In February 1995, a young woman leaves home for the first time to travel through Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Peru for three months. A lost soul with a deep-seated desire for love and adventure, Leigh is willing to embrace everything this fascinating continent has to offer.
On her third day in Buenos Aires, she meets Gabriel, a beautiful Peruvian artisan, at a market in San Telmo. They feel an instant connection; a love born of some other lifetime.
After leaving to embark on an extraordinary backpacking adventure that takes her to Iguazu Falls, Carnival in Brazil, the Amazon and Machu Picchu, Leigh returns to Buenos Aires to find Gabriel waiting for her. So begins her new life as a travelling artisan.
Three months becomes three years, as they roam the continent, selling jewellery in the streets and squares of Latin America spanning Peru to Mexico. They find their way to Playa del Carmen, an idyllic Caribbean village in the Yucatán Peninsula that is beginning to rival Cancun and Acapulco as Mexico's most popular tourist destination. Dreaming of marriage, children and a happy future in this tropical paradise, they live a lifestyle neither thought possible. Until everything changes.
Desperate to stay with Gabriel no matter what, Leigh finds herself venturing into increasingly dark places that put her safety at risk and test her sense of morality. Finally, after a shocking 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 fast-paced, passionate and daringly 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 life's purpose, facing your shadow and the universal quest for belonging.
And ultimately, it's a story about saving yourself, because you finally realise you are worth saving.
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About the Author
On her return to Australia, she worked as a travel writer and subeditor for The Open Road magazine and an editor for Hay House Australia, before moving to the Sunshine Coast in 2004. She works as a journalist, editor and copywriter for both print and online publications.
Leigh lives in the subtropical hills of Maleny on Australia's east coast with her husband and two children.
For more information visit www.leighrobshaw.net.
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About the author