Our guest blogger Matthew Teller shares his insights into what to expect when visiting Jordan from the obvious to the less-considered.
That’s one big thing to expect in Jordan.
But there’s a few others, too.
You could expect a completely unique afternoon in a totally unvisited low-income neighbourhood of East Amman hanging out with local kids, having them teach you how to make their own special kites – and then going up with them at sunset to fly those kites off the highest hill for miles around.
Or how about expecting to meet a group of rural women in a small village in the green hills of northern Jordan, and learning from them the art of Arabic calligraphy, using traditional all-natural inks and bamboo quills?
You should definitely expect stunning panoramic views over the biblical landscapes of the Sea of Galilee – and equally incredible vistas over the Dead Sea from the mountain summit where Moses saw the Promised Land.
But then who expects to be able to walk alone, in the hush of dawn, through the eroded canyon of the Siq to enter Petra in silence?
Most people come to Jordan expecting – what? Natural drama? Epic landscapes? A sense of wonder? Sand?
Or to sit round a fire in a tent made of goat-hair, miles from the nearest road, and be served hand-roasted, hand-ground, hand-brewed coffee, as an expression of rural welcome and hospitality?
Yep, Jordan’s deserts at Feynan and Wadi Rum have that.
But you can expect something else, too. A sort of desert-only something. As a wise person once said to me: “The first thing people do when they come to the desert is try to change it. Then it changes them.”
One last thing. All this stuff doesn’t happen on every tour to Jordan. In fact, all this stuff doesn’t happen on ANY tour to Jordan. Except the one I’m leading.
And I’m only leading one. This is it.
Matthew Teller is a freelance journalist and travel writer, specialising in the Middle East. His first big adventure was a family holiday to Jerusalem aged 11 – even today, the smell of cumin takes him straight back there. Since then, he’s lived and worked around the Middle East, had dinner with the Queen, been thrown off a train on the Polish-German border for having no shoes, lived in a self-built shack on the beach at Tel Aviv, sampled warm milk fresh from the camel in Saudi Arabia, driven across the US, hitch-hiked from Morocco to Paris in 22 hours straight, been blessed while sitting on a holy shaking wall in the Punjab and had many other adventures of the kind travel writers always boast about. He lives in the UK and tries to keep his website matthewteller.com and his blog quitealone.com reasonably up to date.