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One Year in Wonderland by Christopher R Combe

We’ve asked a number of our team members to share their views and thoughts on a variety of books which might be suitable if you’re thinking of moving overseas.

This month Peter Arnold, Relocation Advisor, shares his review of "One Year in Wonderland". Having been with Crown Relocations for six years, Peter spends his days talking to people who are in the early stages of relocation.  He enjoys being able to advise on the ins and outs of moving overseas and help allay any fears or concerns people may have.

This book is an autobiography which details Christopher Combe’s working and personal life in Dubai.  It appealed to me as it’s always interesting to read a first-hand account of what it is like to live in a city if you haven’t visited there or experienced living there yourself.

You can often gain a good amount about a location from reading someone else’s experience of life there, to determine whether it might be a place that you’d like to see for yourself.  The book’s title gives a clear indication of Christopher’s perspective on Dubai and his account is lively and vivid.  It’s inspired me to want to visit and experience the wonders of this exciting city.

Christopher portrays Dubai as a hectic land of extremes and a very competitive country.  This is illustrated by examples such as Dubai’s unique approach to traffic instructions, whereby, when approaching traffic lights, the usual form is to drive fast, then faster still!  This brings to life the experience of living in a foreign country in a way that usual guidebooks can’t.

It’s an open and honest account of life in the city of Dubai, addressing both the highs and lows of Christopher’s rollercoaster experience of living and working there.  It’s an appealing account of life in Dubai; Christopher likens it to an extended stay at a theme park, with all the thrills.  However just as a theme park might make you feel giddy after a while, the pace of life in Dubai might put some people off from settling there long term.  

Christopher’s story is a clear and honest summary of the wonderful experiences to be had in Dubai - including the restaurants, which rival the best in the world.  The book provides a clear perspective of what it’s like to live in the city as an expat, and the distinction between the expat and the native population. 

This is an interesting and valuable read for anyone thinking of moving to Dubai to work, and it provides valuable insight on things like the climate and facilities, as well as getting around Dubai and neighbouring Doha and Abu Dhabi.

This was a very enjoyable read and provides a taster of what it’s like to live in Dubai.  For someone considering relocating to Dubai I’d rate it as a seven out of ten in terms of how useful it would be for them in researching their move and, having read Christopher’s account, Dubai might not be to everyone’s taste as a location to settle in permanently and lay down roots.

I always say to anyone who is considering relocation, there’s nothing quite like visiting for yourself to help make your mind up and anyone who gets the opportunity to experience this exciting ‘Wonderland’ city should take it and enjoy the whirlwind of excitement that is Dubai.

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