When I told people, that I would be travelling to the Middle East, they would let out a loud gasp before trying to convince me to change my plans. I travel the world not to tick countries off a list, but to experience and see the good in every country I go to. Often, the countries I visit have a bad reputation, so my mission is to find out what life is really like in these places.
The Middle East is consistently on the news. It seems like there is something new and outrageous happening in the Middle Eastern region daily, and I wanted to go see it for myself. I wanted to have my own experiences and my own opinions, and I wanted to meet the people there, eat food, and have amazing experiences.
My first port of call was Egypt where I worked with Travel Talk on one of their tours. Egypt has always been high on the bucket list for obvious reasons. The people were incredibly friendly and so eager to see tourists slowly coming back to experience their beautiful country. The locals were grateful and genuinely happy to see us.
My second destination was Jordan. I wanted to experience Jordan by myself and for myself. The only real way to see how I felt in the Middle East as a woman travelling alone is to do just that! I caught a taxi straight down to Petra. The taxi driver Raed would repeatedly say “Welcome to Jordan!” while teaching me phrases, and he even took the scenic drive so I could get some great photos and play in the snow at no extra cost. We even stopped a few times just so he could buy me tea and falafel sandwiches. I seriously considered moving there when that happened. If you need a guide/driver then contact Raed! (firstname.lastname@example.org or 00962776767978)
The locals around Petra and the surrounding villages were super helpful and really interested to hear my story and what I was doing. Just like I was interested to hear their stories and what they were doing. Did I feel safe in Jordan? Yes, of course. I also never put myself in awkward situations or in danger and I always have travel medical insurance just in case something does go wrong.
The next stop was Israel and Palestine. The food, oh my gosh. It was the best I have ever had, I have to admit. Actually, all of the Middle Eastern foods were delicious and I have never felt healthier in my life. (Note to self: adopt the Middle Eastern diet.)
I got to visit Palestine with a tour with Abraham tours (more coming on that soon!) and it was one of the best things I did during my time there. You can read as much as you like and watch all the TV news but still not get the full grasp of the situation over there until you have met the people from both sides of the wall and listened to their stories and views.
The last Middle Eastern country I visited was Turkey with Travel Talk Tours again. I went to go pay my respects at Gallipoli for ANZAC day. It was an incredible experience I have to say and I am looking forward to travelling back to Turkey hopefully again sometime this year.
There was one thing I noticed travelling through these countries: their superb hospitality. The people from the Middle East are incredibly friendly and if you just give them a chance they could teach you a thing or two. From countless servings of free food to cups and cups of tea, I was well looked after during my entire trip.
Final thoughts on the Middle East? You cannot ignore what is going on as that would just be silly but you can go see the countries for themselves and give them a chance because it may be the best thing you have ever done. Remember to check with your countries advisories when it comes to travel and make your own decision. The Middle East is too beautiful to miss out on and I urge you to see beyond news headlines and go see it for yourself.
If you are from any of the countries that I talked about in this article I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for making me welcome and making my trip to the Middle East a highlight!
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