Middle Eastern countries have been getting a lot of media attention recently, but Jordan is thankfully not one of them.
Nestled right in between the tempestuous nations of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Israel and Palestine, as well as the almighty Saudi Arabia, you could be forgiven for assuming it wouldn’t really be considered a particularly safe part of the world right now.
Somehow though, Jordan has kept itself at a safe distance from the majority of wars, revolutions and terrorist activity in the area. Through it all, it has managed to remain open and welcoming to tourists and visitors.
Last year when I told my friends and family that I was planning to imminently visit the country, I could see the disapproval and fear in their faces. They thought I was being reckless, stupid and irresponsible. However, at the time – and still to this day – the only warning on the British government website was to warn against all but essential travel to within 3km of the Syrian border. Which, to be honest, is basic common sense. So of course, I figured there was no reason to worry.
And I was right.
Jordan itself remains an open, welcoming country full of wonders and excitement, beautiful, generous people and breath-taking sites. The kindness and generosity of the Jordanian people is astounding. I was advised by my Saudi Arabian friend that if it was anything like his home country, I, as a Western woman not being covered up, would be on the receiving end of a lot of harsh words and looks. It turns out that Jordan is not very much like Saudi in this respect.
People stared – of course people stared – but they were more inquisitive glances than accusatory glares. Elderly, respected men would greet us on the streets. Shop assistants would be more than accommodating to our needs. A complete stranger drove us all the way across the country on a 5 hour journey without wanting any payment (more on this to come in another post!). The people of Jordan are probably some of the most welcoming I have ever met, and I’d happily go back in a heartbeat.
Endless red sands, Indiana Jones, breath-taking architectural sites and lots and lots of camels.
These are the things that go hand-in-hand with any media representation of the country. Jordan definitely delivered these things, but it also gave up so so much more. My time in the country was short – only 9 days – but I have so much to say about it in upcoming posts.
Before travelling out there I searched and searched and searched for posts by people, particularly women, who had visited – alone or with friends. The posts I did find were extremely helpful, honest and beautifully written, but they weren’t particularly large in number.
So if anybody out there is hesitant as to whether or not to take the plunge, take my word on it and go. You will not regret a single second of it.