sightseeing

How An Instagram Urban Explorer Forged A Lifetime Bond With An 'Abandoned' Home’s Occupant

It's sometimes hard to tell if a building is abandoned or just a little neglected. That's why, if you're not careful, urban exploring can quickly turn into breaking and entering. And that might have happened to an explorer named __the_tourist__ last year when she entered a seemingly abandoned home. But she experienced something else entirely...

  • An Instagram user named " __the_tourist__" has been exploring and photographing Ontario's abandoned buildings for years.

    __the_tourist__ via Instagram

    An Instagram user named " __the_tourist__" has been exploring and photographing Ontario's abandoned buildings for years.

    Urban explorers like The Tourist face risks when they go on excursions. They often navigate old, shoddy buildings that have weak floors or caved-in ceilings. And some of these buildings are private property, rendering all unauthorized exploration illegal...

  • Urban Explorers often have to ask themselves if buildings are actually abandoned.

    __the_tourist__ via Instagram

    Urban Explorers often have to ask themselves if buildings are actually abandoned.

    There are many occasions where an explorer might wrongfully assume a house is abandoned. Sometimes people go on long trips and leave their homes unattended. Elderly people often leave their homes for extended hospital stays, or to live in nursing homes. And sometimes, houses are indeed abandoned.

  • This predicament became very real last year when The Tourist explored this seemingly abandoned home...

    __the_tourist__ via Instagram

    This predicament became very real last year when The Tourist explored this seemingly abandoned home...

    It was The Tourist's birthday, and after a long day of exploring, she decided to make one final stop at this house. With overgrown weeds and a caved-in roof, she thought this home had long been abandoned. But what she discovered inside would change the rest of her life.

  • The house wasn't abandoned at all. Inside was a man named Lawrence.

    __the_tourist__ via Instagram

    The house wasn't abandoned at all. Inside was a man named Lawrence.

    "I found him in the living room. He has a hard time getting around so he spends most of his time in there. Alone. He is missing his right eye and has cataracts infecting the left. Even after noticing a stranger essentially helping themselves to his life, he was nothing but sweet and kind to me," she wrote. After some pleasant conversation, the new friends made plans to meet again.

  • Soon after, they had their first dinner together.

    __the_tourist__ via Instagram

    Soon after, they had their first dinner together.

    "Tonight was the first of what will be many dinner dates with my new friend. Over the course of 3 hours we ate and drank and laughed. I was fortunate enough to hear about his life.. His struggles and his triumphs. This truly was one of the best experiences of my life & I can't wait to share another meal with such a gentle soul."

  • After some more dinner dates, The Tourist learned more about Lawrence.

    __the_tourist__ via Instagram

    After some more dinner dates, The Tourist learned more about Lawrence.

    "Tonight we sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful evening. He explained to me how his injuries started in 2000 when a bull fractured his hip. He told me of his brothers illness and how they have lost touch. He said I was a blessing to him. I told him I couldn't put into words what he means to me," she wrote.

  • She felt that she could help Lawrence by cleaning up his dirty home.

    __the_tourist__ via Instagram

    She felt that she could help Lawrence by cleaning up his dirty home.

    "He is THE kindest man. He has melted my heart. I brought him some chili and tea biscuits and some snacks for the next few days until I can make it back later this week. I hope to have most of the trash cleared out and a few repairs done by the end of the summer. Give him a bit of his home back."

  • And she followed through.

    __the_tourist__ via Instagram

    And she followed through.

    She soon returned with some friends and a local company to clean up his home. "He is beyond grateful, not just to me. He knows you are all following his story :) After a few recent visits to the doctors, it's apparent that his health is declining, rapidly. These may be the last few months I have with my friend and I plan to make them as comfortable and enjoyable for him as possible," she wrote.

  • Despite the pain, both were more than glad to have met each other.

    __the_tourist__ via Instagram

    Despite the pain, both were more than glad to have met each other.

    "He's informed me of his funeral arrangements and has asked me to be there. I told him I wouldn't have it any other way. He shared something with me that will stay with me forever. He said the day I showed up was the best day of his life. As self righteous as I feel writing that, I understand how he feels. The best day of my life was when I met him."

  • Thankfully, Lawrence is still around.

    __the_tourist__ via Instagram

    Thankfully, Lawrence is still around.

    "After a prolonged stay at two different hospitals after his last stroke, Lawrence is now living at a local retirement home and doing much better. He's safe and warm and seems to be fairly happy to be around some new people, although I know he misses home. I bring my dog Violet with me when I go for my visits," she wrote.

  • The Tourist is grateful to have met Lawrence.

    __the_tourist__ via Instagram

    The Tourist is grateful to have met Lawrence.

    The tourist accompanied Lawrence to a church BBQ recently. "It was great to see him out of the house and around the people he’s known his whole life," she wrote. "Driving home tonight I couldn’t help but think to myself how lucky I am to have this opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful person's life."

  • Here's hoping that Lawrence stays around a bit longer in good health.

    __the_tourist__ via Instagram

    Here's hoping that Lawrence stays around a bit longer in good health.

    If you'd like to stay updated on The Tourist's and Lawrence's story, you can follow her Instagram account.

Next Page: 19 Thoughts Everyone Has While Staying In A Shady Motel

Comments