A few points…

1. This site is for entertainment purposes only. Really!

2, I cannot be held liable for any loss or damage or personal injury as a consequence of you acting or not acting based on anything you read on this site or the accompanying ebook and maps.

I do hope that’s clear to you!

So do get a second opinion before acting/not acting – and go into any new situation with your eyes and ears open.

3. I am not connected in any way with the companies, organisations and places mentioned on this site – so please don’t send me CVs (resumés); ask me to put aside shop items for collection; send me seeds from the Al Ain Paradise Gardens; etc! :)

Thanks for reading!

Al Ain survival guide

I’ve spent many years counselling/supporting people with challenges in their lives.

I thought I’d write a few words for people who are considering coming here, and also for those already here.

By all means, stop reading now if you just want to know about what’s happening in Al Ain.

If you’re thinking of coming here…

Al Ain is no better or worse than anywhere else: it’s just different. Articles and photos on this site focus on the positive, though I do list many of the challenges here, via the Challenges tab on the Navigation Bar at the top of the screen.

I have spoken to people who have come here to escape from issues back home. They soon find the same issues showing up here too.

I have also spoken with people who had a lot of trepidation about coming here – and were delightfully surprised by all the good things that are in this town. (I partly created this site to support people with some apprehension about coming here.)

If you’re already here…

In my experience, when I have seen more positives than negatives to a situation then, at some point, something will happen which will bring me back ‘down to earth’. So I put energy into seeing events in my life as neutral rather than fabulous or terrible which are both distortions of reality.

Hero’s Journey model

I am sure you know the Star Wars films. When George Lucas was writing the script he got stuck with piles of notes and ideas but no clear structure.

Then he came across a man called Joseph Campbell, a mythologist considered by many to be the foremost expert on myths and legends in the world.

He had written a book based on his research called The Hero With A Thousand Faces in which Campbell said that pretty much every myth, legend and fairy tale have the same structure which he called the Monomyth or ‘Hero’s Journey’.

George read this book, and applied the Hero’s Journey model to his script. As a result he created one of the highest-grossing films of all time.

So what?

Occasionally I use the Hero’s Journey model when I work with clients so they can see where they are on the journey, where they’ve been and where they’re heading.

Let’s look at the model, relate it to the first Star Wars film, and later link it to life in Al Ain. I’ve broken the model into 10 steps. (Other writers break into more or less steps.)…

1. Stuck in the wasteland

2. A call to adventure

3. Refusal of the call

4. Acceptance of the call

5. Meeting a mentor

6. Enter a magical new world

7. A road of trials

8. Achieving the goal / learning something new

9. Return to the ordinary world

10. Using what you’ve learned back in the ordinary world


The above steps will make more sense when we slot the plot of the first Star Wars film (A New Hope) into those steps…


1. Stuck in the wasteland (Luke is bored, going nowhere)

2. A call to adventure (stumbles across the robots R2-D2 and C3PO and hears their story)

3. Refusal of the call (…and goes back to his aunt and uncle’s farm, but it has been destroyed by Stormtroopers)

4. Acceptance of the call (he agrees to go on the adventure)

5. Meeting a mentor (he meets Obiwan Kenibi, a wise old man)

6. Enter a magical new world (meets Han Solo in a cantina full of other-worldly characters)

7. A road of trials (various adventures, fights, narrow escapes)

8. Achieving the goal / learning something new (taps into his ‘inner core’ / soul / higher self / Force – and destroys the Death Star)

9. Return to the ordinary world (gets a medal)

10. Using what you’ve learned back in the ordinary world


You’ll find many, many blockbuster films and books that use this model. There are even books and even online courses which show how various films use this model to great effect.

