It is 1965. Robert Hillman, a mere 16 years old, is planning an extraordinary adventure. Deserted by his mother, disliked by his stepmother, and puzzled by his father, Bobby needs comforting. His life in rural Victoria has offered no solace; his job at Melbourne's Myer Emporium, selling ladies' slippers, offers no prospects. So he does what any confused and lonely teenager would do: he escapes. Boarding a ship bound for Ceylon, he begins his search for paradise, inspired by his father's stories of a fabled island in the Indian Ocean. Bobby sets sail in a green suit, carrying a suitcase full of books and a typewriter. He has no money, no return ticket and, seemingly, no worries. What follows is an account - by turns heart-breakingly tender and side-splittingly funny - of an innocent abroad. Put ashore not in Ceylon but in Athens, Bobby barters his way to Istanbul, Tehran, and Kuwait, lurching from slums and brothels to an implausible job at a ritzy hotel in Shiraz. Finally, a long haul through the desert ends in a jail term on the Pakistan border where, ironically, he finds the affection and acceptance that have always been the true objects of his quest.