After spending her twenties working abroad and travelling solo, Canadian Ashley convinces her career-oriented boyfriend Steve to relocate to sunny, carefree, no-worries Australia for a year. An anxious dreamer, Ashley longs to bathe in the national characteristics of her chosen new home and feel the way Australians do.
Newly married, the couple move to Sydney. Steve struggles to find work and Ashley fears he will come to regret both the move and the marriage, especially after she loses her wedding rings on Bondi Beach. But when Steve lands a great job, he shockingly announces he wants to stay in Australia, making Ashley realise how out of place she feels. To make things work with Steve and try to achieve her vision of happiness, Ashley resolves to discover an Australia that's meaningful for her, to travel the country widely, learn its history, and make Australian friends, all while conquering her growing anxiety. On this quest, she attends a waffle match, falls in love with ibises, discovers the 'visibly male' kangaroo atop Parliament House, travels to The Vagina, and much more. Ashley comes to love her new home, despite its political challenges and identity issues. And then Steve decides he wants to go back to Canada, after all! Can learning how to be Australian teach Ashley about herself and save her marriage?
HOW TO BE AUSTRALIAN is a remarkable memoir, at once familiar and faraway, that will appeal to all Australian reader who themselves sometimes grapple with what it means to be Australian.