Can We Live Here?: Finding a Home in Paradise By Sarah Alderson

Hilarious and inspirational
Hilarious and inspirational

Published by Blink Publishing, 3rd August 2015, 256 pages, £6.29

Quick description: Non-fiction travel writing, collected blog posts.

Plot: Last week, I was sitting in seven layers (two of them thermal) next to a fire, with a blanket wrapped around me. Now, I am sleeping in kickers and a vest under a fan. Let the mosquitos bite me. They can have me … Can we live here? … If I dont become roadkill in the next few days, I ll let you know my thoughts. In 2009, Sarah and John Alderson quit their full-time jobs in London and headed off, with Alula, their three-year-old daughter, on a global adventure to find a new home. For eight months, they travelled through Australia, the US and Asia navigating India with a toddler in a tutu, battling black magic curses in Indonesia and encountering bears in North America asking themselves one defining question: Can We Live Here? Inspirational, hilarious and fascinating this is an unforgettable travel memoir and a unique guide to quitting your job, following your dreams and finding your home in a far-flung paradise.

If you have read any of previous posts you will know of my obsession with Mila Gray’s (aka Sarah’s) NA books. It started off with noticing Come Back To Me (Book 2/Spin off: This Is One Moment) in my local library. After devouring it in utter bliss, I learnt a bit more about the author’s life and the too-good-to-be-true journey she took with her husband to finding a new home in the tropics. My god I thought, you are actually living my dream… reading and writing YA and NA in Bali? Who could ask for more?

This book is brilliant. It goes into detail, starting from the seed of the idea of leaving London, to the travelling, to the settling and to what comes next. Its very easy to read and absolutely hilarious. The way Sarah writes- its like having a nice chat with a good friend and listening to the amazing but insane things she has seen and been up to. There are chapters on Indian railways, colonic irrigation in Bali (I’m actually so interested), ecstatic dancing and many more. It was such a treat, and so apt reading it on my tube journey to work.

There is also a lot of soul-searching. Sarah writes about the materialism, the tiredness and the cynicism that permeates life in the UK, especially London. Having recently moved to London, I know this on a daily basis. I am physically and mentally jogging to keep up with everything. The city is like a Twilight vampire, seductive and exciting, but draining all the energy from me. Soon I will be shriveled and bitter.

So if you’re out there and wondering whether working in an office for the rest of your life is it, or if you have an inkling that you could move to somewhere hot and figure out a way of making money that doesn’t require sitting in a management team meeting […] remember the power of saying ‘Fuck It’. That’s all we did.

Anyway, its not all sunshine and detox smoothies. Sarah does write a lot about the realities of emigrating and the anxieties that shadow it. But there were some moments that were really touching and made me look up from the page and actually think- what the heck am I doing? I am 15 chapters away from my dream- move it! But could I really quit a job that took forever to get (two degrees seemed to have shut doors rather than open them in my opinion)? Don’t I still want to do the Friends thing, the Sex and the City thing? I guess for now, but check up on me in a few months, because if I hear ‘signal failure’ one more time, I may pass out.

Wouldn’t it be more insane to keep on doing things I don’t like?

True that true…

At Stanfords (Covent Garden), Sarah interviewed by Myanna Buring

I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah at Stanfords (Covent Garden) on the 13th August for her interview with Myanna Buring and had my book signed (yippee). To sum it up it was a great night and Sarah was just as cool and lovely as her writing is, although I may have been the only resident perv who was into Mila Gray- come on guys I know you’re all out there…



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