A Little Update…Twenty Questions, Jordan Style

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?!

 Soccer by the Temple of Hercules at the Citadel - Amman, Jordan

The Temple of Hercules at the Citadel in Amman, Jordan (c) Uncornered Market

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  :)

Petra's Treasury at Dusk - Jordan (c) Uncornered Market

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?
Pretty thrilled!

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.
Instagram photo from the Dead Sea, Jordan

Instagram photo from the Dead Sea, Jordan (c) Uncornered Market

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!

Aubergine-Garlic Dip (Moutabel)

This Aubergine-Garlic Dip from Uncornered Market has me sold!

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?

I am traveling through Jordan as a guest of the Jordan Tourism Board, my trip is sponsored, but all of the experiences, photos, and opinions are solely my own!

A big thanks to Dan and Audrey at Uncornered Market (they have a fun twitter feed too!) all of the photographs (minus the map) are theirs!

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47 Responses to A Little Update…Twenty Questions, Jordan Style

  1. John Romano June 2, 2011 at 6:26 am #

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  2. Anonymous May 26, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    whats your instagram id? great pics of jordan. i would have never considered it, but you’ve impressed me. good luck, looks like an adventure!

    • Anonymous May 26, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

      My instagram is ShannonROD, though the photo in this posts is from my good
      friends over at @umarket (twitter, not sure their instagram! :) Thanks for
      the comment and support – it was a great adventure!

  3. Rebecca May 12, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    Soo exciting! Have fun and can’t wait to read all about it. Jordan – and the whole of the Middle East – is very high up on my list of must-visit places but I’ll be living vicariously through you for the time being!

    • Anonymous May 13, 2011 at 9:38 am #

      Thanks Rebecca! Just got back to Thailand today and had an amazing
      visit to Jordan- more posts will be coming very soon! :)

  4. D. May 9, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    just wanted to say ‘thanks’ for not accepting my previous comment.

  5. D. May 3, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    if you’re coming here, then the first thing you should know is that it’s called PALESTINE and not ISRAEL.

  6. Erin May 3, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    Oooh, jealous! Jordan and Syria are in our travel plans for next year so looking forward to reading about your experience, especially the veggie food part. Enjoy!

    • Anonymous May 4, 2011 at 6:25 am #

      I’ll make sure to include copious amounts of veggie foodie delights – had my
      first tastes this morning and this region is a feast for us veggies! :)

  7. Stephanie May 3, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    You girls are going to have such a blast. I’m so excited for you! And the food, oh!

    • Anonymous May 4, 2011 at 6:24 am #

      Thanks so much Stephanie! :) Got my first taste of the food this morning
      and my tastebuds are in heaven!!

  8. Hamza-altork May 2, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    Jordan sweeter <3 .
    For any queries contact on BB 23AE1145 or hamza-altork@hotmail.com .
    Welcome 2 JORDAN #1

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

      Thanks so much for the comment and I appreciate your offer of tips and advice :) Cheers and thanks!

      • Hamza-altork May 2, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

        Welcome any time

  9. Megan May 2, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    How exciting! You’re going to have an amazing time, Jordan is a wonderful and friendly place (even in the dodgiest hospital in Amman, where I managed to end up one afternoon :D) Will you spending a night in the desert at Wadi Rum? That was definitely a highlight of my time there – just me, my friend, the stars and a soundtrack of traditional Bedouin music…totally blew me away.

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 10:40 am #

      Thanks so much for weighing in Megan! We are definitely spending a night at
      Wadi Rum and will be out with the traditional Bedouins – it’s one of the
      parts I am so looking forward to…and good to know even the dodgy hospitals
      are solid choices (somehow I often find myself there too!). :)

  10. LeslieTravel May 2, 2011 at 4:11 am #

    I just got back from Jordan and Egypt, where I was traveling with a US tourism delegation investigating travel safety. I had an AMAZING time in Jordan, and would love to go back. Petra is even more impressive in person than in photos, and the Bedouin culture is fascinating. I felt completely safe traveling there, even when we were about 40 minutes from the Syrian border. (Search for #SafeME on Twitter for Jordan posts). You’ll have a great time. Look forward to reading about your travels!

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 4:23 am #

      Thanks so much for weighing in on this Leslie! Your experiences over the
      past weeks must have been amazing – appreciate the tips as that was
      something on my mind, so it’s good to have a first hand account! Cheers and
      thanks, will look up that hashtag. :)

  11. Heather Knight May 1, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    Jordan is a great country. I stopped there last year on my RTW trip. I can pretty much guarantee that your experience will be different since it is a press trip. I had some difficulties being a solo female traveler in the Middle East. It was quite challenging in some ways, but I really did enjoy my time in Wadi Musa once I got myself settled for the few days I was there. I live in Portland, OR and am planning to go TBEX in Vancouver. WDS sold out before I found out about it. Either way, if you need any assistance in Portland, feel free to contact me! I love showing people around.

