I traveled to Jordan for one reason: visiting Petra. But I didn’t know that Petra was not going to be the best memory from this trip. What happened the day after our visit to the City of Mysteries was so incredible and breathtaking that I can hardly express it with words: I discovered the Wadi Rum desert. And I fell in love. Not only with the desert, with the amazing views and sunsets, with the Bedouin culture and lifestyle. I literally fell in love with life. The unexpected experience that I can consider the best of my life just left me head over feet as I finally found what I was looking for: the joy of enjoying the present moment as the moment itself was so good that it was impossible even to imagine it.
I found my happiness, my true self in the Wadi Rum.
The Wadi Rum desert, also called the Valley of the Moon, looks more like Mars and it became very famous in the West because of Lawrence of Arabia description of this area with its sculpted rocks, sand dunes and Bedouin camps in the book Seven Pillars of Wisdom at the beginning of the XX century.
If you want to enjoy the Wadi Rum at least for one day and one night (I would have loved to do it for more if I had the time!) the best thing that you can do is book a jeep tour (also a camel ride if you like to…I loved it!) and a night in a Bedouin tent in a desert camp.
There are many agencies that offer every type of tours, including luxury and bubble tents in the middle of the desert but if you want to try the real un-commercial Bedouin experience I strongly recommend Bedouin Directions. Mehedi and its team of fantastic Bedouin guides offer jeep tours, hiking tours, scrambling tours, and camel treks. Also you will have the chance to sleep in a beautiful real Bedouin Camp (or under the stars!) while tasting the amazing Bedouin food and sage tea (you will drink it all the time in the desert and you will miss it a lot when you will be back! I bought some there and every now and then I just smell it to feel like in the desert for a moment!).
We started with an 30-minute camel trek: it was my first time on a camel and I enjoyed the ride so much! Camels are adorable animals and they have the cutest face and softest hair, it was definitely a great experience before taking the desert with our jeep. We wandered around from the sand dunes of Al-Hasany to the seven pillars of Wisdom, from the Lawrence House to the ancient petroglyphs on the canyons, to the breathtaking rock bridges with a nice stop for a delicious Bedouin lunch and many stops for local tea and dances with the local Bedouin guides who are incredibly hospital and fun! We ended our jeep tour with the most amazing sunset that I have ever lived in my life, sipping tea prepared by our amazing guide on a small fire that warmed our hearts and souls. It was a moment that I will never forget, I still remember that we all cheered to “Here and Now”, to the beauty of that moment that we were all sharing and that we fully enjoyed.
But this was just half of the Wadi Rum experience as the night at the camp was as good as the day in the desert!
We enjoyed a delicious traditional Bedouin dinner cooked in the ‘zarb’, an underground oven covered with sand and we danced for hours traditional Bedouin songs with our hosts. It was so fun that I couldn’t stop dancing and laughing before going out the main tent to watch the most incredible starred sky. No words can describe how beautiful it was, I stayed there for hours staring at the most wonderful sky I have ever seen.
I cannot say how sad I was the day after when we had to leave my beloved desert to go back north for the last stop in Amman before leaving this amazing country. What I can say is that the desert changed me: from that moment I realized that I was a different person, at this point this adventure touched my soul. The Wadi Rum is definitely my new favorite place on earth and I regret that we spent only one night there, but I am ready to go back and spend more time there with my new Bedouin friends: here again the Jordanian saying is true, “you arrive as a tourist, you leave as a friend”.
Thank you Wadi Rum and thank you Bedouin Direction for the best memories of my life.