Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How traveling to Jordan changed my perspective of the Middle East

So for my work I get to travel to Latin America and open up offices.  An opportunity arose for me to go to Jordan and they asked me if I was willing to go.  Without hesitation of course I said YES! I mean it’s not every day you get a paid trip to the Middle East. When the time came for me to actually get on the plane I'm not gonna lie, I was nervous, scared, and excited.

I was nervous because for the first time I was going to a country where I didn’t speak the language. It’s amazing how being bilingual you can actually go to a huge part of the world and still be able to communicate, but Jordan was my first country where I knew nothing, nada, zip, ZERO! I was scared because A) It’s neighbor is Syria and B) the media doesn’t always show you the good and positive of the Middle East. I didn’t know how safe I was going to feel in Jordan. But overall I was EXCITED because I was going to a culture that has always fascinated me and that I wanted to learn more about.

When I arrived in Jordan, to my surprise, a large population actually speaks English! Hallelujah! So communicating to people was actually not that difficult. Second thing I noticed, there were a lot of restaurants and stores we have in America.  Examples: Dairy Queen, Popeye’s Fried Chicken, McDonalds, Ashley Furniture, Ikea, to name a few.  So this made me feel at ease.

The media has a way of putting Middle-Easterns in a group of harmful people but I was actually in the wrong to assume most of them were.  It’s like when I tell people I’m Colombian, they automatically assume Pablo Escobar, narcos, drugs and that is not what Colombia is all about.  So by being able to talk to them, share a meal with them, being submerged in their culture, I realized that I shouldn’t assume all Middle-Easterns are part of that group.

Jordan has so much to offer that I encourage everyone to visit them if you ever get the opportunity. I will say the thing I loved the most were the people.  The people of Jordan were some of the nicest people I have ever met!  They are cordial, sweet, caring, very much like any other person in the world.  One of the girls who was hosting me gave me her wallet that had a bow on it because I told her I loved bows! I mean she literally took all her stuff out of it and told me to have it so I would remember her. The gentleman that took me to Petra gave me the long route back to be able to show me the Jordan valley and Dead Sea.  These were the sort of things that changed my perspective. It made me realize that I should never judge a book by its cover. Cliche, I know, but so true!

Of course being in Jordan one of the must sees is Petra.   I stayed at the Sheraton Hotel and used their front desk tour guides.  It was a bit over priced by booking through the hotel but it was awesome because I paid for a car all day plus a tour guide to drive you from Amman to Petra and back.  I also felt safe which is always a plus! It was about a two-hour drive to the entrance of Petra and an hour hike to The Treasury. It is literally one of a kind! I would never go sick tho lol Unfortunately, I had a major cold and really struggled finishing the hike but I absolutely loved learning all the history of Petra with a tour guide. I recommend bringing something to cover your head and face because it can shield you from the dust and hot sun.    

I stayed in Jordan for ten days and I can say I never felt unsafe. It is most definitely one of my favorite countries I have visited. I do plan on going back to Jordan someday with my family because there is so much to see!  I missed out on swimming in the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum, Red Sea and Roman Amphitheater.  But why I want to take my family there is because I want to show them that we should never judge a book by its cover.  The people from Jordan are sweet, kind, caring, sharing just like anybody else and the country itself has so much to explore that you should really add it to your must see places.

Well like always remember to dream big, be brave, and explore life!  

Check out my YouTube video to Jordan!


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