Too often we go through our “ordinary” lives without thinking about how incredible and amazing our planet really is.  

While some have contested that science has taken some of the wonder out of our lives by explaining the natural phenomena around us, I would disagree. 

Science helps us to greater appreciate our world for its amazing complexity. There is nothing, no matter how drab and common, that is not wonderful in its own way. 

When I walk to class, I prefer not to listen to music, but rather to look at the world around me and find joy in the little moments of seeing the first robin of springtime, or the bursting of an orchid from the ground. 

I dare not miss these moments, as only the present is assured. 

I also love hearing the stories of people’s lives. Everyone has a story, and almost everyone wants to share it. Just ask and you never know what new and incredible thing you will find out. 

I first started collecting strange tales and facts after I learned from one of my local librarians that she had once found a returned book in which a piece of raw bacon was being used as a bookmark. 

Since then, I have been given private biographies, albums with unique historic photographs, told a multitude of local myths and legends, and learned to appreciate everyone and everything around me. Simply because I asked and chose to see. 

Although, as these things were shared with me in private, I will keep them that way, I decided to include some interesting facts and stories about our wonderful world below. I hope you enjoy!

There are a plethora of human wonders, such as the 1944 incident when Flight Sargent Nicholas Alkemade’s bomber was shot down while returning to his airfield in the United Kingdom after a bombing raid on Berlin.

After his parachute was burned to ash, Alkemade chose to jump without his parachute rather than burn to death and fell 18,000 feet. After crashing through trees and landing in deep snow, Alkemade was captured with nothing more than a sprained ankle. 

However, Alkemade does not hold the record for the highest free fall without a parachute, that record would have go to Vesna Vulovic, a Serbian flight attendant who was the sole survivor of JAT Flight 367 and landed in Czechoslovakia after a fall of 33,000 feet and survived due to extremely extenuating circumstances. 

There are also natural wonders of the world that boggle the mind, and some of which defy even the powers of science. 

In Mexico, a crystal cave reaches temperatures of over 136 degrees Fahrenheit and has 90 to 99 percent humidity. If humans cannot remain too long in the cave as water vapor will begin to condense in the coolest place in the cave: your lungs.

Near Puerto Concha, Venezuela, the Catatumbo Lighting storm occurs around 260 nights a year in the exact same location; it is possibly one of the strangest weather phenomena on the planet.

There are plethora of strange and unique facts that may surprise you.  

For one, we are never actually experiencing the present, rather because of the shockingly brief neural delay between our eyes and our brain; we are experiencing time a split second in the past. 

It might also surprise you that light does not always travel at the speed of light, but can in fact move as slowly as 38 miles per hour. 

In addition, during World War II, some poor sod was the only person to die by longbow at the hands of “Mad” Jack Churchill who went into battle with a longbow and sword. 

Hey, you never know what you will find out or see if you look hard enough and ask enough people. 

The world may be easier to explain due to science, and seem smaller due to advances in transportation technology, but it is no less astonishing because of these advances, and its land and people have many stories to tell and many incredible sights to see. 

Look around and see the beauty that is around us every day, everywhere we go. Everyone’s story is worth hearing, and yours is worth being told. Never take anyone else or yourself for granted. 

Keep your eyes and ears open, this is a pretty crazy and amazing world that we live in, and you never know what you’re going to see or hear!