At the old age of eighteen when I knew everything, I hopped on a plane and flew clear across the country to attend college in Maryland. Four years of intense academic and physical stressors had me huddled in front of my computer screen googling images of "Monterey Park" for comfort. I won't lie, the Naval Academy felt like my idea of a minimum security prison and I did not enjoy much of it, if any. However awful my experiences were, I am very glad that I attended the university and would definitely do it again. Probably.
After graduation I was launched off into the "real" Navy - moving locations every six to twelve months to satisfy the aviation pipeline. It was two brutal years of intense training before I was designated a Naval Aviator and promptly sent to Washington state to commence executing actual missions against our enemies. I slowly moved up the ranks within my squadron - earning the title of Aircraft Commander and eventually Mission Commander. At the age of twenty-six I was commanding a crew of twenty-four and a multi-million dollar aircraft flying miles away from some of the most politically sensitive countries in the world. It was awesome.
My career path has taken me full circle to Corpus Christi, Texas where I now train the future of Naval Aviation, executing two to three flights a day and teaching the new pilots how to not kill me. From all of my experiences and visits around the world so far, I can easily say that the California coast wins the award for some of the best places on Earth.
This is where the idea for a website was born. It felt like a waste to not share these experiences and pictures with whoever wanted to take the time
to read about them. So I created a very simple blog to document my travels. The blog was upgraded to a website. And eventually the website was
upgraded to what you see here...this coding nightmare of a website. Enjoy!
The majority of these journeys have been transcribed into short posts with pictures. If you haven't gathered already, my writing is very sarcastic, and if my experiences at one location were less than desirable, the short read will easily reflect that. That isn't to say that the location itself is horrible, it is simply what I experienced during my short stay there, and I hope that your stay in these locations proves more favorable. Except Iraq. Don't go to Iraq. The majority of these locations were amazing however - good friends, good people, and a very generous amount of hospitality.
The remaining sections - Photos and Archive, are very straight-forward. The Photos section displays various pictures I thought
were worth highlighting and may not appear in any of the posts. The Archive is a comprehensive list of all the cities I've had the privilege
of visiting. It even comes with a world map for you to stare at for hours.
Then one day while reading a friend's blog about her travels in Japan, a light clicked. I could do this too! Version 1 of my website began with a free blogspot subscription. A few photos of one location were posted alongside a few paragraphs of narrative outlining my experiences in the specified place. Multiple posts were created before I decided to upgrade to an actual personal website. Once clear of the coding nightmare, Version 2 was born in all its semi-glory. Version 2 was a significant improvement from the original version, but still lacked that professional touch I am attempting to achieve here with Version 3. Additional endless hours of coding later, the finished product is what you see before you. And who knows, in a few more months, this product may seem outdated and will require a complete site overhaul. Hooray.
This section aims to introduce the reader to a location somewhere on this planet and to be able to see it from my viewpoint - whether
that be an overall good or bad viewpoint. My writing will reflect my mood during the entire visitation process. Hope you enjoy!
Back in 2006 during the height of postsecret.com, a postcard with mysterious GPS coordinates was posted to the website. The card made the nightly news and created a sizable stir on the internet. What lay waiting at these coordinates? Money? A dead body? Curiosity got the best of me and with a little help from Google I learned the GPS point was about forty minutes away in a slightly overgrown Maryland wilderness park. While attempting to map out the area as best I could using googlemaps, I noticed a tiny structure nestled in a forest of dead trees down the road from the park. I would definitely have to pay this a visit.
It was several weeks until I finally made it to the park. A short hike through an unmaintained trail led to a natural cave made from the roots of a tree. Inside sat the mystery - a plastic-wrapped Postsecret book. The discovery was like unwrapping clothes on Christmas...but really cool clothes. My focus immediately turned to the strange house in the woods.
My tennis shoes crunched through the inches of dead leaves covering the ground. The winter air was deathly still. Not a sound except the leaves and my breathing could be heard. An ominous wood and brick structure slowly became visible through the gnarled trees - a pitch-black window sat like a dark, rectangular eye, watching me as I crept slowly forward. A quick walk around the perimeter revealed no way to get to the second floor. So what now? Find a way to crawl into the eye of course. I don't remember exactly how I got up there, but as soon as I jumped through the window I instantly regretted it. The entire floor was covered in shreds of deer skin and deer legs in various stages of decomposition - anywhere from cracked bones to rotting flesh still clinging on. Naturally I was freaked out and left soon after this gruesome discovery.
To date, this little farmhouse marks one of the creepiest and strangest things I have ever encountered while exploring
abandoned locations. Strangely enough, I was not deterred from this startling experience and soon found myself
looking for other decrepit locations to visit. Maryland and Virginia were full of them. Abandoned
hospitals, asylums, even an amusement park all made the list. I was hooked. This portion of my website was
created to share some of my darker discoveries while traveling around the United States - the places you seldom
hear about and those that are long forgotten.