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You Had Me at Hola: In search of love & truth in South America

4.62  ·  Rating details ·  71 ratings  ·  43 reviews
In February 1995, a young Australian 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
Paperback, 254 pages
Published August 15th 2019 by Morpho Books
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Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It touches me in amazing ways, a journey experienced by an adventurous and brave young woman, whose truth is laid bare. And given that we went to uni together, adds so much more depth for me as I remember how young we were were and inspired to find our place in the world. But it's more thank this reflection, it shows a journey come full circle to strength and feeling better in one's own skin thriugh genuine experience. Since then Leigh has continued to thrive and this genuine, ...more
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Congratulations Leigh Robshaw on a vivid engaging memoir, and glimpse into South American culture, beauty and relationships! The poignant moments of self-reflection and personal growth you shared, intertwined with adventure and ‘un-censored’ experience beautifully demonstrated your journey into ‘discovering’ a sense of belonging and self-acceptance, an openness to diversity and also the courage you have to being authentic. Finally, I want to say thank-you for You had me at Hola which has pried o ...more
Amanda Hogg
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much that I did not want it to end.I wanted to savor it like a box of beautiful chocolates.Whilst I read I felt like I was on this incredible journey and I loved every moment of it.I was inside all the descriptions and emotions and I loved the insights and sharing of Leigh's past growing up.I highly recommend reading this book as Leigh Robshaw is a wonderful writer whose story I feel will capture your imagination and take you on a ride you will not forget.I just finished thi ...more
Amy Buckle / Amy's Bookshelf
You Had Me at Hola is the memoir of Leigh Robshaw who travels from her home in Australia to South America to seek adventure, and find love. Originally only meant to be there for 3 months, the book ends up being a narrative set over a few years mainly in South American countries as Leigh finds her purpose and discovers new experiences and new people along the way.

This memoir was a very quick read for me – I loved how much it immerses the reader in the sites and atmospheres of the places it’s set
Melina Lobo
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I believe in the wisdom of the heart, ripe for a chance meeting that could pull me into the shape of an entirely new person.
You Had Me At Hola is a memoir by Leigh Robshaw where she recounts the time she left Australia to backpack through South America.
She meets, Gabriel, a Peruvian artisan in Bueno Aires, who sweeps her off her feet.
Sometimes a person just wants to feel lived, and she found that in Gabriel.
He waits for her in Bueno Aires, until her trip is over and she returns, joining him,
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was 47 pages in and laughing a lot... I remember Leigh sharing some stories with me years ago, it’s so great to get this bigger picture of her journey in South America. I couldn’t stop reading it (taking a couple of late nights and early mornings) Leigh’s writing had me laughing and crying with her... I appreciate the raw openness in how she expresses the difficulties and joys, the sharing of her childhood wounds and getting to know how this journey was a part of her empowering self-awareness ...more
Tracy Naughton
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book it gave such an insight into travelling around South America, bringing to life the characters sights and smells - it definitely piqued my interest in travelling to the places visited in the book even though the reality of travelling and living in a third world country wasn't sugar coated.
A good addition to anyone who has spent time in South America or thinking about going there!
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir - couldn't stop once I started. The author writes with endearing frankness and candour about her great love affair in South America, as well as everything she learned about life during her itinerant three years there. The vivid descriptions of the places she visited and the lifestyle made me want to jump on a plane and go there right now! ...more
Michael Burge
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
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. Th
Karen Brooks
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 S
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book and had many personal mixed emotions at the end.

The imagery conjured up as Leigh describes her places of travel was as clear as if I was there myself.

A wonderful true story written with the ease and flow of a fictional novel. Needless to say I absolutely loved it.

Congratulations Leigh
Anita Edmonds
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir and Leigh's writing. It brought back very fond memories of my own travels in my twenties and all the wonderful adventures that entails, including matters of the heart. Having never travelled through South America, it was also a fascinating and entertaining insight into the beauty, craziness and colour of this intriguing continent. I highly recommend. ...more
Vicki Pearson
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well Leigh Robshaw you had me from the first couple of pages. I loved You Had Me at Hola, beautifully written and so honest. I laughed, had a tear and held my breath in places. I would and have been recommending this book to friends and family.
Ann Koenig
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great book written with such honesty about her time i South America - so descriptive I could imagine myself there with her
Kristen Lyons
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Leigh Robshaw is a truly courageous adventurer, and her first novel, You Had me at Hola, squeezes the reader into the bottom of her boot – alongside her passport – to join a wild ride through South America. Leigh’s travels are jam-packed with the smells, tastes, sounds and visual feasts this part of the world is renowned for. But her unique vantage point, told through her love story and finding her way in the world, is so compelling that I couldn’t put it down. While this is very much a story ab ...more
Jo Johnson
Jun 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Such an exciting journey to be taken on through South America. I haven't finished a book in 10 years and I couldn't put it down. So disappointed that it came to an end.
Leigh has so eloquently described the raw emotions felt on her spiritual quest which makes you feel like you're right there with her.
A movie would be awesome to follow on from this captivating story
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! Leigh has bared her Soul! We feel like we’re right there with her as she travels across Sth America. A fascinating insight into this part of the world, not to mention a passionate romance! Highly recommended!
Wendy King
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"You Had me at Hola" is a rollicking, true adventure story which will inspire any of us to explore the world's faraway places with an open mind and heart. Her journey is not just one of exploring the beautiful and exotic continent of South America, but also of finding herself as she negotiates relationships with firstly her travelling partner, then her lover Gabriel, and many other latter-day hippies seeking satisfaction of their wanderlust.
Coincidentally I had many similar adventures and relat
Michael Strong
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
A thoroughly engaging and honest tale of a young woman's search for herself and a life beyond the ordinary.

