When I first went on a Jordan travel adventure two years ago, my imagination was filled with images of war, societal oppression, destruction, anti-Semitism, and a people hostile to Americans. This was fed by my own ignorance of the area, and frankly, by my own government and news media.
But, upon landing in Amman, I immediately realized Jordan is NOT what I had been watching on TV. I had already known this about other countries in which I lived: Bahrain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Rather that situating it in the Middle east, I like to refer to Jordan as the Near East, because it is just over the border from Israel.
Jordan Immediately Captured My Heart and Has Never Let Go.
My cultural journey there the first time introduced me to some of the riches the country holds, far beyond its capital city and Petra.
There’s the Roman ruins of Jerash, more complete than anywhere in the world- and more to be uncovered. USAID and Brown University are doing archeological work here.
There are Crusader and defender castles.
There are the etchings on the red sandstone cliff walls in the Wadi Rum of nomadic caravans that once traversed the region.
Jordan Travel Is Keeping Tourism Monies In Local Communities
At a recent conference held by the Adventure Travel Trade Association, of which I am a member, I discovered Jordan is leading the region in projects to keep tourism monies in the local communities through all sorts of social enterprises from local guides to cottage industries. And for travelers who love cultural immersion, there is nothing better.
The recently completed Jordan Trail, for example, links remote communities and areas where not only are you afforded wonderful vistas and natural interaction, but also a people to people connection that cannot be “created” as an off-the-shelf experience; your interaction is with those souls you happen to meet up with along the way- shepherds, villagers, day walkers.
Jordan Travel: Protecting Historical Sites and Natural Treasures
Jordan, while it welcomes all travelers, is also working in preparation for more to come. The country has put a high priority on protecting its sites and natural treasures, which thrills me to no end; there is so much ancient history, religious significance and natural wonders there for such a small country! One particular treasure is Feynan Ecolodge in the Dana Biosphere Reserve, one of the top ecolodges in the world, and a “must” for families travel to Jordan and those who seek the luxury of true adventure.
Jordan is leading the Near East region in sustainable projects to keep tourism monies in local communities through social enterprise. Click To Tweet
And, outdoor pursuits abound in Jordan, from walks and hiking, to biking, kayaking, mountaineering, diving, spelunking, climbing- you name it, it can be done here. The natural landscape is a heaven for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels.
Still not convinced? Let me give you, then, my raw honest report from my most recent Jordan travels.
JORDAN IS A COUNTRY OF:
- Extreme beauty, not extremism. The landscape varies from lush green to dun desert to multicolored rock formations.
- Friendliness and tolerance. A thousand cups of tea invitations and more formal coffee ceremonious occasions. Cities of commingled Christians and Muslims. Seen: A group of religious Jewish men at ease in city streets and at airport.
- Filled with history, culture and outdoor adventure. Oldest known human settlement recently found. Holy Land sites (the Baptism location, Mount Nebo, Aaron’s tomb, the place of John the Baptist beheading, the cave Mary the mother of Jesus rested in, to name but a few). Hiking trails from north to south and in all areas in between. Biking adventures. Stunning wadis (canyons) to explore. Mountain paths in fields of flowers, or sand and rocks. Shepherds to meet along the way. A Bedouin family to share a meal or cups of tea. Diving in the Red Sea.
That is the real Jordan, a stable, generous and kind friend to the world. Come now on this Jordan travel trip and enjoy. Their greeting is “You are welcome”.
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