It’s been 8 years of writing, rewriting, recording interviews, transcribing interviews, throwing out thousands of words and finally publishing, however, I am happy to announce that Life in the Camel Lane: Embrace the Adventure is finally launching.
With thousands of miles under our belt as we have housesat around Europe and North America over the last five years, this has been written in about eight different countries on planes, trains and busses.
I’ve been thrilled by advance reviews of the book calling it “A rich and rewarding read as we dive into a journey into the mysterious world of a very different way of life,” and “It is the lovely, instructive chronicle of one who continues to approach cross-cultural adventures from a place of respectful, curious, lifelong wonder.”
While the book is about my personal experience of crossing cultures the stories belong to this amazing community who were willing to share. There was much laughter and joy in the pools of reflection as you shared these stories with me, there was also gratitude, sadness and nostalgia for a seemingly fairy-tale life lived far, far away.
Our ExPat mindset was one of what’s possible and, yes, let’s go do that! From the geologists, geophysicists, nurses, doctors, engineers, technical geeks, creatives and all the other professional disciplines you brought with you, it was a delight to embrace you and your adventures back then.
I cannot possibly list all the people who shared their precious stories, nor the honor and esteem with which I value these stories. Ultimately, almost 100,000 words were cut out along the way. The job of choosing stories that drove points home and were clear took up many hours and I wish I could have kept every single one of them because each were precious and rare, but ultimately tough decisions had to be made.
However, I would like to encourage you all to keep telling your stories. I must have heard the common lament of “but people don’t want to listen to our stories”. Well, yes that is true, but no, not entirely true.
People are keen to listen to stories that have a lesson revealed, or a salient point, or are well- crafted. Since the entire world is currently growing, changing and evolving due to Covid-19, I believe this is the perfect time to perfect and craft your stories.
This new world we are entering is like a parallel universe to the strange journey we all took when going to Arabia, none of us were entirely certain of how it would unfold, as in today. We all looked to the distant future for our dreams, as we are doing today. New experiences, skills and opportunities awaited us, just like today.
Your adventurous spirit, willingness to try new things and curiosity could be just the healing for someone who is overwhelmed by their current circumstances. There are very few environments on planet earth that consistently teach the values of graciousness, hospitality and tolerance quite like the Aramco bubble and it seems that we are all called to practice this more than ever now.
The official book launch will happen on May 14, 2020 at NOON CDT via Zoom. We invite you to join John and myself to talk about the book and the ExPat life and mindset. For some it may be early in the morning, for others it will be nearer the dinner hour, wherever we are it would be terrific to see your faces, hear your voices. Please bring your questions and be prepared to see old friends.
Join Us for a Live Launch Party!
May 14, 2020
12:00 pm CDT
Appropriately, John and I will be coming to you from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. We are temporarily marooned here after a housesitting gig cancelled because our HomeOwners could not fly to Australia and then the Mexico/US border closed due to the pandemic. We are sheltering in a golf course community very near San Miguel de Allende a fabulous city full of colonial culture and ExPat spirit.
While Life in the Camel Lane seems to exist in the rear-view mirror, the lessons we all learned are baked into our systems and I hope that you continue to find joy, health and happiness wherever you find yourselves now.
About Life in the Camel Lane
Author Doreen Cumberford calls her book Life in the Camel Lane: Embrace the Adventure a “learnoire.” It is a combination of Cumberford’s story and the stories of other expats and the lessons they learned living in Saudi Arabia as expat employees or spouses.
Readers considering expat living will learn the four stages of culture shock: arrival, honeymoon, frustration and adjustment. The final stage of acceptance is followed by the adjustments of returning to their home country.
Life in the Camel Lane seeks to acquaint readers with the Saudi culture, lifestyle, and it's deep traditions of hospitality, generosity and tolerance from an insider’s perspective. Cumberford describes Saudi weddings, the sport of falconry and her own feelings about the Saudi law prohibiting women driving (that has since been relaxed.) There are also chapters on the experiences of 9/11 in the terrorists’ home country and the “Terror Years” of internal terror tactics from inside Saudi Arabia. These tactics were designed to drive the expats out of the country and destroy the Saudi government.
With stories and compelling honesty, Cumberford describes her family’s most challenging journey and many of the lessons they learned together.
Written to provide useful insights and inspiration to anyone considering living abroad, Life in the Camel Lane shines the light on building a new identity and home while abroad, and the difficulties of the journey home.
About the Author
A native of Scotland, Doreen Cumberford worked for the British Government in London and Cameroon in the mid-1970s, then an American corporation in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates immediately after. She has been an entrepreneur, coach, writer and speaker while traveling these last four decades.
Doreen has lived in seven countries on four continents, including the Middle East for 18 years. Doreen coaches, speaks and writes about using travel as a tool for transformation, together with the necessary mindset to process international transitions and constant travel with ease and grace.
Life in the Camel Lane, part memoir part primer, reveals stories from her time in Saudi Arabia, and is her 2nd book.