Why a lifelong outdoor adventurer couldn't resist the siren song of fairways and greens

If you’re lucky, you encountered nature for the first time by running out the back door. During our writer's boyhood, a suburban forest was a gateway to learning, exploration, and natural splendors that shaped his life and career.

Beneath the skin of the Australian landscape known as Kakadu, a huge wealth of uranium awaits. Above that same skin lies wealth of a more intimate sort: paradisiacal scenery, the first touch of human history, and 50 millennia of artistic achievement, rendered on soft, glowing sandstone. Can you see the dilemma here?

A lot of things in Romania suffered during the brutal reign of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu—human rights, liberty, economic development. But tucked away in the deep freeze lay a stunningly well-preserved wilderness high in the Carpathian mountains, where brown bears, wolves, and lynx still run free.