Melanie Kitzan booked a trip to Iceland for New Year's Eve with a man she had just met, but when he bailed at the last minute, she decided to go alone. Darkness and loneliness threatened to ruin the adventure until a chance encounter with an old scientist and tales of Icelandic elves changed everything.
by Wynne Brown
His email started out: "It's been a hard day." And ended, "I'm afraid the Costa Rica trip's no longer an option for me."
Mike and I have shared a warm platonic friendship for 40+ years and have wanted to travel together for decades. Last year we finally booked a trip to Costa Rica with the ecotravel company Naturalist Journeys since we'd both always wanted to see Resplendent Quetzals, Morpho butterflies, and—with luck—the exquisite lemon-yellow eyelash viper.
We also wanted some independent exploration, so we'd arranged to stay in San José for two days before the group tour.
Ah, yes, best-laid plans...
The week before our departure came Mike's message: "At 9:30 this morning, my right eye went crazy—I had big oil spill 'floaters' that were black with red edges (blood) moving across my eye, and my vision turned cloudy, as if I were looking through a gauze curtain..."
The diagnosis: His right vitreous humor had separated from his retina.
The treatment: Rest—and no airplane flights.
The result: I'd be flying to Costa Rica without him and spending two days alone in San José.
We challenged YourLifeIsATrip.com writers to tell us their best solo travel tales in 25 words or less. But don’t let the small size fool you — at the heart of each of these very very short essays is an unforgettable adventure. Sometimes it’s crazy, funny, scary, surprising, meaningful, or disastrous, but never more than 25 words. Dive in and join the fun..