From East Tennessee To The Middle East: Our Journey To Jordan


From East Tennessee To The Middle East: Our Journey To Jordan

If you had told a much younger version of me that one day I would be leaving East Tennessee to take a trip to the Middle East, there is no way I would have believed you. But, here I am sharing our journey to a country that many people in this area are likely very unfamiliar with.

This summer, our family embarked on a journey to Jordan.

You may ask, why Jordan? Honestly, I had never even heard of Jordan until I met my husband many years ago and definitely wouldn’t have been able to point it out on a map. My husband has family there, and while this was not our first time visiting Jordan, our trip this summer was one for the books. Just to give you an idea of the size of Jordan, it’s a little bit smaller than Ohio. We spent the majority of our time in the capital, Amman, which has a population of around 2.3 million people. So, it’s a small country with a lot of people! Jordan is also one of the most modern Middle Eastern countries.

I feel like many people have some misconceptions about the Middle East, so I’m going to share with you all of the good things about traveling to this gem of a country:


Who doesn’t like to eat? Of course, if you know anything about Middle Eastern cuisine, you know it’s amazing. From falafel to hummus to shawarma to baklava, you can find these common foods on almost every street corner. But, you can also find almost any food you could ever imagine in the capital city of Amman. The variety of food available there is wild. They have so many restaurants that offer so many options; no matter what you are craving, you will be able to find it: wings, pizza, pasta, burgers, barbecue, ribs, seafood, sushi, sandwiches, ice cream, crepes, I could go on and on. The variety of flavors and options is unreal. Most restaurants are open until 2am or later, and they ALL deliver. Basically, you have access to all types of food at almost any given time. And the best part is that I never had a bad meal there.


This might be the most appealing part of Jordan. Anyone who works in a service industry, takes their job seriously. If you need to do laundry, you can take it to the cleaners and there is a 24-hour turnaround with delivery to your house. Also, I bought a dress, got it hemmed, and delivered to my sister-in-law’s house all within 24 hours. They have bathroom workers at every public place and these workers clean constantly. They seriously clean the stalls after each use. At restaurants, if you are sitting outside, they will bring you a blanket because it gets a little cool at night there in the summer. In addition, at restaurants when you order a lot of appetizer-type foods to be shared, the servers put the food on your plate for you. If you are unsatisfied with anything, they will bring you something else without question. If you are like me, I hate telling a server that my order isn’t what I expected or that my order isn’t right. In Jordan, you don’t have to be shy about it because they always put customers first and want them to have a good experience, no matter what the service is.


There are many things to see and do in Jordan. While we mostly stayed in Amman, the country has other attractions to visit. First is the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth, which is only a 30 minute drive from the capital. It’s close enough for a day trip or you can plan an overnight visit. We chose to stay overnight at one of the five-star resorts and had direct access to the Dead Sea for mud baths and floating.

Next up is Petra, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the filming location for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. This is an archeological site that requires a lot of walking in the heat, but my kids rode horses, mules and camels to cut back on some of the walking. Petra is about three hours south of Amman.

Another two hour drive from Petra, you will be in Wadi Rum, also known as The Valley of the Moon. This is a beautiful desert with amazing rock formations and also the filming location for Star Wars and Aladdin. Wadi Rum is known for its luxury Bedouin tent camps and sunset jeep tours. It’s definitely a cultural experience and was my favorite part of our trip.

If you drive one more hour south, you will be in Aqaba, which is a beach city on the gulf of the Red Sea. Here you can participate in all kinds of water sports, sunbathe on the beach, or even play golf. The resorts here are top notch and include multiple restaurants and pools. We only stayed one night, but if we had more time, we definitely would have stayed longer. From here, it’s a four hour drive back to Amman and you will drive the entire length of the Dead Sea, an absolutely beautiful drive!

There are many more wonderful things about Jordan, including huge shopping malls in the capital city, beauty and nail salons everywhere (they take self-care to another level), and they also know how to throw parties that are actually kid friendly (even though they may not end until 2:30am). My son did not want to come home and begged us to let him stay longer.

If you ever have the opportunity to travel to Jordan, I highly recommend it! I know that we will be going back sooner rather than later.


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