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15 People Tell Their Most Incredible “Once in a Lifetime” Stories

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There are moments in our lives that when they happen, you know they’ll never happen again.

That’s what makes them so special.

In this article, AskReddit users share their best “once in a lifetime” experiences.

1. Green Day in the house

“Live in Australia, friend and I decided to go check out a bowling alley on street I lived on at the time.

Walk in, discover Green Day there bowling, ended up spending the night having drinks and chats with them and their crew.”

2. The Motherland

“Taking my grandmother to Ireland for her 75th birthday. It certainly wasn’t my most fiscally responsible decision, but it was worth every penny to spend that time together.

Her grandparents had emigrated from Ireland to the U.S. in the 1890s and she grew up hearing stories of their life in Galway. Getting to experience “the motherland” with her and explore the Irish coastline together while sipping whiskey are memories I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. She knew an old song for almost every single town we stopped in.”

3. The C word

“In 2008, 10 days before the election, my republican roommate dragged me to a McCain rally happening on campus. I knew I was voting for Obama but thought “hey? why not, could be interesting”.

Campaign manager picked me out of the crowd before it started to stand behind him during the speech. This would be normal as lots of people do this. What was different this time is that during the speech, McCain accidentally said “The rates were c*nt in the Bush years.”

I ended up on national news, TMZ, etc., standing behind a presidential candidate who dropped the C-bomb. If you google “John McCain says c*nt”, you’ll probably find it 🙂 “

4. OMG

“When I first moved to nyc, I decided to randomly go to a bar alone because its name was the fat black pussycat and I didn’t have anything else to do.

Ran into one of top drinking buddies from when I lived in Beijing three years before that. And he was Israeli. He was just representing Israel at come conference here. Neither of us knew each other had left China.

The experience went as follows,

I tap him on his shoulder, “Yawni?”

He turns around in complete confusion.

Me, looking incredibly embarrassed:” Sorry, sorry you look just like my friend. But he lives in Shanghai. And I live in nyc. This is impossible. Ah f*ck. Sorry enjoy your drinks.”

He still looking at me in shock.

Me: You are my friend.

Both of us: Holy sh*t holy sh*t omg.

Proceeded to get comfortably V drunk with my old friend for the entire weekend.

Probably the most random thing to happen to me.”

5. A memorable send off

“A good friend of mine was leaving the country to go and work in Australia permanently. Me, him, and another friend all had one last night out together.

At the time I lived in a rented flat within a manor house (long story) and this house had a driveway that was over a mile long and not easy to turn around in. For that reason in the summer months we would ask taxi’s to drop us at the top of the drive and we’d walk the mile under the stars. It was very flat and open and away from a lot of light pollution so it wasn’t all that dark or creepy or anything.

Anyway, we’re about 3/4 of the way to the house and we start hearing a fizz. We look up and there’s a shooting star right above us. But not like a little speck, it was like lower than a plane would be. And we could all hear it ripping through the sky. The tail was visible for about 30 seconds afterwards.

It was a really memorable send off.”

6. Bear!

“I went to Svalbard this August and –amongst other things — went on a boat tour to a glacier.

On the way to the glacier the captain was radio’d by another boat that there had been a sighting of a polar bear in the area of the glacier, which in itself is rather rare.

The ‘once in a lifetime’-part was that, as we approached the glacier, our boat was radio’d by the governor of Svalbard, who told the captain that the bear was getting too close to a research station.

Normally you are required to keep a distance of half a kilometer to polar bears. In this instance we had explicit permission to scare them away by getting close and turning up our motor.

As we got closer, we noticed that it wasn’t a single polar bear, but a mother and its cub. So I got within 200 meters of a wild polar bear cub.

tl;dr: Went to polar circle, got within 200m of a polar bear cub.”

7. That’s a good one

“Seeing my Grandma ride a bicycle on her 100th birthday. RIP Grandma.

No, she didn’t die from riding the bicycle.”

8. The Sahara

“A few months ago, I went on a safari trip to the middle of the Sahara desert via Morocco side. It took a few days and many, many hours in a car. You don’t really appreciate the beauty and the vastness of Sahara desert and specifically the sand dunes until you approach them from afar. It’s beauty is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The rolling hills and extreme emptiness makes you appreciate the sheer size of not only the desert but the world as a whole.

