Robert Baldwin was born in Melbourne in 1948, the son of a successful horse trainer. After he dropped out of secondary school at age seventeen without qualifications or direction in life, he worked a number of undistinguished jobs before his conscription into the Australian army in 1968. He served one year of his two year stint in South Vietnam, which gave him his first introduction to Asia and led to a fascination with Asian culture in later years. Following his discharge from the army, he took advantage of the National Service Resettlement Scheme and returned to full time study, where at the age of twenty three he sat in a class of seventeen year olds and successfully completed his secondary education. He then studied part time at universities for ten years and gained three degrees including a Master of Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame Australia. After an early departure from the work force because of health problems followed by the failure of his marriage, his travels around Asia began in earnest culminating in the publication of this work. He now lives in the north of Thailand, where he feels more at home than in his native Australia. He has plans to write more books.