My backpackers guide to Jordan

This is my first backpackers guide. So feel free to leave feedback and let me know what you think. Also I want to keep things relatively short and share some key insights into my experience in Jordan. This is also my first time in the Middle East and a trip I won’t forget.

The People: I’m going to give you my thoughts on the people in general. For starters you’re going to be safe. Jordan is a safe country so you don’t need to worry about being in danger with terrorist activities. The locals are very welcoming ( Literally at times the only word they say is “welcome”) and genuine. It’s easy to get food and walk around without any hassles. With that said, anyone there who deals with with tourist on a regular bases such as taxi’s, local guides, and even hostels only want one thing from you…money. They will put on a smile on their face to seem genuine if it means they will get more of it. Now you might say “Well this is the case all over the world”. Well of course it is, but I have never seen it like this. Keep in mind Jordan is also a very expensive country. 1 or 2 of their currency is about 4 US dollars. So it can add up very quickly if you are not smart in dealing with the locals.

Getting around: Take the bus as much as you can. Luckily Jordan is a small country. So getting a bus to most places is usually easy. Most long distance buses will cost 5-10 JD. Taxi’s WILL try to screw you over. Know that now before getting into Amman. They will always quote you 10JD for a distance that should be 1 or 2 JD. Always negotiate with them and be stern. Plenty of other taxis that can take you. When you first fly into Amman, you can take a bus for 3JD into town. Don’t take a taxi. They will try and charge 25JD. The bus will drop you off far from downtown (old town). There you can get a taxi to your hotel/ hostel. The taxi there should be no more than 3-5JD not 10JD. Once in Amman, you can take the bus to most of the places worth going to except the Dead Sea. This you will need to figure out, by either renting a car or joining someone who has a car(that’s what I did). You could rent a car. I believe it’s between 20-25JD a day plus gas. In my opinion, I believe it’s not much cheaper to not rent if you’re planning on driving a lot. So if you want the convenience then do that.

Scams: Anytime you deal with tourists, you’re going to have scams. One major one is in Petra itself. You’re going to find guys at the entrance who are going to offer you horse rides for free. DONT DO IT!!!! They will give you some BS about it being free because they are paid by the government. It’s all talk to get you on the horse. Once it’s over, they will “request” a tip of 5-20JD. Then threaten police if you don’t pay. Save yourself the hassle and just don’t get on the horse.  A second scam is in Wadi Musa (next to Petra) where if you are going to Wadi Rum ( A very popular tourist attraction), you will be approached by many local people to do it through them. Many times they will try and have you cancel what you already have to go to Wadi Rum and rebook through a “friend” of theirs. Promising a more local feel and going to places that most tourist don’t get to see for a much cheaper price. Technically they are correct. They will take you somewhere that is not Wadi Rum. Stick to your guns and just say you’re not interested.

Food: You can eat cheap with Kabobs and enjoy local tea. Otherwise food can also be expensive. Try and stay away from large tourist restaurants. They will serve for 7-10JD. Some good local Kabab will cost less than half a JD. Most local food places won’t cost more than 5JD. However, be aware! if they don’t have prices already on the menu, then I would suggest just leaving. Since you can probably assume they are going to give you the high tourist price. Overall the food is great! Oh and many good sweets! ( I have a sweet tooth at times).

That’s where I’m going to leave it. Overall, I enjoyed the experience with Jordan being a beautiful country in regards to the deserts. You can find some genuine good local people. Those were the moments I enjoyed the most. Hope this guide helps!


The Art of Kindness

One of the best qualities of happiness is genuine kindness. Feeling it in your soul then bringing it out to the world around you. If you’re not a happy person then it’s simply not possible. It will come across as “fake” and others will notice. One of the keys for me is not is not to try and understand the person. Only that people are human and we all have our struggles through life . Being the your best you as much as possible is not easy, but when it becomes genuine. Then it doesn’t feel like it’s draining you, but giving you energy. Looking deep into your inner kind self not only sends out that energy, it also attracts that kind of energy. I’m going to share two stories that happened over yesterday and today while traveling through Jordan that I feel highlight both point of views.
In terms of attracting kindness. Yesterday myself and two new Spanish friends needed help getting from Jerash to Amman. Yesterday was also Friday ( the US version of Sunday). Basically, not everything will be open and buses may not be running. We decided to hire a private car going back. Everything was going great until we got a flat tire a little over halfway to Amman. There was a local passenger in the car who offered to help us get another taxi. We agreed and next thing you know, we are all on our way. The taxi then stopped at an office and the local gets out. Problem is that we are still no where near where we need to be and the taxi wanted a lot of money to get us there. So we got out and the next thing you know the local from the taxi starts helping us to get other transport to our destination. Other local buses were near by and those drivers then starting helping us as well. Even though they couldn’t speak a lot of English. We were still able to understand between all of them. We got into a small bus and ultimately got to our destination. Is was  amazing to see the locals do everything they could to help us and then seeing the smile on their faces when they knew we were starting to understand. The kindness from the local Jordanian people has blown me away. Everyone here all says “welcome to Jordan” with a smile on their face. 🙂

