Regular readers here on A Little Adrift may recall my ever-so-brief plan to visit the Middle East last fall – it was a goal, an ambition really, because I’ve always wanted to travel to the Middle East but didn’t make it there on my RTW trip, nor my travels since. I had a friend in the region last year and thought about heading that way – it didn’t work out though and I decided to expat myself in Thailand instead.
Six months later, as I wrap up my time living in Chiang Mai, Thailand and traveling through the region, the Middle East still beckons. And as fortuity would have it, the Jordan Tourism Board invited me to spend nearly two weeks in the country as their guest.
How could I say no to that offer?!
I couldn’t, as it just so happens, and I head to Jordan this week.
Worried? Thrilled? Either Way, Let’s play Twenty Questions!
Wait, You’re Going to the Middle East NOW?!
The first thoughts going through my head (and yours) when I heard concerned the recent tension and conflicts in the region. The media has been pretty heavy handed with the political coverage on Egypt and Syria and the US Department of State has warnings issued for a lot of countries in the region.
Is it safe there, you just said there are travel warnings?!
Not for Jordan, no travel advisories from the US Department of State! And that in and of itself is a big statement because the USDS tends to err very heavily on the side of caution when issuing travel advisories (ie they’re quite heavy handed); this fact gave me an initial thumbs up for some more research.
Aren’t you a bit scared?
So often on the road I discover contrary experiences to my media-filled expectations; the reality of some countries is simply different than you’d expect, and just because there is some conflict nearby doesn’t mean the entire region is dangerous (case in point the Thai-Cambodian border clashes right now…you’d never know there were problems up here in the north of Thailand).
What do you parents think about this?
Okay yes, I still consult with my parents (do you really ever out-grow that?). I discussed the trip with my dad – he’s pretty savvy about international news – and as concerned as he is with my safety, even he had to admit that Jordan is exempted from the worse conflicts right now. I also sent him stories and from some other wonderful travel bloggers and photographers recently traveling through the region (which means on the ground reports that yes, Jordan is safe!).
Are you flying solo on this trip?
Nope! My flat-mate and friend here in Chiang Mai, Jodi of Legal Nomads, is on the same trip next week and we jointly heading to Jordan for first-hand food and cultural experiences. We’re both traditionally solo-travelers so it will be intriguingly new to have a travel companion again after so long to share the experiences – I like the idea of having someone else to turn to when I feel compelled issue forth a “Holy shnikes, that tastes good!”
What does it mean “guest of the Jordan Tourism Board?”
That means they are sponsoring all of the travel to, and around, Jordan. The great part of this being it’s a place I have always had on my “travel list,” and now I get to visit sooner than anticipated! This trip falls into the category of a press trip, the first here on A Little Adrift, and Jordan is a great way to start. You can expect all of the same stories and honest perspectives from me though, that doesn’t ever change :)
What will you do in Jordan?
The Jordan Tourism Board has tailored the trip and cooked up some wonderful experiences with both A Little Adrift and Legal Nomads in mind – that means market tours, food, sight-seeing some of Jordan’s iconic landmarks (Petra anyone?), hiking, more food, some sustainable local projects and plenty of cultural immersion.
How do you feel?
Okay I’m convinced you should go, can you locate it on a map for me?
Sure thing! Jordan shares borders with Israel, Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.
How about three Jordanian facts I may not know?
- Arabic is the country’s official language, but English is widely spoken and taught at many public schools in the country.
- Non-confrontational foreign policies mean that Jordan is on great terms with the US, the UK, and several nearby countries and belongs to the United Nations.
- The shores of the Dead Sea, in the northwest of Jodan, are the lowest spots on Earth’s surface.
What’s the food like?
As a vegetarian, I will be completely set for some delicious foodie delights in Jordan. Although they are not a vegetarian country by nature (the national dish is Mansaf, a seasoned lamb dish) the Middle East brings to the vegetarian world palate: hummus, falafel, babba ghanoush, pita bread…and that’s just a start – expect a full report soon!
How are you getting there?
We fly out on Royal Jordanian Airlines from Bangkok with a direct flight to Amman, Jordan’s capital (and the country’s largest city for the trivia inclined).
Where do you go from Jordan?
Ever so briefly back to Bangkok before flying home back to North America for a series of conferences (#WDS and #TBEX for the acronym inclined). I’ll be passing through Seattle, Portland (Oregon) and Vancouver in June. Then to Colorado and onward home to Florida for a visit. After that, who knows?!
Okay, I may have fibbed a bit about the twenty questions, there’re just thirteen, but I think that about covers it all for now!
Anything else you’d like to know? Or something uniquely Jordanian I should keep on my radar over the next two weeks?