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This is my post during the blog tour for South Saint Paul Beneath the Smiling Moustache by Belinda Lara Robinson. Beneath the Smiling Moustache is a travel memoir coming of age story set in Istanbul.

This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours and the tour runs from 26 September till 16 October. You can see the tour schedule here.

Beneath the Smiling Moustache book cover
Beneath the Smiling Moustache
By Belinda Lara Robinson
Genre: Non-Fiction Travel Memoir

When twenty-two-year-old Belinda Robinson travels to Turkey in 1990 as a part of a backpacking trip through Europe, she’s looking for an exciting adventure steeped in culture and history. What she doesn’t expect, is an avalanche of catastrophes that threaten to dramatically derail her plans.

After a harrowing and traumatic accident with a bus in Istanbul, she finds herself alone in a foreign country, abandoned by a heartless Australian Government. This poignant story of courage, resilience and accidental love is a journey of surprise as Belinda encounters a procession of compassionate Turkish people, in the most bizarre situations.

Beneath the Smiling Moustache is a comical, inspiring true story of humanity at its best, offering a unique insight into the challenges of travelling alone as a young woman, at a time of rising tensions in the Middle East.


Belinda Lara Robinson author picture
About the Author:
Belinda Lara Robinson was born in Sydney in 1968 and from a young age was determined to see the greater world outside of her childhood home in Macquarie Fields, Australia. In adulthood this drive took her around the world, and she travelled extensively through the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Britain and the United States.

Everywhere she went, Belinda was determined to experience and empathize with cultures different to her own. In her early twenties, she saw the warmth and generosity of a foreign culture first-hand when she was cared for by Turkish people after being struck by a bus in Istanbul. The memory of that time stayed with her and forms a key part of her memoir, Beneath the Smiling Moustache.

Belinda was a fighter with a heart of gold. She was passionate and thoughtful and determined to share the lessons she’d learned from her travels along with her innate joy and positivity in life.

Beneath the Smiling Moustache is Belinda’s legacy and was brought to publication by a group of devoted friends and family determined to see Belinda’s dying wish become a reality after she was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer in 2018.

Website Link:

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Râmnicu Sărat Excerpt #1:

Having travelled for several months, my tattered travel diary became a gallery of scribed daily landscapes. Each scene, painted with a thousand words, depicted life and an ongoing ‘quest’ for … well, I wasn’t really sure. Each evening, I would read the extraordinary descriptions of the people and places that I had encountered and come to the same conclusion: ‘something’ was still missing.  

       As ‘travellers’ (not necessarily ‘holiday-makers’), we leave our homes, our families, with a vacancy in the heart, a void, a vacuum that we hope to fill. But with what? A friendship yet to be encountered? A life beyond the boundaries of familiarity? A search for … who really knows? And even when we find something on our journeys, we’re still not sure if we’ve found the ‘Holy Grail’—whatever that is supposed to be.

       It was this quest for this missing piece of life’s puzzle that got someone like me—a twenty-two-year-old Media Communications graduate from Sydney—on the move.

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