Avoiding Regret: Treading the Offbeat Path in Deceivingly Familiar Territory with Sandi Hemmerlein

Sandi Hemmerlein spent the first 18 years of her life staring out the windows of her parents’ house, not allowed to walk out the door, wondering what was happening “out there.” Surviving such a sheltered childhood led to an incredible backlash that thrust her into the world with much gusto to see, taste, smell, and touch everything she could—starting with her figurative “own backyard”.

St. Francis Dam disaster site

Although she has traveled to more far-flung locales—like North Africa, Budapest, Havana, and Chernobyl—where she has really hit her stride is finding adventure within a day’s drive, quite frequently right underfoot. She has developed a knack for spotting something intriguing that’s hiding in plain sight—say, on the side of the road—and taking the time to unravel its untold stories and hidden history.

Dinosaur Swampland



Whether it’s decommissioned rail lines or roads, ghost towns, or abandoned sites and ruins, she hasn’t had to travel very far to find more than meets the eye.




Sandi Hemmerlein is an avid explorer, blogger, and photographer who spends a lot of time exploring unusual locations and experiences in Southern California and beyond.

A former field agent for Atlas Obscura in Los Angeles, Sandi currently shares her discoveries in her column “SoCal Wanderer” for KCET.org. She also hosts her own blog at http://www.avoidingregret.com.

This program was organized by Kendall Hudson, member #1206.