'Cross Culture Odyssey: Memoir of a Repat'
by Greg Cummings
Being homeward bound can be a difficult journey for some. “Where is home? Where do I belong? How do I repatriate after a lifetime as an expatriate?” For this Third Culture Kid, coming home is an odyssey.
Greg Cummings calls himself a Cross Culture Kid, because the three in “Third Culture Kid” does not quite cut it. He grew up in a multitude of countries. An upbringing as varied and eventful requires adapting to a myriad of cultures. That mix of mores is what gives a TCK his or her distinct flavour. Some thrive on it. President Obama is proof a TCK can achieve greatness. And there is no denying that it is a novel way to grow up. But global nomadism also has its disadvantages which rarely get talked about. Where does a cross culture creature belong? Greg tries twice to repatriate — as a teenager and as a young man. He fails both times. It is not until his third attempt in his middle age that he sees what has been holding him back. “Homelessness is key to my identity, cut deep into the diamantine core of my character. And yet I feel at home everywhere.” This book chronicles Greg’s struggles to settle in Canada. It is about the uneasy transition he has faced, again and again, in returning to his passport country, and the reasons why global nomads find it so hard to repatriate. In transitioning to repat, he confronts his poor choices, puzzles out possible reasons for them, and tries to discover who he really is. He takes some agency in his life, and attempts to regain his integrity.
As globalization gains ground, generations of highly-mobile kids will go out into the world and, at their travels end, most of them will find repatriating a challenge, if not impossible. Few are prepared for what awaits them when they return to their native countries and how traumatic the transition from expat to repat can be. Greg hopes this book will be a useful guide.
An award-winning conservationist, Greg Cummings achieved notable success protecting wild gorilla populations in Africa through community-based initiatives. During his 17-year tenure as director of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund UK, he raised millions of dollars from companies, foundations and individuals around the world. All that money was invested directly into communities adjacent to gorilla habitats, which helped ensure their survival.
As a veteran safari guide, Greg has taken movie producers, heads of industry, ambassadors, and celebrities to meet great apes in the wild. After trekking with him in the Congo jungle, Steve McQueen, who recently won an Oscar for Best Picture, said, “Basically he’s Dennis Hopper out of Apocalypse Now!”
Greg is a consummate storyteller, and has appeared with Tom Brokaw on the Today Show, participated in docs for the BBC, NPR, and CBC, and published articles in The Guardian, Sea Angler, and The Ecologist.
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