I was extremely fortunate this summer to have my parents allow me to travel by myself (with a close friend of mine from school) to the Middle East (Jordan and Israel specifically) for a few weeks this June. It was truly the trip of a lifetime, and totally changed my perceptions of the Middle East.

Here is a video summary of our trip:

Below are a few highlights and photos from the trip.

1.) Time Around Aqaba: Experiencing life and culture in Aqaba (Southern Jordan). The coral reefs and beaches were absolutely incredible. We even went Scuba Diving (my first time!).

2.) Wadi Rum: We went on a private Bedouin Jeep Tour of the Wadi Rum Desert just East of Aqaba. Because of my friend’s dad’s status as an environmental minister, we were allowed special access to see the Arabian Oryx. Afterwards, we ate a traditional Bedouin meal which was made specially for me, they killed a goat just for the occasion! (I even ate part of the brain and an eye!)

3.) Trip into Eilat: Call me crazy, but doing the unexpected or even slightly dangerous on a vacation can make the greatest experiences. Check out this article for details:

4.) Flight with Ayla Aviation: I got to experience general aviation in the Middle East, something not too many pilots can say they’ve done. Check out this article for details:

5.) Dead Sea Trip: We travelled from Amman to the Dead Sea for a day. It is the lowest point on Earth, at over 300 meters below sea level. The water is over 30% salt, making for an extremely painful but unique experience. When you can no longer reach the bottom of the sea, you just bob like a cork. It’s not physically possible to sink any lower.

6.) Time Around Amman: We had many free days to hang around the capital city of Amman, go to markets, museums, etc. It was an amazing city! In the old downtown, there are many Roman Ruins; it was cool to see the difference between ancient and modern Amman.

7.) Jerash: We left in the afternoon from Amman for a trip up North to Jerash, to see the Roman Ruins and “The Jerash Music Festival.” I’ll let the photos explain for the experience!:

8.) Petra: Towards the end of our trip, we visited the ancient city of Petra, made famous by Indiana Jones. The site is absolutely massive, you really need a few days to see it all. We hiked up to the Monastery, were welcomed by the view of the Treasury through the Siq, and rode camels in the desert. What a great way to end the Middle East experience!

If you’re considering a trip to Jordan, all I can say is GO! It was undoubtedly the best trip I’ve ever taken, I loved the country. Please contact me via the tab above if you want any advice or details!

Thanks for reading,
-Swayne Martin
Twitter: @MartinsAviation

About The Author

If you want to become a pilot, I want to make your journey just a little easier. I'm a First Officer for Envoy Air, one of the largest regional airlines in the world, and have partnered with industry leaders like the U.S. Air Force to teach about various aviation careers. For a full bio, click the "About" tab above. Use the "Contact" tab to shoot me a message.

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