Keep the really important stuff on you

Back in 2015, I went on a 2 week trip to Peru with a tour group through Contiki.  The bus pulled into the hotel at Cusco where we would begin our last few days of the trip, with the highlight being a day hike on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

They unloaded all the bags at the front of the hotel, and as the bus started driving away, I noticed that my backpack wasn’t anywhere in the pile.  My heart sank as I realized my passport was tucked in the bottom of my bag, and I needed that passport in order to gain entry into the Inca Trail.  That one activity was the main reason for this vacation, and a feeling of devastation set in as I realized that unless my bag was located, I’d have to miss this part of the trip.  Did the bag get stuck somewhere?  Is it even on the bus?  Did it somehow get left behind at the last hotel?  So many ways it could have gone missing.

Our quick-thinking tour guide ran down the bus and frantically waved at the driver before he turned to get back on the main road, and once he drove back, several people went underneath the bus to search for the missing piece of luggage.  Turns out my bag was so small that it somehow got tucked into a little corner of the storage space and got missed the first time around.

High fives all around as a great relief overwhelmed me.

I never forgot this experience and learned a very important lesson:  anything that is essential, keep it on you or in a secure place at all times.

I should never have let my passport sit underneath the bus.  A better choice would have been to either keep it in my pocket, or at least keep my backpack on the bus with me where I 100% knew where it was.  If you think about it, there really aren’t that many items that are truly essential when traveling.  For me, the only two that qualify are my passport and a credit/debit card.  As long as I have those things, the trip can go on even if I lose everything else.

The Inca Trail hike was a memory of a lifetime that will never be forgotten.  I’m grateful that the universe (and the efforts of an excellent Contiki tour guide) worked things out in my favor, because there is nothing I would have been able to do if my passport had gotten lost.

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