Once we got there, it was another couple hours of atv then camel back ride until we were in the nowhere of it all. If you walked 10 mins out from camp, you probably wouldn’t be able to find your way back as even your footsteps are taken back into the desert. After dinner and dancing with the fellow travelers, I took my music and water over a few hills and sat. I sat there for hours, until the sun came up. The landscape and quietness take your thoughts in different directions and make you think of the world and your place in it.

The desert, the sun seems brighter, the distance longer, and the landscape infinite. The trek is demanding and the night sky feels untouched by any man building or light. The place is completely quiet, and maybe that’s because it already knows what it is and is completely ok with that. Ill take that memory with me as long as I walk.”

9. Phish-head

“Seeing Phish at an Indian reservation for New Years Eve 1999. All the crazy Y2K rumors were rampant. We we literally living in a tent community for three days of live music, including the famous Phish NY show that started at 11:50 PM and last until almost 8am in the morning,

Being exhausted and hoarse, walking off the concert area with my dear friends, arm in arm, under the first beautiful sunrise of 2000 was a once in a lifetime thing and indelibly seared into my brain. Nearly 20 years later and it can still bring a tear to my eye and goosebumps when I think about it. It was so special; just pure and glorious.”

10. Manatee sighting

“A few years ago I was at Myrtle Beach on vacation with my family. I had just smoked a joint and was looking around in the surf with a mask and snorkel when I realized people were shouting and pointing over by me. From above I could see a large dark shape moving toward me, I decided I would rather be able to see whatever it was head on and dropped back under the water, all the shit from TV about punching a shark in the gills flashed in my mind as I tried not to panic.

It was a manatee! I put my hand out and it didn’t shy away and swam by right next to me as I ran my hand from it’s shoulder to it’s tail. I was the only one it got close to as it swam toward the marina. I still am like “woah did that really happen?” “

11. Flood story

“I was in Singapore during the rainy season and I was pretty far away from where I was staying. It got dark really fast and you could see these giant storm clouds forming in the dark. The biggest storm I have ever seen hits immediately, the rain drops were longer than my finger and were quickly flooding the streets. As I sat there in the line waiting for a taxi, thunder and lightning started crashing. The lightning was so bright and close it was like fireworks. I eventually had to take a bus because everyone was taking taxis.

The streets were literally flooded knee deep in water and the lightning was so bright. I got off the bus and was probably 2 football fields away from the place I was staying. So I bolted as soon as I stepped off the bus, I looked like I had just jumped in a pool the rain was so heavy. Seeing as I was already soaked I basically got into this ‘Singing in the Rain’ mentality and just sat in the rain and enjoyed it. I walked with my legs half submerged in water with thunder crashes louder than guns and giant flashes of lightning striking every 8 seconds. It was the most relaxing, enjoyable experience I’ve ever had.”

12. The omen

“In my teenage years I worked at a country club on a fake lake. I used to drive the pontoon boat for booze cruises. After hours, some friends and I stole the boat to have some fun, but ended up getting the propeller caught in a plastic tarp. Dead in the water, a cop from the shoreline shone his lights at us knowing we were hooligans doing ne’er-do-well. We panicked, I jumped in the water and pushed the boat to the opposite shore.

After removing the tarp and returning the boat to the port, we scurried to ditch the cop. Once we felt like we were safe, we stood there and made a pact never to do anything like that again. At that moment a burst of light on the horizon trailed over us and we watched with awe. It was low flying, enough to see the solid speck tumbling in its own luminescence. It was surreal and something we talked about all summer. We called it ‘the omen’. “

13. Just the two of you

“An event at the Louvre. I was alone in the room showing Mona Lisa.”

14. Close call

“Got caught in an avalanche while skiing in Austria and managed to survive by slamming my skiis against a tree.

After I got over the shock of being alive I realized that my coat was pierced by a tree branch. If had been a centimeter or two longer it would have been in my lung.

That incredible experience that caused me to savor every breath was immediately canceled out by the most dull afternoon of my life searching for my friend’s skiis then all of us hiking back up the mountain.”

15. Scary

“Had my keys stolen which started a mini riot at the max security juvenile detention center I worked at.”