Atlas Obscura

Expand your sense of amazing and strange experiences!

If shaking up your usual routines is on your New Year’s Resolutions list for 2017, then check out Atlas Obscura. It is a collaborative project by two curious men to locate ‘undiscovered’ adventures. Atlas Obscura was founded in 2009 by Joshua Foer and Dylan Thuras. Mr. Foer is a science journalist and his work has taken him all around the world searching for curious things. His first book was Moonwalking with Einstein which is about how he became the U.S. Memory Champion. It was an international bestseller and published in 31 languages.

Mr. Thuras’s search for the unusual began as a teenager. He has traveled extensively and lived in Budapest for a year to explore Eastern Europe. He met Mr. Foer when they collaborated on an evening of wonders together. They wanted to find a way for curious travelers to find gems around the world, and Atlas Obscura was born.

They depend upon their Field Agents and the far-flung explorers to discover amazing and unknown places, share them and make them accessible. Field Agents are the core of the Obscura Society, working to come up with adventures and ways to make them happen. They are always looking for more Field Agents, in case you’re thinking of a new career. An explorer is anyone who makes a discovery. If you find a curious place not already included in the Atlas, let them know!

By ‘amazing and unknown places’ I am referring to things like miniature cities, glass flowers, books bound in human skin, gigantic flaming holes in the ground, a poison garden, bone churches, or homes built entirely out of newspaper.   That is only a sampling of what the Atlas Obscura teams have discovered.

The Field Agents hold events and ‘real-world’ adventures. For example, the Journey Into Darkness event in Iceland will be on March 9 – 12, 2017. It is described as ‘a winter adventure in the land of ice and fire’. There will be an event in Lake Hughes, CA called “Playing With Wolves” which allows participants to meet and play with a pack of Alaskan Timber Wolves. In January alone there are 23 events being held around the U.S and one in Bulgaria. Check out future events here.

There is a newsletter that readers can join and be kept up to date on what’s newly discovered, and related articles. They have a searchable database of over 10,000 amazing places, many original stories, and information on the adventures, trips and events they organize. They are also on Instagram which is a fun way to follow them. Search for atlasobscura.

The Atlas Obscura team published a book in 2016 called An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders. It contains over 700 of the world’s undiscovered strange and curious places. The book is $21.00 but is currently sold out on Amazon. Other sources are listed here.

Atlas Obscura travel