Moving on: a melancholic anticipation

There’s always a strange mix of emotions when you have to move on from an area you’ve spent months exploring. But that’s the whole point of travelling, right?

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.


How do you reconcile such melancholy with such excitement? How do you not feel guilty for the gleeful anticipation when it’s all tinged with sad farewells? How can you say you’re in love when you’re the one leaving to find new loves?

I always find it such a complex emotional time when I’m making a big shift in travelling location. I’ve just spent the past four months in South America and now, as I’m about to board a plane to Europe, I feel so unhappy to be leaving it behind.

The problem is, I can’t wait to start the next exploring leg in the Northern Hemisphere.

Best place to see Iguazu Falls, Argentina or Brazil

The next six months or so are going to be amazing – I have no doubt of that. I’ve got big plans for Italy, Spain, France and parts of Eastern Europe.

I don’t need to tell you that these countries have some of the richest sources of culture, history, natural beauties and amazing cuisine in the world. There is going to be no shortage of experiences to share with you from across the continent.

But it is going to take me a while to adjust from life in South America – and to not be too upset to have left it behind. As it turned out, I did only a small fraction of the things I wanted to do there and skipped entire countries that I was looking forward to.

(Oh well, a good excuse to go back soon.)

travelling in paraguay

South America was a continent that gradually grew on me. It was not love at first sight – it was a process that happened without me even realising it, until one day it as hard to imagine being anywhere else.

I think, in my case, this was because it was the variety of experiences I had there that made me love it so much.

It was the feeling that there was always a new adventure, that the unexpected was always waiting for me around a corner, and that everything was going to be wrapped up with the hospitality, warmth and honesty of the people.

paraguay indigenous native tribes survival international near concepcion

There will be more South American stories for me to share with you in the future, when I return to see the areas I missed (in particular, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia). For now, though, I’d like to share a few of the highlights from my time there in the past four months.

Favourite city: Santiago, Chile

Favourite natural beauty: Iguazu Falls

Favourite experience off-the-beaten path: The indigenous tribes of Paraguay

Favourite UNESCO World Heritage site: Ischigualasto National Park

Favourite region: Patagonia

Favourite ecotourism moment: Working with the turtles in Uruguay

Favourite cultural experience: Walking the favelas of Rio de Janeiro 

Favourite challenge: Climbing the Villarrica volcano

How do you feel when you leave a region you’ve travelled for a long time? Is it hard for you to move on?

21 thoughts on “Moving on: a melancholic anticipation”

  1. Words to live by, from Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

    I have much enjoyed following your life in South America and look forward to reading about new adventures in Europe.

  2. I am like you a little sadness and anticipation at the same time. You get comfortable but at the same time there is still so much to experience. At the same time you look forward to seeing new sites and new adventures.

  3. It does not take me long for the feeling home home to sink in to a place. When I travel, it is usually for only a week or less at a time, and even then, leaving is so difficult. I can only imagine being somewhere for even longer would make it that much harder…

    • I imagine if you’re travelling for such short trips it could almost be harder because you’re heading home, rather than on to more excitement.

  4. I felt devastated to leave Argentina after it had been my home for almost two years, but also excited to be in the US again. It’s always bittersweet but you have t leave room for new adventures.

    • I can only imagine how much harder it is when you’ve actually set up home somewhere! But you’re right – you would never see anywhere else if you didn’t keep moving.

  5. I can relate to your emotions right now. It really pains a lot to say goodbye to people and place that you have come to love.

  6. We can definitely relate to feeling that we only ever get to do a small fraction of the things we wanted to in any given place especially since we usually explore only a week or two at a time. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your stories on South America and they’ve got me more interested than ever in exploring it.

    • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you guys will love South America if you get a chance to do it for a decent period of time. It’s a place you really get caught up in.


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