Holy S#!T we are going to Jordan!
â€œJordan? You mean JORDAN?â€ â€œYes, the country in the Middle East, Jordanâ€
â€œYou are going where?â€ â€œJordan, the country next to Israel, Jordan!â€
â€œWhy would you go there! Itâ€™s dangerous there!â€
â€œYou know ISIS is in Jordan right?â€
These were among the many comments I got when I had found out last week, YES LAST WEEK, that I had won a trip to Jordan through the North American Branch of Visit Jordan to attend the FIFA Womenâ€™s World Cup Under 17 tournament. As you read this we will be 30 000 feet in the air flying from Vancouver to London Heathrow for a short layover before we fly to Amman, Jordan’s capital city.
Soccer Fan? Check out the Schedule for the Women’s World Cup U-17 Championships in JordanÂ here.
Honestly, Jordan had never been on my radar. There was nothing in the Middle East calling to me as a Family Travel destination. Visiting the pyramids in Egypt is WAYYYYYYY up there on my list of places to visit, but not with the boys being so young. Mattias is 5 and Markus is 3!
But this trip to Jordan just literally FELL into our lap! And we are going, despite the negativity from many friends and family, holding close the positive â€œOMG how amazing!â€ and â€œWOW I want to see Petra!â€ and â€œHow did you win this! Awesome!â€ as well as positive recommendations from fellow family bloggers who have visited with their families.
OF course, three days before our visit, the King of Jordan, King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, is on 60 Minutes speaking of the tough times his Country is facing. With the influx of 2 million Syrian refugees in 2014 to the 15% unemployment rate, the rental rate hikes in the city, to the limited water available in the country. His small country, a desert approximately the size of the US state of Indiana, faces the centuries long Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the West, Syriaâ€™s Civil War in the North, ISIS in Iraq to the East and fundamentalist Islamists in Saudi Arabia to the South. His increasing concerns are for the youth of his Country, which make up 50% of the countryâ€™s 9 million people, who face crowded schools and unemployment. King Abdullah fears that if radicalization is going to take hold, it will be with the disenfranchised youth of his county.
While watching, my husband says â€œyou want to go THERE?â€ as footage of the refugees flooding the border in 2014 flashes across the screen. To which I reply, â€œwe ARE going there, on Wednesday.â€
So back to WHY we are going? Or HOW perhaps is a better word.
We are fortunate to be guests of the Visit Jordan Tourism Board thanks to Sunny Land Tours and will be shown the country on a 7 days tour. From Petra, to Wadi Rum, to the Dead Sea, and many other historical sights that I am just beginning to familiarize myself with, to showing our National Pride as Canadians cheering on the U17 women, and hearing amazing stories of other young women from around the world, competing in Jordan, to oust the reigning champions, the Japanese Team.
So am I scared?
I always have told everyone, I will go anywhere, I want to see the WORLD, not just the popular tourist destinations. But I will not tell you I am not nervous. I have never been to the Middle East. I have never been CLOSE to civil unrest or anything even amounting to a major protest or a riot.
But I do not dwell on those fears, just like I do not dwell on the Washington State Mall Shooting last week or the extremists plots in my own Country of Canada. Fear will not win!
I cannot wait to show you what looks to be a beautiful country, and to seek out the stories of young girls from around the world, sharing in the beautiful game of soccer that I love! Sports is something that brings people together, it is something that makes us swell with our nationâ€™s pride, it gives us chills, brings is to tears and lets us yell and scream and cheer!
Have you visited Jordan? or the Middle East? Would love to hear your tips, especially if you went withÂ your children!
If you want to read our other posts on Jordan, click here.
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Lindsay is the founder and editor of Carpe Diem OUR Way. She left her career in Canada to share her love of travel with her two young boys. She is passionate about sharing adventure travel activities for families and to encourage others to explore the world. She resides in the suburbs of Vancouver when not jet setting abroad.