Am I good luck or bad luck? This has been a debate with some of my close friends who have expressed that they would decline to travel on a plane with me because I always have such bad luck! Well, it is true that I have a record number of misadventures, with trains, for instance…
My passport was stolen during a train journey from Geneva, Switzerland to Montpellier, France along with all the visas it carried and basically my identity. A paperwork nightmare ensued.
A few days later, traveling from Montpellier to Bordeaux, the train ahead of the one I was traveling on hit a car and killed all passengers. As terrible as this accident was, it also meant that I was stranded – and it was on Christmas Eve.
On my next visit to Europe, I traveled by train from Geneva to Paris, to surprise a friend at his 30th birthday dinner. I got delayed for over 6 hours as my train hit a tractor. I missed the whole dinner but still surprised my friend later that night!
Oddly, despite all these unfortunate situations, I feel the opposite way… I consider myself lucky for always managing to find a way out of any bad situation and escaping the worst outcome! Yes, you could argue that I am unlucky for being in those situations in the first place… but you will not change my mind.
Peru was the very first destination during my solo trip around the world. Though my luggage did not land with me in Lima, everything was in order by the time I was getting ready to depart for my second destination, Cusco, heading towards Machu Picchu.
A visit to Machu Picchu involves a lot of logistics, including applying for a site admission issued by the government, sometimes requiring weeks or months of lead time. I had made sure to follow the process much ahead of time:
I had secured access to the Inca Citadel ruins, in addition to a spot to hike Huayna Picchu – the mount from which you get the popular bird’s-eye view of the ruins – in the first group, from 7:00 am to 10:00 am.
I would arrive at Machu Picchu Pueblo, aka Aguas Calientes, a small village at the foot of Machu Picchu the night before, and take the shuttle up to the ruins early in the morning.
In order to get there from Cusco, a day tour of the Sacred Valley would leave me at Ollantaytambo, from where I had a round trip train ticket to Aguas Calientes.
I was all set! Or so I thought…
I will spare you the suspense… no train incident occurred this time! However, on the eve of my departure from Cusco, I thought I should double-check the confirmation of my admission to the historic site. As I did, I wondered what the word written in large yellow font on my print-out meant. Imagine my reaction when I read the translation “declined”. My bank had declined the transaction likely under suspicion of fraudulent activity.
Wait… I came all the way here, and you mean to tell me I wouldn’t get to visit Machu Picchu at all? What are the odds I would get an admission slot so late? I had few days left in Peru and a rigid schedule at this point. I had an early morning flight to Argentina the day after my scheduled visit of Machu Picchu. In fact, even changing my time slot to access Huayna Picchu to the later group would be problematic, given I already had my return ticket. My train from Aguas Calientes back to Ollantaytambo, on the way to Cusco, was leaving early in the afternoon.
I needed to act quickly. I was scared to check online and learn my fate, possibly the worst outcome of my Peruvian adventure. Yet, I was hopeful. I may still have a chance, I thought. I have in the past…
Could I be so lucky this time?
Well, you bet I did! With only a day notice, I obtained a site admission to Machu Picchu. There were only 2 remaining slots, both with admission to Huayna Picchu at the very same time as my original reservation. Phew! I put the ticket on hold for 24 hours. And this time, I would head to an agency in town, before leaving Cusco in the morning, to complete the transaction in person.
See? How would you call this if not good luck?! Or perhaps, it’s a bit premature to decide. Let me tell the story of the actual visit of Machu Picchu, and you can judge then. In fact, the real adventure had just begun…
This is a guest post by Odomitchi Anikpo.
Odomitchi was born and raised in Côte d’Ivoire, on the beautiful coast of West Africa. She has spent her adult life in the US; first as a student, and presently as a tech professional in Silicon Valley. Curious by nature, she loves exploring and discovering new things; hence her passion for travel. Odomitchi travels to catch a glimpse of fascinating monuments of human history, to seek an understanding of people and cultures, and to be moved by natural beauty around this earth. Her message to the world: Travel and Live Bold. Follow her stories on