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The man on the train platform who spoke only Hindi looked at my ticket and chuckled. This had been one of those days when mistakes piled up faster than I could track them.

I had tarried too long in Chandigarh, India, and the four-hour taxi ride back to New Delhi now promised to be a six-hour slog in traffic. No problem, I could take a train instead, I thought, only to run out of money on my cellphone SIM card just as I was booking a last-minute ticket. I hopped in a tuk tuk and raced to the station, and got there five minutes after the last fast train had left for the night.

When I started this harebrained experiment in January, to visit and report on the Times’s entire 52 Places to Go in 2018 list, I thought that by stop 48, for sure, I’d be the Wonder Woman of travel: blocking mishaps with a flick of my wrist. Instead I was staring down a 2 a.m. arrival in New Delhi before having to force myself awake for a morning plane to Bhutan.

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