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Book Title: Life in the Camel Lane: Embrace the Adventure by Doreen M. Cumberford
Category: Adult Non-Fiction (18 +), 288 pages
Publisher: White Heather Press
Release date: April, 2020
Tour dates: Jan 25 to Feb 12, 2021
Content Rating: G. There are no offensive scenes or language
Life in the Camel Lane: Embrace the Adventure is what Doreen Cumberford, a Scottish author, calls her learnoire! It is a combination of her story and the stories of other expats learned while living in Saudi Arabia for 15 years as expat employees or spouses.
The book takes the reader through the four stages of culture shock: arrival, honeymoon, frustration and adjustment stages to final acceptance followed by the return journey back to their home country – mostly the USA. From Saudi weddings, to falconry, to the inability of women to drive at that time, the book seeks to familiarize us with the Saudi culture, lifestyle, and deep traditions of hospitality, generosity and tolerance from an insider’s perspective. 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 designed to drive the expats out of the country and destroy the Saudi government.
Full of examples, stories and compelling honesty the author describes their most challenging journey and many of the lessons learned in the process together. Designed to provide useful insights and inspiration to anyone considering living abroad, Life in the Camel Lane shines the light on the subject of building a new identity and home while abroad, and the difficulties of the journey home.
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Doreen Cumberford is a Scottish expat author who has been global traveler for more than four decades. In her 20s Doreen left her home in Scotland and drove down to London to become a member of Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Her first posting was as the youngest and most junior British Embassy staffer in Cameroon, West Africa. Later she moved back to London and took a position with an American oil-field construction company based in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.
After moving to America, living in Louisiana then California, two extremely different cultures in the USofA, Doreen and family moved overseas to Japan then spent the following 15 years in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. With 13 major moves under her belt, she understands the value of moving, building a new life and handling inter-cultural hurdles. One constant has been her ability to explore through the lens of adventure. Her stories are full of multi-cultural intelligence, messy multilingual communications and multi-global perspectives.
Doreen is currently based on Denver, Colorado although spends most of the year living adventurously in the Housesitting Lane, which takes her around the globe. Currently she is doing her best to install Spanish in her brain which previously had French and smatterings of Japanese and Arabic. She is passionate about cultural intelligence, global heartedness and life on the road. Featured in the Anthology: Empowering Women, and a co-author in 2018 of Arriving Well: Stories About Identity, Belonging and Rediscovering Home After Living Abroad.
2020 sees the publication of Life in the Camel Lane: Embrace the Adventure. Honest, compassionate, full of wisdom and inspiration, Life in the Camel Lane comprises stories mostly from women and men who lived in Saudi Arabia from 1950s onward. This memoir contains expert advice sage wisdom and stories that all globally mobile families can use to navigate their international journey. The principles in this book will also encourage anyone who is embracing a more adventurous life, or considering taking the leap to move overseas.
Connect with the Author: website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ pinterest ~ instagram ~ goodreads
1. How did you move to writing about Relocation and Returning Home After Living Abroad?
When I returned from Saudi Arabia to live in the United States, everything was new but old again, up but down, inside but seemly outside. There were days where I felt weird and out of place.
Now, I was not a neophyte to long distance or international moves. In fact, I had lived in several different exotic locations, like Cameroon, West Africa, Dubai and Japan so I had enjoyed the privilege of living overseas.
When I returned to the United States after almost twenty years away, I discovered that, while the journey looked like it was adventurous from the outside, the true adventure was inside.
I realized that if I felt like this, perhaps many other people did as well. Now the subjects of Repatriation or Relocation are a huge part of what I speak, write and dream about. The repatriation piece is best represented in Arriving Well: Stories of Identity, Belonging and Rediscovering Home After Living Abroad.
2. Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
Since I speak, write and teach about being adaptable and flexible while working and traveling the globe, I stay connected to myself and others who are constantly traveling. Travel is an endless source for inspiration and colorful details.
I get 99% of my inspiration from the day, from the environment, its palette and textures, sites, people, places and possibilities. I am lucky enough to travel and be on the road frequently as a part-time petsitter, and in my world everywhere I look there is wonder and something to be stimulated by.
The world is a wonderful place, and as a writer I have learned how to reflect, describe and draw conclusions or universal lessons from these observations.
Cheers to you finding your inspiration wherever you look!
3. Your book is set in Saudi Arabia. Have you ever been there?
Oh yes! Not only have I been there, I actually lived there for fifteen years.
Life in the Camel Lane: Embrace the Adventure is based upon my story and stories of other Western women along with a few good men’s stories. The lifestyle in Saudi was like night and day from the West, with women not being able to drive, living on a compound surrounded by initially by barbed wire and after 9/11 by the highest security technology available on the planet.
There are stories about driving, weddings, shopping, food, cultural dissonance and all the fun experiences our kids enjoyed by growing up somewhere different. There truly is nothing like living and working abroad to transform our mindset and to stimulate our understanding of humans and the vast differences we embrace.
I consider myself very fortunate to have lived in Saudi; it confronted me with my white, middle-class bias and privilege every single day. I still have so much to learn from that journey. I have learned to be grateful for the opportunity to simply be human, and to be connected to people who have vastly different culture and experiences, and to learn from them.
4. What would you say is your best set-up for writing?
I don’t think I am unusual in this. I have two conditions that produce the best writing:
I need to be thinking, my brain needs to be climbing around inside my skull trying to articulate ideas. That means I need to have a) either have spent time with people who stimulate my thoughts and/or b) I need to have been physically moving my body.
People and movement stimulate my brain and mind to connect things that otherwise would not be obvious. I look for patterns, I constantly seek to expose the blind side of life that would be glossed over.
Cheers to everyone who seeks to write material that changes the world!
5. Do you have another profession besides writing?
I am a Life Coach and a Speaker on the joys and juggling of living and working overseas and the return home: http://www.doreenmcumberford.com
My life coaching experience started in the 1980’s when I was the owner of a Diet Center, a weight loss franchise. This was my first blush with coaching, and it most certainly wasn’t a “thing” back then. I had the amazing privilege of helping people lose large amounts of weight, by changing their lifestyles, thinking patterns and nutritional habits.
I continued with creative coaching in Saudi Arabia, and nowadays I love to help people build their tribes, relocate with ease and grace and then settle well into their new lives while managing reverse culture shock.
The relocation from home to overseas and back again involves plenty of inter-cultural adjustment and it’s a privilege to support people in arriving well. My book, Life in the Camel Lane: Embrace the Adventure, dovetails well into this work.
Grateful to be a coach and helping people make intelligent moves.
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