Now let’s look at how the Hero’s Journey might relate to someone moving to or living in Al Ain…

1. Stuck in the wasteland (bored in their country of origin, going nowhere)

2. A call to adventure (sees ads in the newspaper, online; or a friend/colleague mentions working overseas)

3. Refusal of the call (initial hesitation or dismissal of the thought, idea, suggestion)

4. Acceptance of the call (says yes, and starts a train of actions)

5. Meeting a mentor (reads a book, finds info online, gets advice off an employer or someone already in Al Ain)

6. Enter a magical new world (different terrain, temperature, currency, customs, working days, language, driving conditions)

7. A road of trials (difficulty of settling in, problems getting residency visa, problems getting suitable accommodation, children don’t settle in the school well, homesickness, and so on)

8. Achieving the goal / learning something new (learn more about self; learn new skills; make new friends; get more qualifications; get more experience for a curriculum vitae / resume; and so on)

9. Return to the ordinary world (go back to their country of origin)

10. Using what you’ve learned back in the ordinary world (share what you’ve learned; tell funny stories; see the world, people, other cultures, your homeland in a new way)

Now you can look at the above and see where you are…

  • If you’re feeling bored/stuck – even if you’re in Al Ain now – you could look for the Calls To Adventure all around you.
  • If you are ignoring such Calls, that’s okay. At some point you’ll say yes to a Call.
  • Trials and challenges are part of the journey of life: they’re inevitable.

Sometimes we have a fantasy of wanting ‘an easy life’ – but to keep things simple, this isn’t possible: we’ll always have challenges, even if we were to win US$50 million on the lottery: challenges such as: where to invest the money; which new house(s) to buy; finding and employing staff to run the house(s);  friends/family wanting money; feeling bored after being on holiday after holiday; putting on weight through so much rich living; and so on.

So if we can look at our day-to-day life through the Hero’s Journey model we can see that we’re on this journey no matter what

We’re always learning, growing, applying what we’ve learned, sharing that with others and, as a result, making a difference in the world.

Which means that, with some study of the above, and inner reflection, we can enjoy the journey of life more.

If you want to know more about my philosophical approach to life, or you have a challenge you’d like support with, go to my main site where there are articles and videos you may find of use: www.triumphoverchallenges.com.

If you have any comments about the above, let me know by commenting below, contacting me directly, or phoning me .

Choosing where to live

We live in Kuwaitat which is on the east side of the town, behind the Hilton Hotel. We love where we live. We are also close to the Al Ain Mall, the largest Lulu Hypermarket and 10 minutes from the large Bawadi Mall.

Here’s what I recommend, if I may be so bold (and I hope it’s not too much to take in!). Get hold of a map of Al Ain and locate the 3 main hotels which have pools: the Hilton, the Intercontinental, and the Rotana. This way, if you get info on specific villas you can see how far you are away from what may be your frequent weekend activity.

Also locate the main malls: Bawadi Mall is the newest and biggest; Al Jimi Mall (I think!) is the next newest; Al Ain Mall is the oldest (and it’s a great mall) ; plus the enormous Lulu Hypermarket in Kuwaitat, and the smaller Lulu Supermarket in Sanaiya (opposite the Etisalat building which will most likely be on the map). Very recent is the Al Foah Mall in Al Foah, on the road heading out to Dubai.

These are the main places ex-pats in Al Ain shop as each mall has one big supermarket in it, as well as other shops. (There are other, smaller supermarkets like Choithrams, and the new Spinneys supermarket on the road out to Abu Dhabi.) Again you can then get a sense of how far you’ll need to travel to do your main weekly or twice weekly shop.

Al Ain isn’t that big a town (there are 400,000 people at the moment). So you should be able to get round fairly easily.

See other posts for info on specific malls, and photos.


Sending and receiving post

The Post Office will not deliver post to individual homes. So if you want to post to be sent to you from home then you will need to be sent to the office of one of the breadwinners in a family, or sent to P.O. Box. It costs only a nominal fee per year to have your own P.O. Box. However the only challenge with this is that you have to have a residence Visa first before you can apply for a P.O. Box.

The post office is located in the centre of Al Ain at what is called the Clock Tower Roundabout. Though there is no tower… and no roundabout (though there used to be one at the junction until they replaced it a couple of years or so ago with traffic lights)…


The post isn’t 100% reliable. Two months ago my in-laws sent an envelope containing some football cards for our children, and I ordered two books to be sent from the UK. Neither package arrived.

To get to the PO Boxes you go in the doors with the sticking out canopy above them which you can see on the far left of the photo above. The boxes are located on 2 floors connected by an escalator. Each box has a unique number like 69975, and all the boxes are in numerical order, so you’ll have fun finding your box the first time as you hunt down different corridors!…

post office boxes

post office boxes 2

When you sign up you will be given 3 keys for your PO Box which you can access from first thing in the morning to late at night, 7 days a week.