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No Disclaimer
by Ninjalicious

On many urban exploration websites you'll see a disclaimer to the effect of "this site is for entertainment purposes only, trespassing is bad, do not try this at home." It's tempting for me to throw one of those disclaimers on this site too, just to be on the safe side, but I can't quite bring myself to do it.
      I don't think there is anything wrong with urban exploration, at least not the type described here and on 95 percent of the other sites on the Internet, and I can't pretend I do. Genuine urban explorers never vandalize, steal or damage anything — we don't even litter. We're in it for the thrill of discovery and a few nice pictures, and probably have more respect for and appreciation of our cities' hidden spaces than most of the people who think we're naughty. We don't harm the places we explore. We love the places we explore.
      While it's true that some aspects of the hobby happen to be illegal, it's important not to confuse the words "illegal" and "immoral". Laws against trespassing are like laws against being out after curfew: people get into trouble not for actually doing anything harmful, but simply because the powers that be are worried that they might.
      Nor is exploration illegal simply because it's dangerous. The liability-conscious may disagree, but in my opinion, the hobby is no less of a personally assessed risk than smoking, driving or even riding a bike.
      I find it sad that most people go through life oblivious to the countless — free — wonders around them. Too many of us think the only things worth looking at in our cities and towns are those safe and sanitized attractions that require an admission fee. It's no wonder people feel unfulfilled as they shuffle through the maze of velvet ropes on their way out through the gift shop.
      Urban explorers strive to actually earn their experiences, by making discoveries that allow them to get in on the secret workings of cities and structures, and to appreciate fantastic, obscure spaces that might otherwise go completely neglected.
      When you step away from the TV and think about it, humans are naturally curious creatures. We can't help but want to see the world around us; we're designed to explore and to play, and these instincts haven't disappeared just because most of us now live in large cities where parking lots have replaced common areas, malls have replaced city squares and the only public spaces that remain are a few grudgingly conceded parkettes.
      This isn't the way things should be, of course, since cities should be for citizens, but urban explorers aren't generally fighters. We don't seek to smash the state, just to ignore its advice on a subject it doesn't really know much about. When we see a sign that says "Danger: Do Not Enter", we understand that this is simply a shorthand way of saying "Leaving Protected Zone: Demonstrate Personal Accountability Beyond This Point".
      Urban exploration is free, fun and hurts no one. It's a thrilling, mind-expanding hobby that encourages our natural instincts to explore and play in our own environment. It encourages people to create their own adventures, like when they were kids, instead of buying the pre-packaged kind. And it nurtures a sense of wonder in the everyday spaces we inhabit or pass by that few local history books could ever hope to recreate. I've had some of the best moments of my life while exploring, and I can't recommend the hobby enough.
      So, no disclaimer. Not for your entertainment only. Please do try this at home.