This Travel Company Is Making The Middle East Accessible Again - http://travelporn.info | luxury travel sitesApril 15, 2018 5:22 pm
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There’s always been one place I’ve wanted to go to above all others. Ever since my father showed me the Indiana Jones films at age 10, I’ve associated Petra, in Jordan, with spirit and adventure. Indiana Jones shaped my early childhood dreams. I too wanted to travel the world in search of fact. (Not truth. If truth is what you’re interested in, Dr. Tyree’s philosophy class is right down the hall.) I harbored this dream up until early high school, when my careers counselor wisely reminded me that archaeologists spend most of their time in a library, not searching for treasure in far-off, exotic locations.
So I did the next best thing: I became a writer. I could still travel the world and hopefully, get the chance to occasionally stumble into my own Indy-style adventure.
Last month, I did just that. I went to the Middle East for the first time, and in doing so, fulfilled a lifelong dream.
I’d heard a lot about a boutique travel company called Wild Frontiers. Started by a former rock star-turned-writer, Jonny Bealby, the company promised something different to other boutique agencies: the experience of roads less traveled. That means places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Jordan. Not many travel agencies have the balls to pull off tours to these places, much less the expertise. I did my research. Bealby spent years traveling the Middle East. He has contacts there. Friends. The tour guides he employs are all locals. His groups are small. Where possible, groups stay in the homes of these friends, instead of hotels. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive: many of Wild Frontiers’ customers seem to return, year after year.
Last month, I flew to Amman to meet my tour group. Our tour leader, Carly, had spent almost a decade living in Syria. She had friends and acquaintances in every part of the Middle East. She greeted our small group (nine in total) at a small hotel outside Amman. She introduced us to our local tour guide, Suhaib, who lives in Amman and spends most of his time on the road trying to keep up with the recent surge in Jordanian tourism.
We spent the next ten days traveling across the country, from busy, colorful Amman to the wild expanse of the Wadi Rum desert. We visited the Roman ruins at Jerash, a wonderfully preserved archaeological site. We hiked for six hours through a deep canyon. We swam in the Dead Sea, spent the night with a host family in the mountains, and visited medieval castles. We camped in the desert, took stargazing lessons, and played with goats at a Bedouin camp. And of course, we visited Petra, spending two whole glorious days exploring the ancient city of the Nabataeans.
I fell in love with Jordan. Not just with its natural beauty, but with its people. Jordanians are generous in spirit and overwhelmingly hospitable. I felt welcome everywhere I went. I could have happily spent another month, or three, roaming the Jordanian countryside, camping with the Bedouin and eating homemade hummus.
I recently spoke to Bealby about how – and why – he started Wild Frontiers.