This very personal story tells the tale of Leigh Robshaw when, as a twenty-something, she sets out from Australia in the 1990s to South America in search of adventure, but above-all, love. On her third day in Buenos Aires, she meets Gabriel, a beautiful and exotic young artist who makes jewellery to sell to tourists on the beaches. Even though they have no shared language, they communicate using the universal language of love. What follows is a madcap time, where committed to her journey around South America, but longing to remain with the man she believes is her soul-mate, Leigh reluctantly heads off, convinced she’s left her heart in Buenos Aires. The adventures she has, the dangers and illness that befall her as she travels will leave your heart in your mouth! All the time, she longs for Gabriel. When they’re finally reunited, she discovers the love she’s sometimes questioned is returned. Instead of heading to England with her friend as per long-laid plans, Leigh stays in South America and, with Gabriel, makes a life for herself, traveling all over, selling jewellery, getting into incredible scrapes, behaving sometimes recklessly and meeting a range of fascinating, kind, but also wicked and exploitative people. In the end, however, Leigh is forced to question what’s she’s doing and confront the reality of the huge cultural differences between her and Gabriel - cultural and personal. But they’d already overcome so much, surely, their love, which is undoubted, would conquer all? This is a book that will sweep you along in its narrative. Extremely personal, raw and honest, Leigh doesn’t hesitate to question her decisions, expose her choices for what they sometimes were, and plumb the depths of her own psyche as she takes the reader on this passionate, wild adventure - of love, of culture and of people. I thoroughly enjoyed this, and am looking forward to the sequel. What a ride! What a life.
A compelling memoir that beautifully captures the emotional intensity that its author discovers in South America, just as the wave of the 1990s self-help culture was on the rise. But this memoirist never paints herself as a saint amongst sinners, she looks back to this emotive odyssey with great courage, recreating her naivety but also her explorer's heart at a distance. The manner in which Robshaw captures every setting and encounter is more than journalism or travelogue, it's a soul journey. The result is full of pathos, wrong turns, u-turns, and the hope of a creative's heart. Go on the journey with Leigh Robshaw, if you're of the same generation (as I am), it's a great reminder of the period when we all faced a few demons abroad and learned more about home in the process.
“This book is fucking fantastic. It made me feel young again. These are the adventures that we only ever dream of, that are reserved for the truly free. Leigh, you love hard and let your soul take the wheel. The minute I closed it, I wanted to buy a one-way ticket to anywhere. Thank you for sharing and for waking me up. I couldn’t put this book down. My husband stole it off me, he is a book snob, has read everything and absolutely fell in love with you and your story. Someone has to make it into a movie!! Love love love and gratitude and fire, Con." – Constance Hall, author of Like a Queen and Still a Queen
“OMG, what an amazing story. This book really takes you into the heart of South America. But what makes it such a great read is not just the gripping travel story, it’s the love story between a young woman on her first trip abroad and a Peruvian artisan. And beneath that is the compelling tale of a woman searching for and ultimately finding, self-love and self-acceptance.”