During our excursion in the south of Jordan, we visited Wadi Rum, Jordan’s most famous desert.
Wadi Rum is famous around the world, and chances are you have probably seen it on the big screen once or twice. The Martian, Transformers Revenge of the Fallen, Rogue One: Star Wars, Aladdin, The Rise of Skywalker, and the new movie Dune were all filmed in Wadi Rum for its Mars-like rock formations and sand.
T.E. Lawrence also spent a lot of time in Wadi Rum, and we got to stop and see the large and narrow cave where he lived. Lawrence of Arabia was a British officer and archaeologist. He’s known for his role in the Arab Revolt and the Sinai and Palestine Campaign against the Ottoman Empire. Today, his cave is hardly a landmark, reeking of animal secretions and too small and dark to navigate.
We started our visit by riding camels. While most native Jordanians avoid riding camels, they are a popular tourist attraction for many foreginers. So, naturally, we had to give it a try!
After our camel ride we hoped in our “Jeeps”, which are really Toyota pick-up trucks, for a drive through the desert and sand dunes!
We had a wonderful time visiting Wadi Rum. One thing I have learned over the course of the last month in Jordan is that studying abroad is more a process of unlearning than it is learning. Whether it’s learning about the true nature of Islam or that deserts aren’t always necessarily just endless hills of white rolling dunes–daily life abroad consists of many instances of small growth. During my time in Wadi Rum, I learned that Jordanians don’t actually like riding camels, that deserts have a wide range of environmental conditions that extend beyond the sand, and that the local Bedouin community cares for the desert and the creatures in it. They’re small pieces of new knowledge, but important when it came to understanding my experiences. When you make your way abroad, be intentional about asking questions to better understand the moment you’re in. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much you can learn or better, unlearn.