Buzludzha, Bulgaria

Sneaking into an abandoned, derelict Communism headquarters definitely ranks as one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done. After miles of wondering if you’re headed in the right direction, the building suddenly lands on the horizon as you drive along the curving roads. As the front doors were chained shut, I crawled through a hole halfway up the wall to get inside. The main chamber was impressive, even destroyed. The mosaic art circling the room is chipped away, save the amazing iridescent hammer and sickle on the ceiling. The floor was littered with chunks of ceiling and insulation, damp despite the lack of recent precipitation. The 360-degree gaping ledges that once had glass give views to the pristine nature surrounding the building as far as the eye can see.

I think a lot of the excitement came from visiting something that is technically off limits. The extra rush of adrenaline was so powerful. Also, seeing something that relatively few people get to see is uplifting, not because I have to be the “best” traveler, but because I tend to diminish my accomplishments and seeing something rare is one of the ways that I reinforce that my travel is an achievement I should be proud of.

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