A Little Update… Twenty Questions, Jordan Style

*Last updated:

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 fortune 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 for me? 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 tensions and conflicts in the region circa 2010 and 2011. The media has been heavy handed with the political coverage on Egypt and Syria and the U.S. Department of State has warnings issued for a lot of countries in the region.

Is Jordan Safe to Visit?

Jordan is safe for travelers, and there are no travel advisories from the U.S. Department of State for the bulk of the country. Although there are a great many advisories for surrounding countries, Jordan is a very different place in the region. So, you will find a travel advisory for the Jordan-Syria border, and you would need to exercise great caution and steer far clear of it. But considering the USDS errs very heavily on the side of caution when issuing travel advisories (ie they’re quite heavy handed), the fact that it still OKs Jordan gave me an initial thumbs up for some more research. Then once I visited, I did feel that the country overall is safe for travelers, but women and solo travelers should dress appropriately and exercise a caution when out after dark and things of that nature.

In addition to checking U.S. travel advisories for Jordan, the Canadian government’s site is also thorough and lists the areas of the country where there have been recent demonstrations and where you should have deeper vigilance.

Don’t forget to book travel insurance for your trip to Jordan—a great policy provides coverage in case of medical emergencies, lost luggage, adventure sports rides, and more. I used World Nomads for this trip (and since 2008!) and highly recommend it!

Am I Afraid to Visit Jordan?

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 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).

Safety is a deep topic—it involves solo female travel safety, but also things like risky activities, and how you approach your travels. The world is not as dangerous as you assume, but then again having the right knowledge about a place is essential when you’re visiting conflict-adjacent places. Am I scared to travel to Jordan? I am cautious, I will take precautions, but I am more curious than anything.

I jumped my way around Jordan’s best sites, and it was such good fun.

What Do Your Parents Think About Your Jordan Trip?

Okay yes, I still consult with my parents (do you really ever outgrow 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 Traveling Solo to Jordan?

Nope! My flat-mate and friend here in Chiang Mai, Jodi of Legal Nomads, is on the same trip next week. We are jointly traveling through Jordan for first-hand food and cultural experiences. We’re both traditionally solo-travelers, so it will be intriguing 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 schnikes, look at that incredible view!”

What Does “Guest of the Jordan Tourism Board” Mean?

The Jordan Tourism Board is 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 Things Will I 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, desert vistas, more food, sustainable local projects, and plenty of cultural immersion.

But Wait, Where’s Jordan Located?

Jordan is located in the geographic region known as the Middle East and shares borders with Israel, Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.

map-middle-east-jordan

What are Three Fun Facts About Jordan?

  • 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 U.S., the UK, and several nearby countries, and belongs to the United Nations.
  • The shores of the Dead Sea, in the northwest of Jordan, are the lowest spots on Earth’s surface.
Shores of the Dead Sea.

What’s Jordanian Food Like?

As a vegetarian, I will be completely set for delicious foodie delights in Jordan. Although Jordan is 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, baba ganoush, pita bread—and that’s just a start! I loved the cuisine in Jordan so much after I visited that I shared an entire vegetarian food guide to the Middle East!

I developed a deep love for manakish for breakfast!

How Do You Get to Jordan

Given the conflict in the region, it’s best to fly into Amman. I used Royal Jordanian Airlines from Bangkok, which offered a direct flight to Amman, Jordan’s capital (and the country’s largest city for the trivia inclined).

Okay, I may have fibbed a bit about the twenty questions, there are fewer than that! But that should cover the most pressing questions about Jordan for now!


I worked with the Jordan Tourism Board to travel to Jordan—the experiences, photos, and stories are my own. :)

47 thoughts on “A Little Update… Twenty Questions, Jordan Style”

  1. 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!

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  2. 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!

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

      Reply
  3. 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!

    Reply
    • 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! :)

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

      Reply
  4. 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.

    Reply
    • 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!). :)

      Reply
  5. 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!

    Reply
    • 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. :)

      Reply
  6. 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.

    Reply
    • 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 :)

      Reply
  7. 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. :)

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  8. 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!

    Reply
    • 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?! :)

      Reply
      • 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!

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

    Reply
    • 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 :)

      Reply
    • 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 :)

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

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

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

    Reply
    • 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! :)

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

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

      Reply
  13. 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. :)

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply

Leave a Comment