Ash Reddy

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Ash+Reddy

Kilimanjaro – What Could(‘nt) Go Wrong?

We have all heard of Murphy’s Law which, for those who do not know about it, states that if anything can go wrong it will. I never really thought this applied to real life, but I would soon be taught this valuable lesson. During the summer before my junior year, my parents had scheduled a trip to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. My dad had been researching it a lot, and he had read stories about how people lost their luggage and even missed flights because of the number of connections. We both shrugged it off at the moment, thinking that it was not normal and that surely it would not happen to us. Boy, were we wrong! I mean, I honestly do not know if there was one thing that went our way during this trip. What really should have been a few run-of-the-mill flights, turned into delayed, canceled, and nonexistent flights. 

It all started the night before our first flight to New York. My dad received an email saying that our flight was canceled due to weather conditions. This was alarming because we had a connection in New York where we had to switch airports in three hours, by the way, as if everything else was not stressful enough. So we called the airline and they offered us a new itinerary for the next day. We were supposed to arrive a few days early, so we could rest a little bit before we started the climb. We thought, however, that we could just push through so we accepted the offer. When we got to the gate after an uneventful drive, we heard the news that our flight would be delayed for an hour for maintenance… around half an hour later we heard the same message. This went on until it was announced that our flight was a complete lemon and that the flight would be delayed for eight hours, much too late for us to make our connection. After a few hours of talking to sincere but unhelpful workers, we secured a new itinerary that would supposedly take us to our destination… the keyword here being supposedly. Surprisingly, the first two flights were right on time. The connections were very long as we were waiting for several hours at some points during the trip. After arriving in Namibia we were ready for our flight to Arusha, the town with an airport nearest to Kilimanjaro. Sensing that we had gotten too comfortable, the universe decided to throw another obstacle our way. Apparently when we were in Atlanta confirming our itinerary, they never actually booked our last flight even though they told us they did. So here we were in a foreign country, needing to get on a flight to our destination in less than fifteen minutes when we did not have any tickets. I had to buy tickets for the flight on my dad’s phone since it was the only one with reception. This was not even close to the end of our troubles, unfortunately. The flight had a stop before it would take us to our destination. Yes, we had to sit there waiting for people to load and unload, and by the time we arrived, it was the day we had to start climbing. So after being sleep-deprived and on planes for the past two days, we had to start climbing the same day. Now you may be thinking to yourself that it could not possibly get worse… well, I was also that naive once. Because of all the changes and transfers of our flights, our bags did not come with us. They were still at the airport in Namibia. So on top of everything, we did not have any clothes or supplies with us except for the ones we had packed with us in case of a situation exactly like the one we were in. The first night we had to rent some tents and get some well-deserved rest in rented sleeping bags. The rest of the climb was uneventful, except for the fact that we still had to do eight days of climbing to reach the highest point in Africa. We had some troubles here and there on the climb, but the whole ordeal was definitely worth it to say that I led my family to the highest point in Africa. The feeling that I got at the top was definitely a solid compensation for all of the stress, but I did learn two things from that trip. Firstly, amazing experiences and things in life require a lot of work, but they are worth it in the end. Secondly, never trust airlines. 

Please click on the arrow below to hear Ash’s Senior Reading.