The other side of it happened this morning, but started yesterday. I met this older woman yesterday before I left for Jerash at the hostel. I was trying to get instructions on how to get there from one of the workers and this woman starts talking in a rude tone. I didn’t appreciate it and eventually just tuned her out. She ended up walking away. The next morning I see her with a smile on my face. I let yesterday go and started joking with her. Everyone has their battles and I didn’t want to pretend I knew hers. She then began talking to me and I listened with 100% attention. What I got was amazing! She ended up telling me her fascinating life story. Not only that but her world prospective and views of life in general. I was very intrigued and ended up really enjoying the talk. At the end I said thank you for your time and she replied “Thank you for listening”.


The Art of the Unplanned

One of the best things travel has taught me is “going with the flow”. I can’t tell you how many times through a trip where things that you just didn’t see coming happen and now you have to adjust. One of the most important things I can get across in this post is to never freak out when things go wrong! Use that energy to think of solutions and ways to either get out of the bind or work with it. Just like with life, in travel things don’t go exactly according to plan. We are so afraid of random situations sometimes because it’s about as unknown as can get. In fact, I believe it’s one of the main reasons people don’t travel. We use excuses like money and time. however, if you want it bad enough. You will find the money and time. Ultimately we like routines because we already know the end result. However, we can’t grow as an individual if we are only exposing ourselves to the same experiences. This leads to my latest story in China and how random usually leads to a story to tell afterwards.

Sky Plank on Huashan Mountain has been a dream of mine for years. I saw a video a few years ago and have been obsessed to go myself. Luckily, I’ve lately been going to China for work and knew I could do this. First I had to get a bullet train to Xi’an from Beijing. I was going to stay there for three days ( very happy I did). Anyway, the first couple of days saw bad weather. No problem, I just did other activities around the city. On the last day, the weather is great. The problem is I messed up! Just as a tip, always have your passport when getting any train transport around China. I forgot mine when getting my bullet train ticket to Huashan and it cost me precious hours having to go back and get it. I still made it to the mountain by 1:30pm. I hustled hard to get up and was one of the last people to the Sky Plank…now getting back down was a different story. With the mountain now closed, it was time to head back down in the dark. Befriending a couple also in the same boat ended up being a life saver. It took a few hours to get down (That was a journey in itself). Then getting a taxi to the train station was also a challenge but we were lucky enough to get the last train back to Xi’an. Only problem is we’ll be getting in at 1:30am (turns out it would 3am) since the train got stuck. Then getting back having to haggle with a taxi to my hosts apartment at 4am only to get up a few hours later to head back to Beijing. Now I could’ve decided it was not worth the hassle when I forgot my passport. However, now I have a story and new friends that will be with me for the rest of my life. The point is to introduce random in your life as much as possible. It will not only build confidence in yourself. You’ll gain a new appreciation for life with everyday being a possible adventure.

The Art of Attraction 

        The life you live is the one you attract. Your past is not what defines you, but what you think about most is who you are. “As you think, so shall you be”. What you see all around you is what you wanted in some form or fashion. Now I know life is very different for everyone and in no way am I judging your life for good or bad. Most of what happens to us is outside of our control. Bad or good things happen to us. What determines everything is what we do about those events that lead to our future. It’s important to always be grateful for what we want. I’ll explain that further. The dream for me is to become a full time traveler. Even though I’m starting on the path of becoming one. It’s important for me to see myself as a full time traveler and being grateful for having that lifestyle. What does your dream lifestyle feel like to you? What part of that life would you feel grateful for? What part of your life can you relate right now to your dream life? This is all a part of the attraction I’m referring to. What you attract comes from what you’re most grateful for. The best example I can give of this is Oprah. She had every excuse in the book to give up. If you’re not familiar with her history then, I highly recommend looking into it. However, she pushed forward and became one of the biggest influences in the world today. Not everyone is dealt the same cards at the beginning of life. It’s how we play those cards that makes all the difference. A key to that is becoming grateful for all the good and bad. You may ask “Why the bad as well?”. Because the bad is usually what motivates us for change. It’s what leads to action. If everything is rainbows then why would we ever be motivated to change anything. What you attract deep down is what you have control over and that is something you can change starting right now.  
5 years ago I started traveling and have not looked back since. Other than to reflect with a smile. Traveling has changed me in ways I would’ve never thought possible and it continues to do so. Every journey teaches me something about myself and the world. What I’m grateful for are the people I’ve met, and the experiences I have shared with them. This is what continues to attract me to traveling. This is something I had to sit down and determine what it is about travel that has me obsessed to wanting it more than anything. So it’s critical that you do the same. Motivation and drive are lost in generalities. Be as specific as you can and what is it about those aspects that attract you to that. Knowing the what and why’s will continue to keep you motivated with a clear picture in mind. The only way to see this is to sit down and think in a quite space. It gives you the ultimate freedom for your thoughts to go and wonder without interruption. This is when true growth and realization occurs. That’s why I highly recommend meditation when possible. Personally I get up at 5:45 every morning to do this for 15 minutes. It’s probably the most important 15 minutes of the day. This gives me focus and direction for my future which then motivates my actions. Next week I will start on a five week journey through Europe and Jordan. I’m excited for what’s to come as dreams will be realized and I’m sure new ones will be made. Live your life to the fullest and you’ll never be disappointed in the outcome. 

