- A swarm of ten waterspouts in a squall line perhaps twelve miles away from my ship off the coast of Georgia.
- A line of one hundred and ten wild elephants treading slowly to the watering hole one hundred feet below where I sat.
- Sleeping next to a ballistic missile tube on a submarine, and later watching the bulkheads crush inwards towards us as we went below a thousand feet underwater.
- Taking a catapult shot off an aircraft carrier, zero to 150 in two seconds flat. We were facing backwards in the small transport plane, and you know those movies where everything in your line of sight suddenly stretches away from you? It did exactly that, I promise you.
Drop by a retirement home sometime and you'll probably see a few old men who'd retired from the military many, many years before. Sometimes they talk about life after they retired, and more often about their families and especially their children...but once in a while they'll tell you some of their most precious memories, the ones that come from the times that they spent in the military. They probably won't tell you of the bad times, and the combat vets normally only share these with those who've seen that particular elephant. I saw no combat, but I understand their silence. Fear, rage, horror, utter heartbreak - people don't want to relive these memories with those who cannot know how it felt. They'd much rather remember the good times, the great experiences, the grand sights and sounds of lives led to the fullest.
- Chasing a wallaby into the woods in Tasmania.
- Feeling the bone-chilling cold deep inside a glacier on Mount Rainier.
- Walking down a street at night in Singapore with Mujaheddin from Afghanistan (back when they were the good guys).
- Looking at a baboon holding a silver sugar cup as he squatted by the coffee server in Tsavo East, Kenya. He looked back at us, and none of us were stupid enough to mess with him. He finally left by climbing up to the roof. He took the cup of sugar, too.
The experiences of an adventure aren't always nice, but such unpleasant memories teach us to be grateful for the lives we lead. We see those who are trapped in their lives with no way out, doomed to die from a sickness easily curable in first-world countries, or sentenced to live lives trapped in grinding poverty.