1. Driving a 4x4 through the inland wilderness expanse of Iceland, summer 2004.
2. Flying in a small, rickety Cessna 6-seater plane over Auyan Tepui and Angel Falls, Venezuela, December 2007.
3. Seeing mountain gorillas in Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park, Virungas, December 2010.
4. Getting close to a leopard, almost to touching distance (from a jeep) on safari in Sabi Sabi game reserve next to Kruger Park, South Africa, August 2003.
5. Getting hyper (and slightly drunk) with my fellow travellers and North Korean guide in the lobby bar of the Yanggakdo Hotel in Pyongyang, DPRK, after having been in the middle of Kim Il Sung Square in a mass dance, which had been a totally psychedelic experience (though otherwise 100% drug-free), August 2005.
6. sitting in the middle of a troupe of Gelada monkeys in the Simien mounrtains in Ethiopia, January 2020
7. Cruising on a boat amongst icebergs near Tasiilaq in East Greenland, even getting up close to hack off a bit of ice, which was used in the evening in a glass of whisky (the only time I've ever used ice in whisky – it was the only imaginable excuse for such a crime … see food & drink). Listening to the millennia-old air pockets in the glacial ice crackle in the glass as the ice dissolved was a magical, almost mystical moment, August 2004.
8. The magical close encounters I had with king penguins on the Falkland Islands.
9. Hiking on my own from Morar to Loch Nevis and back (irresponsible, I know, esp. since I hadn't even told anybody I was going on this hike) and when pausing hearing no sound at all other than my own heartbeat, west-coast Scotland, Great Britain, 1995.
10. Lifting off (backwards!) in a helicopter for the first time in my life, over New York City, in summer 2002.
others (runners up)
- New Year's Eve party in Sir George Martin's house on Montsearrat, 2009/2010
- saving a sloth that was crossing a main road in the interior of Suriname by lifting him up and helping him along to the other side of the road, otherwise he would surely have been squashed by the many lorries that use that road between Paramaribo and the inland mining operations, August 2019.
- watching a pair of giant otters playing and devouring piranhas at Karanambu Lodge, Upper Rupununi, Guyana, August 2019
- doing the dicey Lot’s Wife hike on St Helena – and surviving it (the narrow trail with loose scree alongside sheer drops to the ocean were really quite precarious), August 2018.
- getting up close to, and totally wet by the relentless spray from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, July 2018
- visiting the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, and witnessing the tens of thousands of Sikhs in their best attire coming for a pilgrimage here and being fed en masse in large halls, with food prepared by volunteers in vast kitchen tracts, and being constantly being asked to pose with Sikh pilgrims for group selfies, December 2016.
- driving through the extreme landscapes of the Alti Plano in the Andes at ca. 5000m above sea level in Bolivia, January 2012
- watching a troupe of proboscis monkeys in the trees in Tanjung Puting National Park in Kalimantan (central Borneo), Indonesia, before moving on to watch orang utans, August 2014
--- back to non-dark travel ---