Unpacked: a memoir of checked baggage

Book Cover



Aly Coy

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With nothing but her backpack and an open-ended ticket, Torontonian Aly Coy spends five years travelling Western Europe. She is faced with a decision: to stay in a tumultuous relationship homesteading in The Spanish Pyrenees, or go back to a life she had given up as a young professional in Toronto.



Short Summary

Aly, the main character, is hiking 3 hours to town in the middle of the Spanish Pyrenees. She has to make a decision, to stay with an abusive partner or to book a flight in town and leave him. She reflects on how it is living in an off-grid community with Josef, and how she ended up there.

The reader travels through time and space to when Aly has little-to-no money, learns how to garden, lives on a commune, dumpster dives, and falls for all the wrong men and women. She then has the strength to book a flight and go. She ends up at a farm in BC and starts fresh on her own.


Amsterdam, Spanish Pyrenees, Commune in The Netherlands, Seville Spain,

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Overcoming Monster/Villain,Internal Journey/Rebirth

Plot - Other Elements

Coming of Age,Happy Ending,Meaningful Message

Mature Audience Themes

Sexual Abuse,Nudity, Language/Profanity,Substance Abuse

Main Character Details

Name: Aly Coy

Age: 22

Gender: Female

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Adventurous,Charming,Engaging,Heroic,Naive,Sexy,Funny,Romantic,Aspiring,Empathetic

Additional Character Details

Name: Josef

Age: 36

Gender: Male

Role: Antagonist

Key Traits: Adventurous,Aggressive,Charming,Complex,Confident,Crazy,Criminal,Educated,Leader,Masculine,Narcisstic,Sexy,Blunt,Power Hungry,Outspoken,Visionary,Sarcastic,Seductive,Manipulative,Unapologetic,Lone Wolf

Additional Character Details

The author has not yet written this

Additional Character Details

The author has not yet written this

Development Pitch

Unpacked reads like a film. It brings the reader directly into the head of the main character, the complex relationship between Josef and Aly, the rich backdrops in the Spanish Pyrenees and other European cities. Aly, has a relatable experience finding herself as she backpacks around Western Europe and experiments with drugs, sex, and living with no money. She wants something different than her Toronto upper middle class upbringing. She meets Josef and the reader/viewer already knows how it goes wrong in the end, but Aly doesn't see it yet. She has an unhealthy relationship to sex and love. The story jumps in time and space, revealing parts of her journey that foreshadows to the events ahead. She ends up isolated in the Spanish Pyrenees with Josef where she has to plan an escape. The feedback I have had from readers is that they laugh, they cry, they can't put it down and it's like reading a movie. It's a behind-the-scenes look at working at a hostel in Amsterdam, living at a commune, moving to a remote community in Spain, It's about a young woman finding strength in leaving an abusive partner and starting fresh across the world, finding herbal medicine and starting a business at the end of the story. It's funny, heartbreaking, raunchy, and empowering. It's a mix between "Eat, Pray, Love," "Wild," and "Fifty Shades of Grey."

About The Author

Aly Coy currently lives in rural Nova Scotia, originally from Toronto, Canada. She has three European walking tours published through Unanchor and is the small business owner of Barefoot Daughter Body Care. Her debut book UNPACKED: a memoir of checked baggage released June 11th 2019. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at Dalhousie University and Humber College. She worked on the Dalhousie Gazette as the Arts and Culture Editor. After University she travelled and lived in Western Europe for five years and kept a travel blog along the way. You can follow her blog and her botanical body care business at www.barefootdaughter.com

Target Audiences

Age: 35-54,18-34

Target Gender: Female Leaning

Group Specific

Backpackers, travellers

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: self-published

Publisher: Self Published

Year Published: 2019

Hard Copy Available