As I sit here and wait for my day to start in 30 min. to go hike in the lost city of Petra, I thought I'd try preface my trip to Jordan with Columbia Sportswear. I don't know how many posts I'll end up writing about Jordan, but this topic needs to be mentioned exclusively from everything else we've done, or will do. To me, I think this may be one of the HUGEST misconceptions about Jordan, and I want to do my part to set the record straight.
“The Middle East (Near East) is not one big country.”
Westerners, myself included, tend to lump all countries in the Near/Middle East together as if they were one big dysfunctional family. This is exactly what I thought.
“What's the difference between Syria, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, or Israel?”
Sure, different countries, different rulers, different religions, but in the end, “it's all same but different.”
After having been in Jordan for just 6 days, the people of Jordan have completely blown me away and made me realize this region truly is individualistic.
In Amman, I felt completely safe walking down the street at night. In Jerash, we were constantly bombarded by Jordanian children eager to get their pictures taken. In the downtown market, I got countless smiles and thumbs-ups for wearing the Jordanian scarf. The people have been nothing but amazing. Always smiling. Always willing to try speak in English. Always ready to accommodate as best as they can.
I was also not sure what to expect in terms of the presence of religion in the day-to-day interactions with the Jordanians. This has less to do with Jordanians, and more to do with me never experiencing an Islamic culture. I'm quite aware of the stereotypes people of the U.S. hold of Muslims, and I absolutely did not bring any of those biases with me. And yet, I am elated those stereotypes are all completely based of a few terrible examples.
The people here are simply just people. People that love their country. People trying to make a living. Happy. And incredibly welcoming.
The biggest and most pleasant surprise has been the smiling faces and nonstop humor. Our tour guide, all of our hosts, vendors, and even random people we talk to in the market all try to make us laugh. They all have stories (including running around naked if you encounter a hyena). They all have experiences. They all want to share them with you. And in the end, it doesn't matter what language you speak or what God you believe in. The people of Jordan, are truly amazing.
Don’t Miss Your Chance
I was stuck in Corporate America for 9 years. I was miserable.
Then I took control.
You can too, and it starts right here.