Two friends set out to party hard in South America en route to London but a chance encounter in a market changes everything for one. When Leigh meets Gabriel they connect instantly and deeply, but is this a love that can overcome their very different backgrounds? Why is Gabriel far from his home and how will this affect their future together? Is her search for meaning really a search for a
I am a big fan of travel memoirs, and this one covers areas I have visited, including Argentina, Peru, and Mexico. I didn't relate as much to her narrative as I would have thought, because she was way more of a risk taker than I would be (drinking and getting in cars with strange men to go dancing). On the other hand, she is also a completely different generation from me, so that may be why I didn't feel much in common with her. It was still an interesting read. 3.5 stars ...more
Mark Tesoriero
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Leigh's search for purpose found in this beautifully told story. A gripping tale with twists and turns. Well worth the read. ...more
Claudia Blaxell
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After reading 'You Had Me at Hola' I felt fulfilled, like some missing pieces of the puzzle of my life were found and put in place. Everything suddenly makes sense. This is a book that really restores your faith in love, romance and following your dreams. The important stuff. So inspiring, and so beautifully written. Thank you Leigh! ...more
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this beautiful book and it was one of those punch-in-the-gut "oh no I've read it all" moments.

Do your self a favour. Just read it. It has it all and is a riot of adventure, colour, music, travel, love, danger, nature and spirituality. As if that wasn't enough, it's set in South America and it's all true. Adventures like this are what life is all about. I laughed, sighed and ugly cried.

I have such a deep love for South America and the parts of the story set in places I've also vi
Margaret Johnson
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A memoir of a young woman’s parallel journeys; a journey around Latin America and a journey of self discovery. Leigh Robshaw’s writing has skillfully intertwined the two.

She has taken the reader to places many may never visit but her descriptions are so vivid we are able to smell the smells, feel the heat, taste the food, meet the people and share the adventures.
Robshaw also tells us about the lover she meets three days after arriving in Buenos Aires. She generously reveals the passion, the in
R. John
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Tyyni Lang
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this travel memoir from page one. Leigh's search for love and the meaning of life is a roller coaster full of adventure, challenges, joy and inspiration. The story unfolds with her leaving Australia for her dream of travelling in South America. It is searingly honest and brave and it was a joy to have the opportunity to ride along for the adventure of a lifetime. Travelling first with a girl-friend, then with her boyfriend Gabriel, she shares heartfelt stories of the people she meets alo ...more
Jennifer Moalem
Leigh's adventures in South America entwine with her journey of self-discovery to merge into a true heroine’s journey! Having been there at the exact same time, reading this was like taking a ‘can opener’ to my past (and I mean that in the best possible way!). Faded memories of places I’d been (or wanted to go) have sprung 'back to life’ – seen through a different lens. Wish we’d thought to take a photo in those few minutes when we crossed paths in La Paz. I suspect this book marks the beginning ...more
Shelagh Brennanf
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Whether you’re male or female, young or old, this book is for you. Author Leigh Robshaw takes you on an adventurous, exciting, romantic, scary (at times), heartwarming trip into South America. Her memoirs are out into the world for us to enjoy and whether you have visited South America or not, Leigh cleverly transports you into the SA villages, and life with her new found Artisan love Gabriel. This book is so expertly written, I could visualise each individual piece of jewellery made by Gabriel; ...more
Mary Garden
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a fabulous book. Beautifully written and one that is difficult to put down. I've been on a similar journey myself, but to India in the 1970s; I too was looking for something more in my life. And so I could relate to the character [Leigh!] and her ups and downs, her monkey mind and even her occasional unhingedness. The descriptions of the mountains, jungles, beaches and deserts of South America and Mexico are detailed and vivid and make you want to jump on a plane and go there! Readers wi ...more
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Who doesn’t love love. That amazing feeling of desire coursing through your veins. The kind of love that feels unbreakable. Throw in an exotic far away land where language and culture is unfamiliar and you have the makings of a spicy tale full of fun and crazy adventures. This book brought me back to my carefree days of travel and finding a love that transcends language. It had me giggling and gasping as the colourful characters weaved their way across South America. A true journey, finding love ...more
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Leigh Robshaw has worked in the media and publishing for more than twenty years. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, she began her career working for Hay House Australia as a staff writer and editor. She then moved into travel writing, contributing to publications such as Lonely Planet and Holiday & Travel.

In her twenties, Leigh worked for author Stuart Wilde in London, spent th

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