“Live your life by a compass not a clock.” – Stephen Covey
And so we did!
Now there are always some places that hold a special place in your heart; for us, it was Jordan. Having thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful drive through this gorgeous country in the year 2017 & 2018, we were eagerly awaiting our turn to explore it again during the Jordan Expedition – 2019.
We began our journey in the stunning capital city of Amman. With a full day at our disposal, we had an incredible time touring this Middle Eastern city like a true local while discovering everything from scrumptious food to spectacular Roman ruins.
Everyone amongst us succumbed to the view and went camera crazy as we explored the ancient remains of the majestic Citadel and the Roman Theatre downtown. Having gorged upon ‘the best’ falafel and hummus at Hashem, we ended the day on a sweetly decadent note by indulging in some mouth-watering kunafaat Habibah.
Had any of us even imagined a better beginning to our expedition? Most definitely not!
The next morning heralded an adventure like none other. Post a quick briefing session, we were given charge of our specially arranged Land Cruisers – locked and loaded for an experience to remember. Meandering on the King’s Highway – undoubtedly one of the most scenic and historic roads in the world – the sight of our Land Cruisers romancing those vintage slopes was just exceptional.
After a night of utter bliss, we continued the next morning towards the ‘Valley of the Moon’ – Wadi Rum Desert. Described in the classic motion picture Lawrence of Arabia as a “vast, echoing and moon like landscape”, Wadi Rum forces you to sit up and take notice while making you aware of the very bedrock of your being. During our two days of glamping here, we all took turns to drive around and take in its dramatic red sandstone terrain while feasting our eyes upon ethereal sunrise and sunset spectacles.
The desert of Wadi Rum is a Hollywood favourite, with films like The Last Days on Mars, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and The Martian shot here amidst others. To partake in the tradition, we too decided it was time to pose like an astronaut (Matt Damon) stranded on Mars.
Next up was the much-awaited visit to the lost city of Petra. One of the new Seven Wonders of the World, the breathtaking hand-carved architecture of the ‘Rose City’ tells the tale of a lost civilization in the most bewitching way possible. We ticked Petra off our bucket list in style. We visited this wonder twice; once to explore it during the day and then again at night as it stood in silent beauty, lit by the brilliance of 1,500 candles, the moon and the stars.
After having had our fill of renowned architectural gems, we hit the road for one last time on the expedition to reach our final destination – the Dead Sea. We drove through the Dead Sea Highway, parts of which are approximately 350 metres below sea level, with some truly remarkable scenery for company. While the drive was enough to keep our interest piqued, our picnic lunch this day was also something we were all ardently looking forward to. While all our picnic lunches were planned at unique locations, this one was at a spot directly overlooking the Dead Sea.
Sometimes all it takes to reach a new high is to dive low, which in this case was literally the lowest point on earth.
Continuing our journey onward, we took a short detour and made our way to Mount Nebo, the site of Moses’ tomb. At this popular pilgrimage site, we witnessed the panoramic views of the holy land and one of the most beautiful sunsets in Jordan.
Upon reaching our destination, we handed over the keys to our beloved Land Cruisers and retired for the day. Next day, it was time for some highly-deserved rest and relaxation. Each one of us grabbed a handful of the famously therapeutic mud that lines the banks of the Dead Sea, smeared it on our body and waded into the intense blue water, only to find that it was possible to defy gravity and float here without needing to know how to swim. It was intensely surreal bobbing on top of the water and posing for shots à la Instagram celebrities.
Our last day in Jordan culminated in peals of heartfelt laughter, impassioned conversations and overflowing bubbly as the participants were handed their certificates. One person who managed to carve a place in all of our hearts was our local guide Moayyad, who looked nothing short of royalty dressed in dishdasha (traditional Jordanian dress) as everyone took turns to get their photos clicked with him.
Jordan was many things for us; it was first a revelation, then an indulgence and lastly an unforgettable memory that will continue to warm our hearts for many years to come.