Just this month, I had an amazing opportunity to tour Jordan with some journalist friends and the Jordan Tourism Board. Many of my friends and family were worried about my safety while I was there.
True enough, there were four shootings and two bomb threats during those ten days. But those all happened right here in my sleepy hometown, not in Jordan.
I messaged one friend—"Rumors of shots in your neighborhood. Are u OK?"—and she responded, "There are always shots in my neighborhood." I asked my sister, "What about that bomb threat? They had parts of downtown completely closed." "I didn't see it on the news. And I never go downtown." Meanwhile, just a few miles from the Syrian border, all was calm, all was bright. There was no smoke on the horizon, no jets overhead. No gunfire in the distance, no security cordons. Just a beautiful view that had not changed much in twenty centuries.
The same was true throughout our travels. While airport security was snug and our hotels routinely scanned our bags, I never felt threatened. In fact, I cannot remember anyone—even amid frank conversations about US foreign policy—offering the least discourtesy. This was a land of educated, cultured people. It was a wonderful escape from the dangers posed by a modest-sized American city.
Image of Umm Qays, in northern Jordan, by Katie Carroll.