Here are some notes and photos of Jordan.
I remember the precise moment I fell in love with Jordan.
Seeds of those emotions had already started taking root from the very first day I arrived into the sleepy border town of Umm Qais in Northern Jordan.
Considering where I was going, I was tense. I could see Israel, Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon out in the distance all at once. Regions with long painful histories.
But as quiet filled the air while the sun set over those seemingly border-less lands, locals sat on balconies enjoying the ambiance, and I began to relax. There was a rejuvenating sense in watching the day slowly slip away, making room for a new one as we all basked in that golden glow.
Those seeds began to sprout into seedlings as we hopped into pickup trucks and rode deeper into the Dana Reserve in the heart of the country. Away from lights and pollution to watch the sun set over rocks with acacia trees silhouetted against its burning light. Visually transforming barren land into vibrant panoramas.
But that love deepened in The Valley of the Moon… In the heart of Wadi Rum as we scrambled up rocks and cliff edges to watch the sun once again take her leave. Observing the sand around me transform into orange ochre, following the light as it danced across sandstone mountains, I was placed squarely into a vibrant oil painting.
It was the warmth of the sun that made me fall in love with Jordan.
The way it flowed over the landscape, rendering it all so breathtakingly beautiful that I was overwhelmed.
So I closed my eyes in reverence and received its rays with a heart filled with gratitude.
We travelers often tout the hospitality of the locals as one of the reasons why we love a place. Regarding Jordan for me, the warmth of the sun so fiercely matches the warmth of its people that one can’t help but leave transformed in some way.
Maybe it’s because Jordan has been a crossroad for so many cultures and peoples that we foreigners are regarded and acknowledged as brothers and sisters first, before treated as outsiders.
Maybe it’s because Jordan has helped and continues to help so many refugees in their current plight.
Maybe it’s because Jordan has such holy land with lots of biblical ties that one feels like they are literally treading on sacred ground.
But one thing’s for sure… Jordan has captured my heart.
I recently wrote about my experience exploring Northern Jordan for Adventure.com which you can read here – Beyond Petra: Hiking borderlands and finding community in northern Jordan.
While Jordan has unfortunately been caught amidst Middle East tensions, it remains one of the safest countries to visit in the region and is a fascinating place to explore.
From hiking the Yarmouk Nature Reserve with views of Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria in the distance, learning local crafts such as basket weaving and beekeeping in the sleepy village of Umm Qais, exploring the ruins at Gadara, trekking and hiking through iconic Petra, floating in the Dead Sea, visiting remote ecolodges in the Dana Nature Reserve, drinking tea with local Bedouin nomads, exploring the deserts of Wadi Rum, and visiting the seaside town of Aqaba, with many stops in-between.
Here is my visual love story to Jordan.
I was visiting Jordan as part of Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA)’s AdventureNEXT Program and traversed the entire length of the country with Amman-based company Experience Jordan; one which I highly recommend (see practicalities below).
Here are some of my personal favourite photos of Jordan.
Experience Jordan runs adventure and experiential tours around the region which take you off the beaten path to see everyday lifestyles and experience the destination deeply.
Here are some of their signature tours that take you from North to South while trying your hand at cooking classes, dinning and staying with locals, and much more… including, of course, visiting iconic Petra and Wadi Rum.
More photos of Jordan in my image bank
I explored Jordan as hosted media for the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s AdventureNEXT program in collaboration with Experience Jordan.