Life in the Camel Lane: Embrace the Adventure by Doreen M. Cumberford
Category: Adult Non-Fiction (18 +), 288 pages | Genre: Memoir
Publisher: White Heather Press | Release date: April, 2020
Tour dates: August 24 to September 4, 2020
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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Review by LAWonder10:
Doreen M. Cumberford had lived as a youth in Dubai but had spent years in the U.S.. She had loved Dubai yet the lifestyle of America was so much easier and more plentiful. As a single mom she had enjoyed a career in the oil industry but when her husband received an interview with Aramco, requesting his wife be present, also, they knew something unusual was going to be a part of this opportunity. It was not a shock when they were told the job was to be mostly overseas, After the training in the states, they were first sent to Japan, which they enjoyed, then to Sadi Arabia. This was before the Gulf war and 9/11. They were gone for seventeen years.
Always anxious for new experiences and adventures, the family determined to adjust to every location and life-style. Doreen was somewhat prepared, having lived so many years ib Dubai, but compared to the time she lived there, much had changed. Still the family learned to love Sadi in the same manor they learned to love Japan. They would honor and adjust to culture rules and celebrations, while still maintaining their own celebrations.
This is a Memoir of this families experiences, plus the author includes other peoples feelings, experiences and adjustments, as well. In Sadi Arabia, the Aramco maintained a compound for their employees for multiple reasons. They only had the commissary and the local open market to shop at. One had to know the times because five times a day, all things closed down for prayer call. The closest city to shop in was a long distance. It would use up an entire day to commute and do little shopping.
The calendars are different, the heat can get to 119 degrees and more. The author feels she gain a greater appreciation and understanding of the various cultures and cultures within a culture yet she feels the Sadi women will never understand the Western lifestyle and attitudes.
This family experienced an upset of their peaceful living during the Gulf War and 9/11. She shares a little about theses times and what effects this had on their community and the surrounding area.
The author shares information about their dog and horse, living with very little electronic communication and television, accepting the sometimes barbaric laws, blending cultures in various ways, changing personal views and habits by 'living in the camel lane". It is a blend of experiences, attitudes and adjusting to new cultures and returning again to a previous culture.
This is very interesting and quite well written. She just seems to dwell on "expatriates" to a point it became annoying to me. The information was informative and is worthy of consideration.
I offer Four Stars rating.
*This book was gifted me with no pressure for a positive review. This is my honest review.
Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became An Author
Having had my first solo book published I expected that perhaps I would be writing less and talking, speaking more. It seems like the opposite is true. In fact, requests for articles, blogs and material are growing – which I have to admit is kind of exciting!
1. It’s Like Taking Another Lifetime Journey
I wish I knew it would take me on a another lifetime journey. The journey of writing Life in the Camel Lane: Embrace the Adventure has been a different type of tour for me. In the book I document a journey that started on April 1st, 1992 when we boarded an airplane to fly to Houston and has lasted until May 14th when the book was launched by Zoom from San Miguel de Allende. Joseph Campbell said: “We're not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes!”
2. Joys of being a writer
I wish I had known the joy of authorship. When your life’s energy in the form of a book is out and walking around the world, poised to reach out and touch people’s souls through opening up the cover of a book - things change.
3. Changing Identity
The difference between being a wanna be writer and a published writer requires reaching beyond an old idea of oneself. That was pretty uncomfortable for me. It’s a bit like grabbing a car door handle that is just a bit beyond your reach, then pulling the door closed and folding my body into the vehicle. These actions become automatic, but for the newly minted writer each step requires some thought and intention behind it. It’s like learning to walk all over again. Wobble, wobble.
4. Being Comfortable with Discomfort
I am a huge believer in getting uncomfortable and the rewards that life delivers as a result of one’s pure willingness to tolerate certain conditions. I have lived in Africa, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, England, Dubai and the USA. Each of these places has been amazing, but I had to become very uncomfortable before during and after each move. It’s the same with authorship.
5. Essence and Expression
As a writer I have discovered that the essence of what I wrote must be redistilled and reproduced, highlighting different facets of what I wrote and why. It’s like making different versions of the same cocktail.
Personally, this process has been both painful and delightful. Some days I love the questions about the writing process and my personal experience, other days I want to run for the hills.
The task of a good author is asking better questions of oneself to dive deeper. Hopefully, like the proverbial rabbit out of the hat, we come up with fresh ideas with which we can entertain, engage and educate others while hopefully enjoying ourselves. Win, win, win!
About the Author
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
Here is the tour schedule.
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