill up a Moleskine
22. Create a sculpture
23. Crash a party
24. Go a week without social media
25. Cook dinner over an open fire
26. Go sledding
27. Learn something from my mom
28. Make a short film
29. Participate in an open mic night
30. Go ghost hunting in a haunted place
31. Visit an abandoned place
32. Learn another language
33. Drive to another state
34. Go out and take photos of beautiful strangers
35. Tell 50 people how they’ve positively affected my life
36. Get a prison pen pal
37. Make art out of something old
38. Go through my high school journals and see how I’ve changed
39. Do something that feels like flying (sky dive, bungee jump, zip line)
40. Build a cat tree
41. Shop for a week’s groceries using only the farmer’s market
42. Try arco yoga
43. Go see a band I love in another city
44. Win something on the radio
45. Go to Burning Man/Flipside
46. Play in a MTG draft
47. Pay off at least one credit card
48. Travel somewhere by train
49. Create self-portrait every month
50. Create a meditation area
51. Take my nephew out for a day of fun
52. Take my family out to dinner and pay the bill
53. Visit an old teacher
54. Make my own infused alcohol
55. Drastically change my hair
56. Buy a wig
57. Do the 21-day meditation challenge
58. Throw a Gatsby party
59. Write a letter to my future self
60. Learn to play a song on guitar
61. Touch a wild animal
62. Have a tea party
63. Take a foreign cooking class
64. Face a fear
65. Find a good hangout spot
66. Celebrate a non-american holiday
67. Start a tradition
68. Do something to help organize my life
69. Fix my car…before it breaks
70. Do something I remember doing as a kid
71. Hand-make a gift for someone’s birthday or a holiday
72. Get new glasses
73. Find another way to get around short distances
74. Go to a city during an event it’s known for (i.e. Mardis Gras in New Orléans)
75. Learn to read tarot cards without a guide-book
76. Go on a night hike at Wild Basin
77. Learn to drive a motorcycle
78. Start going to local coffee shops instead of Starbucks
79. Take a class at a community college
80. Take a trip into the country
81. Find an interesting opportunity on Craigslist
82. Go a week without make-up
83. Explore a very old or big library
84. Go to a religious service for a religion I don’t know much about
85. Cook a delicious vegan meal
86. Play an indie game
87. Reach out to someone I admire
88. Write an article for a website or publication I like
89. Try a water sport
90. Play tennis
91. Go yard sale hopping on a Saturday morning
92. Go tour a really expensive apt/condo or home that I can not afford
93. Personalize my desk at work
94. Go somewhere I learned about on TV (travel channel, discovery, food network)
95. Make a scrapbook for the year by printing iPhone and FB pictures
96. Read a classic novel
97. Create a wish tree in a park
98. Get a Groupon for something I’ve never done, and do it
99. Go to a sporting event
100. Do charity work on a holiday
101. Do something recommended to me by someone else