I try to get out into the wilderness of New Jersey at least twice a month. Mostly the Pine Barrens, but every county in Jersey has great places to hike, discover and explore.
Here are four inspirational YouTube content creators who specialize in exploring the parks and woodlands of New Jersey:
Cherri400 has videos of just about every park or woods in New Jersey. What to learn about a park? Check out her videos. I found her channel while looking for Pine Barrens “blue hole” information. “Blue holes” are sand pits that fill in with water. She posts new videos at least once a week.
I found the Wandering Woodsman’s channel while looking for Pine Barrens videos. He posts new hiking and camping videos from Pennsylvania and sometimes New Jersey, almost every day. My favorite videos are when he visited the Pine Barrens.
DD’s video about the Hibernia Bat Cave inspired me to explore it myself (my article). Like the Wandering Woodsman, DD explores New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Great videos to inspire your next trip.
Rustic Ventures also specializes in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She posts a few times a month, and has some great Pine Barrens videos. Her video about ABANDONED BUNKERS in NJ Pine Barrens inspired plans for a future trip for me. I’m familiar with the bunkers in Middletown, NJ, but not in the Pines.
I’m not much of a world traveler. “Someday”. That said, I enjoy and am inspired by stories of world travelers and adventurers. Here are some podcasts featuring stories of world travel hosted by famous comedians.
YouTuber This is Dan Bell has two fascinating series worth watching: Dead Mall Series and Another Dirty Room. If you like to travel to see unusual things (as I do), or you simply enjoy cringing, these series are for you. If you’re a business major, you should watch them too.
Dan, video camera in hand, explores abandoned and dying shopping malls and big-box stores, in the Dead Mall Series. Malls seem to be dying at a rapid pace across America, due to online shopping, the slow death of once-popular retailers, and changing demographics. Dan’s mini-documentaries provide a cringe-worthy but beautiful (kriechenschön) autopsy of a once cornerstone aspect of the American dream.
The malls Dan films are mostly studies in early 1990s decor, like pastel colors and diamond & ribbon shapes, and oddly-beautiful decay and destruction. Light cascades down from shattered skylights, feeding a small jungle of trees and weeds that have claimed an old fountain/planter. Vines creep out of planers to rest on seats once intended for mall shoppers. Sprays of shattered glass glimmer like diamonds on floors where hope once strode. (Maybe that’s too poetic).
Dan details the history of the malls, including the reasons why they failed. Many malls die when their “anchor” stores die. Anchor stores include once-great retailers like Sears, K-mart, and JCPenny. The times have not been kind to these former giants. When the anchor dies, it’s like an animal losing its mouth — the rest of the mall loses the nourishment (shoppers) that the anchor provides, and the whole thing collapses and dies.
In his most recent installment, Two Quirky Malls in Michigan: Dort Mall & Hampton Square Mall, Dan visits a fascinating “small mall” called the Dort Mall owned by hockey-magnate Bob Perani. The Dort Mall is an unintended museum of Americana (neon signs, a dinosaur made of car parts) and pop culture (a boat from the Doctor Doolittle film), and home to a single operating hockey equipment store. This is the type of stuff I would pull over to the side of the road to photograph, but it is all conveniently collected in a single dying mall.
Dan and his team of forensic friends Will Krupinsky & Rick Serra check into hotel & motel rooms just to see how dirty a random room can be, in Another Dirty Room. As someone who stays in a lot of hotel rooms, this series piqued my interest and sparked new fears.
Vermin (roaches, fleas, bedbugs, mice), human bodily fluids (including shocking sprays of blood), cigarette burns, soiled bedding, literally rotting pillows, pre-moistened hotel soaps… they’re all there in almost every episode.
The show is equal parts horror and comedy. The lighting and videography are cable TV reality-show quality. I’m reminded of reality-tv classics like Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs, and my all-time favorite, Dave Attell’s Insomniac. Will Krupinsky is innately hilarious — he’s like a Matt Judge character come to life.