Solo Travel: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Marissa Elizabeth
January 16, 2024

We’ve all heard the phrase,”stuck at a crossroads” right? It’s most often used by our mothers to kindly describe when we’re feeling totally f*cked by the universe. 

If you haven’t felt this way, I tip my hat to you. You are obviously a unicorn, and that’s how I assume unicorns like to be greeted. 

That feeling of uncertainty is painfully familiar to me - somewhere between helpless with no choices, and inundated with too many decisions and deadlines to make. 


Right before I left for Costa Rica with Under30Experiences, and I quite literally mean just hours before my 5 am flight, I had turned 25, graduated with my masters degree after three grueling years, had decided to quit my very comfortable but underpaying job, and broke up with a trash pile of a person. 

So as I groggily stepped into my Uber at 4 am to the airport, I started to second guess every single decision I had made, nearly tucking and rolling right out of the car a-la Steve Carell in “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” 

I couldn’t believe I was going through with my first solo trip when my mind was in such turmoil. 

I’m not sure what force pushed one foot in front of the other to get onto my flight, but I remember arriving at my seat and thinking, 

“ did I get here? You are one second away from having a mental breakdown and ugly crying in front of an airplane full of people. Good, Marissa. Excellent. Wonderful start to vacation!”

After a long ping pong match in my brain (and many untimely trips to the bathroom), I found myself in Costa Rica.



The only thing I was certain of what that I was most definitely sweating and had ZERO idea how I was going to remain sane knowing the heaping pile of responsibilities I had just left behind. 

But, I took a deep breath, eagerly looked for a friendly face from my group, and repeated the mantra “ you are okay” over and over. 

Suddenly, I found myself giving hugs and asking questions and saying words that weren’t emotional vomit all over everyone. I somehow began to find my stride. 

My trip was the single greatest gift I've ever given myself

It forced me to stick to the decisions I had made back home.

It allowed me to fill my mind and soul with new and exciting ideals; like making new friends, and understanding the deliciousness that is papaya juice, and wondering what it could be like to uproot my life and live remotely. 

I can go on and on about how my trip to Costa was enriching and rewarding in dozens of ways, but the take away from my trip was that, 

Sometimes when you have no fucking clue what to do, the best thing you can do for yourself is turn off your phone, engage your mind, and just exist in a new place.  

I booked my trip knowing it was going to be unforgettable, but little did I know that choosing to go when I did (and not backing out) was exactly what I needed to help guide me through a rough patch.

I returned from my experience feeling confident in my choices, emotionally refreshed, and eager to see, smell, touch, and taste another part of the planet. 

If I was able to learn anything from my time surrounded by some of the most wonderful hearts and minds I’ll ever know, it's that when you’re at a crossroads (like choosing between white water rafting or zip lining) choose the one that scares you

This stuck with me throughout my entire trip, and to this day continues to resound in my everyday life.

Traveling solo to a foreign place has truly proven to be a gift that keeps on giving.

Marissa Elizabeth
Marissa is a 25 yr old Behavior Analyst from New York. She's a lover of all things theatre, a brunch and beard enthusiast, amature chef & food photographer, an excessive flosser and an all around decent human.


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