One afternoon during my freshman year of college, my roommate and I were navigating through unfamiliar territory, trying to find our way back to campus from a doctor’s appointment. We took a wrong turn and stumbled upon an abandoned Victorian home.
I have always wanted to explore a deserted building as if my life was an episode of “Goosebumps,” but in high school my mother would have killed me if she heard rumors of me trespassing. However, my roomie and I, now independent college students, decided to scope the place out.
From a young age, I’ve yearned for adventure. I watched “E.T.” and aspired to ride past the full moon on a flying bicycle. I watched “Stand By Me” and desired to race a train while searching for a dead body. But at age ten having yet to find sunken treasure like the characters in “The Goonies,” I realized that life isn’t a movie.
Coming to college, I accepted that my free time would primarily consist of Netflix, coffee shop hangs and frat parties, the same as every other college student in America. I remember the first few months of my freshman year as rushed and fuzzy; things were so busy I could barely see the world around me.
That all changed after the day we found the deserted Victorian house. Inside we found old postcards written between lovers separated during World War II, vintage furniture that looked like it could be featured on HGTV’s “Fixer Upper,” an unhealthy amount of dust, and unlimited spots for the perfect Instagram photo.
Needless to say, our study breaks were never the same again.
Over the past year, my friends and I have scaled bridges at dawn, explored cemeteries at nightfall, climbed onto rooftops to watch the sun set and snuck into countless abandon warehouses. People fail to realize that the neighborhoods they pass and the roads they drive down each day hold unlimited potential for adventure.
Whenever people ask me about the “odd” activities I partake in, I never hesitate to answer: there will never be a better time in my life to explore the world around me.
I’m not too busy, old or tired to explore and create adventure. I won’t be able to climb a rooftop when I’m eighty, and in a few years I’ll be too busy watching “Barney” with my children to hang out in a cemetery. It would be a crime to pass up an opportunity to have a unique experience with my friends in this day and age.
College students: you won’t be this young and this independent forever. Don’t limit your environment to your classroom and your dorm. Get out and explore! Gather your friends and drive until you find the perfect spot to check out. Choose today to make your life the movie you always wanted it to be.