The Art of the Vision

Something I’ve been getting more into is seeing yourself living the life you want live. I’m currently in China and one of the things I’ve been doing more of is meditating on my future life. Years ago the gaol was to get paid to travel. Even though I’m not a full time traveler yet, it’s now beginning to happen. A path is finally starting to develop in front of me. A lot of the time we give up because things are not going our way. I’m here to tell you to not give up. It’s been years and now things are starting to happen. So it takes time and developing yourself along the way. I’m right now writing this in a train station and being paid!

The best part about learning to develop your vision is it’s not limited to anything. You limit your vision. Let me repeat that, YOU LIMIT YOUR VISION. It’s very important you see and understand this. You have all the power. Whether it’s a good or a bad thing. You want to make it the best thing for your life because it’s very easy to go in a negative direction with it. It’s important to have positive thoughts and easy ways to tap into them when things are going bad. One way to do this is to watch inspirational videos. It may sound like BS, however it works! It’s very important to always feed yourself with positive messages and this kind of media is instrumental in doing so.

The last thing I want to end on is no matter what happens around you, the only thing you have 100% control over is how you respond. Anger and frustration will only give you momentary satisfaction with possible long term consequences. When negative things happen, fall back to your vision of what you want your life to be. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself and for your future. I genuinely hope this post helps you in attaining the life you deserve. Always keep in mind that life is a journey. It’s up to you to enjoy what you discover along the way. 🙂


The Art of Appreciation 

In life it’s very easy to lose sight of all the things going for us. It’s almost human nature to only focus on all the wrong things. Even when their are many more things going right. Life could be so much worst and most of us don’t need to worry about the next meal or where to get available clean water. Ultimately we all have only so much time on this planet and you can choose to either focus on the good or the negative. The one thing I want to get across is first understanding that your biggest enemy will always be you. Even when times are great and especially when they are tough. Looking at all the good in your life,  no matter how small. Can be the bump to get you back in the right direction. 

 I recently came back from China on work and started looking at what next. I see people doing so much. It motivates me to get up and go. Now many people would see others doing great things and use that to bring them down. This is where jealousy and hate usually come in. You begin to project on the person what you’re feeling on the inside. This is of course self destructive and will only lead to more harm on yourself. Even now, I’m essentially beginning to do what my dream is. Get paid to travel. The ultimate goal is to travel full time and that will come with working to make it happen. Even then, negative thoughts still sneak into my mind. No one is perfect and admitting that to yourself is a major step in the right direction. Nothing kills the right motivation then using jealousy for either revenge or a release of negative energy. The right motivation comes from having appreciation for where you are now and knowing you can get to a better place. 

Sunset in Harbin China. Not many people get to even leave their own country let alone get paid for it. An appreciation that helps me flush out the negative thoughts. 

The Art of Humanity 

In life it’s very easy to look at a group of people and classify them all as either good or bad. Whether we are talking about race, religion, hobbies, and so on. I’m going to talk specifically about people in other countries. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my travels is how ultimately we are all the same. No matter where you’re from we all still want safety, water, and food. Of course there is a lot more involved, but that is basic human nature. All relationships you have are geared towards fulfilling these things. This shapes even our willingness to fit in society because that will usually lead to meeting these needs. This then leads to how our view can be shaped of different people from all over the world. It’s easier to look at a country and not like the government and in turn its people because it’s probably a view that you share with your society. I’ll give an example and this leads me into my travel story. 

I’m currently in China on work. Now before coming here, I was told that the people in general can’t be trusted. Even from other people who have worked here as well. Now don’t get me wrong, every country has its share of bad apples, but it doesn’t mean they are all rotten. At this point I’ve been to 25 other countries and am familiar, but still you go with an opinion because they have experienced it and you haven’t. Coming into China my guard was up. However, by treating everyone around me with dignity and respect. I have yet to come accross a bad situation. It’s truly amazing how far a smile and a laugh will go. Even if you can’t speak the same language. People will respond to you much better by treating them kindly. It sounds like common sense. In the world of traveling, even that can get lost though in the frustration and fear one can experience when lost or unable to communicate something basic. When you can take a step back and treat others kindly, then positive things begin to happen. Through all of this, my opinion has changed from one who viewed the Chinese people starting as negative to a very positive one. I’ve met people who wont even come to China because of how they view its people. The point of this blog post is to show you that we are truly the same. Don’t let the opinion of others mislead you into thinking otherwise. Go out, see for yourself and don’t forget to smile. 🙂