“One of the Best Things I've Done in My Life!”
I think that the Montana trip is one of the best things I've done in my life! The biggest plus side for me was doing it with other Marines I served with, I've attended WWP trips and other veteran trips and they were all kind of blahh. I just felt like I was there because I was in the military. No one had anything in common other than being in the military.
But the Montana trip was so unique and different by having Marines I served with there. I can't leave out the hosts as well. The Lowe family and friends (Nick Pentas) are like no other. They are so genuine in their interest and patriotism towards us that it felt like you could have known them for a lifetime. I seriously had the best time out there and getting to see Matt Bailey, Brandin Andukitis and you [James Moran] was really cool.
I haven't talked or hung out with anyone since I got out of the Marines. All my friends back home, I am sort of distanced with since they are just on a different path than me. Getting to hang out with guys that were with me through one of the biggest life changing experiences I probably will ever have was so great. You know just like us that no one will fully understand what we go through or experience except for those few guys that where right beside you when you were there doing it. And getting to spend time with those guys and just having the time to chill and unwind a little bit with them was really cool.
The fly-fishing was a once in a lifetime experience and especially catching my first fish fly-fishing out of the Yellowstone River on top of that. Your friends back home aren't going through the same things that you are. Things like going to the VA and taking all kind of crazy meds or dealing with sleep problems or having problems with loud noises or things along the road etc. The guys on that trip are right there with you and totally understand what and where you are coming from. They may have a different way of dealing with it and can share that experience with everyone.
Personally, that was one thing I had a hard time with was trying to talk to people that had really no clue where I was coming from or had no way to deal with me other than what they had learned from a book. It is very therapeutic to talk to guys that you served with and can relate to you.