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 3:00 am #

      Sorry to hear that you had some difficulties there as a solo woman – no doubt I will be differently exposed to many of the situations you faced with a tour guide the whole time. I found some most likely similar challenges in India, but it really helps when you’re able to take a break for a few days and work out of a “home base” of sorts!

      Thanks for the offer about Portland! Those days are all up in the air, so I really appreciate the offer :) Will get in touch, or meet you at TBEX at the very least :)

  12. Jennifer Barry May 1, 2011 at 11:56 pm #

    Hi Shannon, that’s awesome that you and Jodi get to go to Jordan together. I’ve heard such great things from other bloggers who went there recently. It should be a blast. I’m sure you will love the food as well. :)

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 3:04 am #

      The other bloggers have really had some amazing experiences so I’m honored that I get to join the ranks traveling over there! :) Can’t wait for the food. I love Asia and all, but a change of pace food-wise is going to rock!

  13. Anonymous May 1, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

    How exciting! The Middle East is definitely on my list of places to visit–my mom learned Arabic in the FBI and kept in touch with many of her professors, so I’ve grown up exposed to a bit of the culture. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Jordan–can’t wait to hear your take on it!

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 3:03 am #

      That’s a wonderfully personal connection to the region – I always find that makes a country a lot more enjoyable, when you have a really compelling reason to go visit! Maybe after Oz/SEA?! :)

      • Anonymous May 4, 2011 at 5:42 am #

        It’s a definite possibility–although it’s still a region that I wouldn’t feel comfortable exploring as a single female. Need to convince a friend!

  14. Andi Perullo May 1, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    I’m dying to get to Jordan, this post just ignited my wanderlust for the country even more!

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 2:53 am #

      That’s how I felt! I was digging around online to find out some fun facts and it just incited more of an itch to visit there next week :)

      • Wanderfly.com May 9, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

        Hi Shannon,

        How did you go about planning your trip to Jordan?

  15. Andrea and John May 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    Great post! I learned so much about Jordan from this – we really want to go there in the next couple of years ~Andrea

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 2:50 am #

      Thanks Andrea! I had fun looking up some new facts too – it was like an Easter egg hunt online to find some neat niche facts about the country before I head there :)

  16. James Clark May 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    Looking forward to your jump for joy shot in front of Petra :)

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 2:51 am #

      Hah! It’s going to be EPIC! And we’re going to finagle a way for Jodi to get one too – preferably without jumping…I’ll let you know how that goes :)

  17. James Schipper May 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    Outstanding! Congratulations! Can’t wait to hear all about it. That’s on my short list of places I want to go too.

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 2:50 am #

      Thanks James! The Middle East (including Jordan) was high on my short list as well, so this is a fun development :)

  18. Abhishek May 1, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    Good share By review your post Jordan sounds awesome place to travel.Thanks for this post and experience.Have a great time………!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 2:49 am #

      Thanks for stopping in! I’m excited to head there – stick around next week for the updates on what it’s like to travel there! :)

  19. Anthony May 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    Congratulations on getting sent there. Look forward to hearing all about your travels there. I would love to go to Jordon!

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 2:48 am #

      Thanks Anthony! The country has so many different options – I’m psyched to see it’s different facets and personalities :)

  20. Jack and Jill May 1, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Awesome! Jordan is definitely on our travel list as well. Have a great time!

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 2:45 am #

      Thanks guys! And when you get there shoot me an email :)

  21. Mike Sowden May 1, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    Could not be more enthused for you. :) Truly. Who hasn’t had their toes wiggle when they see the scene in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” where Petra appears ahead?

    Regarding the Dead Sea, that’s certainly something to see sooner than later, because apparently it’s disappearing fast…20 metre fall in the 20th Century, I believe.

    Looking forward to seeing Jordan vicariously through you guys. :)

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 2:43 am #

      Thanks Mike! Can I make a confession here in the comments and admit that I haven’t seen Indiana Jones?! But, uh, yeah, still thrilled to be seeing Petra ;-)

      That’s intriguing about the Dead Sea – I hadn’t read that yet. Glad to be going there now then!

  22. Michael Hodson May 1, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    Have a wonderful time — they are great hosts.

    • Anonymous May 2, 2011 at 2:31 am #

      Thanks Michael! Everyone’s so sweet so far, I’m looking forward to it :)

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