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You Had Me at Hola - Paperback

(11 customer reviews)

$24.95 AUD

You Had Me at Hola is a fast-paced, fun and sometimes shocking memoir about a young Australian woman who falls for a Peruvian artisan and joins the vibrant brotherhood and sisterhood of Latin America’s travelling artisans, giving herself over to an exciting but dangerous life for more than three years.

  • Set in South America and Mexico in the 1990s
  • A soulful love story rich in descriptive detail
  • A quest for self-acceptance, belonging and one’s true life purpose.

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In February 1995, a young Australian woman leaves home for the first time to backpack through Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Peru for three months. A lost soul with a craving for love and adventure – and an obsession with Latin America bordering on a mental health disorder – Leigh is willing to embrace everything about this fascinating place.

On her third day in Buenos Aires, she meets Gabriel, a handsome Peruvian artisan, and falls in love. With only one day left in Buenos Aires before embarking on her trip with her travel partner Emily, Leigh devotes every spare minute to Gabriel.

Vowing to return to Buenos Aires, Leigh is conflicted as she leaves to travel and fulfil her lifelong dream to see Iguazu Falls, Machu Picchu, the Amazon and Carnival in Brazil. When she returns to Buenos Aires, she finds Gabriel waiting for her. What was to be three months becomes three years, as she gives herself over to a new life. They join Gabriel’s family in Lima, living with three generations under one roof, until tragedy forces them to flee.

Leigh and Gabriel head north in search of a place to settle down and make a living selling jewellery. They join Latin America’s vibrant brotherhood and sisterhood of travelling artisans, selling jewellery in streets and squares spanning Peru to Mexico.

Living on little money, they trade jewellery for food and shelter, sleep on beaches and mix in dangerous circles, dodging bandits and narrowly escaping death. Relying on their wits and the kindness of strangers, they find their way to Playa del Carmen, an idyllic Caribbean village in the Yucatán Peninsula.

Desperate to stay in Playa del Carmen with Gabriel, Leigh finds herself venturing into increasingly dark places that put her safety at risk and test her morality. Finally, after a heartbreaking betrayal, she must face the truth about the man she has devoted her life to – and about herself.

You Had Me at Hola is a gritty, colourful and searingly honest memoir about finding yourself, partly through the many challenges posed by travel, but also in terms of increasingly defining yourself against your lover.

It’s a heartfelt tale about finding your true life’s purpose, facing your shadow and the primal quest for belonging.

And ultimately, it’s a story about and saving yourself, because you finally realise you are worth saving.

11 reviews for You Had Me at Hola – Paperback

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  11. jimdofreeAnits

    The road seemed to stretch on endlessly before us, but Alexis assured me that our journey was near an end. We’d turn before long into thick woods and travel through narrow, winding roads until we reached her family’s cabin. I had no choice but to trust her as GPS had given out nearly 20 minutes ago.

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    So here I was, driving alone in the middle of god knows where with a girl who was my student just a couple of weeks ago. Her and her four best friends had been together from first grade all the way through high school and now they had graduated with very different futures ahead of them. They had decided to kick off “the best summer ever” with a week long stay at Alexis’s family cabin. Alexis and I were heading up before everyone else, the four other girls and four guys.

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