Do you ever think about how much authentic local life us travellers over look on our way elsewhere, to the beach or museum, to the best restaurant in the city, the local market?
I often find myself in a minibus being shuttled from one attraction to the next, and I see my fellow travellers using this ‘down time’ to browse on their phones. I understand of course. There aren’t many other opportunities in the day for us bloggers to check emails (your next gig could depend on it) or update our social media channels. And even the most luxurious of travel can be exhausting.
But it strikes me as being somewhat counterintuitive.
These bits in between the ‘main attractions’, these expanses of nothingness, where the tour bus never stops, often offer the truest glimpse at the local way of life. And this, for me personally, is what I want to see most when I travel.
I recently posted my guide to the most essential things to do in Jordan, outlining the highlights of this otherworldly land. I’m proud of it and I believe it has the potential to inspire and help you to travel to the Middle East. But it’s missing something…
When I reflect on my time in Jordan, it’s not the canyons of Petra I think of or the Temple of Hercules. No, I think of the views from our minibus window: children on their way home from school, fruit-sellers at the side of the road, camels eating from dustbins, burkas on washing-lines, hitchhikers everywhere.
I think of our gentile driver and his patience with us, his willingness to answer my barrage of questions. The way he counted his rosary beads every time a two-lane road suddenly became a four-lane road, as lorries piled high with sheep overtook us while we were also overtaking other vehicles (often while the same thing was happening in the opposite direction).
Much to the annoyance of my fellow travellers, I continued to fire away with my camera as we bounced through the dusty terrain.
The images I created are not my best. Actually, some of them are outright bad. But I think they capture something real from my time in Jordan, something you won’t find in my ‘best of blog’ or a guidebook.
Little glimpses of the daily grind. Magic in the mundane. The joy of outside perspective.