My Next Adventure: Adventurous Kate in the Middle East!
My next travels will be taking me to a new region of the world:
The Middle East.
On November 11, immediately after the World Travel Market conference in London, I fly to the Kingdom of Jordan as a guest of the Jordan Tourism Board. I’m very much looking forward to seeing this beautiful country, and I know it will be a fantastic welcome to the Middle East!
On November 19, I fly straight to Istanbul, and will remain in Turkey until I fly back to the UK on December 9.
Now, because I’m sure you’re all thinking it, here it is:
Is it safe for a woman to travel alone in the Middle East?
In parts of the Middle East, it’s as safe to travel as in Europe or North America. Remember that the Middle East is an incredibly diverse region, and just because Syria is under fire right now and there are bombings in Gaza, these incidents are not representative of the Middle East as a whole.
That’s why I chose Jordan and Turkey. Both of these countries are rich in the treasures that the Middle East has to offer — kind hospitality, spice markets, desert dunes, ancient cities — and unlike some of their neighbors, the regions I am visiting have no more war violence or terrorist activity than elsewhere in the Western world.
The most important thing that you can do is educate yourself. Read everything you can — especially blogs of travelers who have been there recently (but cross-reference their points with other sources). Learn the language and customs. Dress appropriately. Did you see Sex and the City 2 (terrible film, I know)? Everything Samantha did — do the opposite.
And perhaps most importantly, follow the news, but take sensationalized media coverage with a grain of salt. Know that if there’s violence or terrorist activity in a small region of a country (for example, the Sulu Archipelago in the Philippines), the entire country will be put on your country’s danger list. You wouldn’t go into bad parts of a city late at night — exercise that same caution abroad.
As a solo female traveler who blogs about solo female travel, I will be making it my mission to tell you about what it’s really like to travel alone in the Middle East.
My Jordan itinerary is still being finalized, but I can tell you that it will definitely include:
1) adventurous experiences that you can find nowhere else but Jordan
2) activities in Jordan that are great for solo female travelers
3) instances that will lead to self-deprecating comedy on my behalf. See camels.
I definitely plan on visiting the ancient rose city of Petra lit up by candlelight, crossing the otherworldly valley of Wadi Rum, hopefully on a camel, and slathering myself with mud and floating in the Dead Sea. And eating lots of delicious Jordanian food, of course!
Turkey, honestly, was a bit of a spontaneous choice, since I need to spend more time outside the UK, but it certainly wasn’t a random choice. I’ve wanted to book holidays to Turkey for a long time, it’s a cheap country, it’s exciting, and since I could fly there directly from Jordan, it was a no-brainer!
For me, the musts in Turkey are the city of Istanbul and the Cappadocia region, covered with “fairy chimneys.” Since it will be the off-season (and quite cold), I’m not as sure about visiting the coast. If anything, I’ll probably drop by the seaside town of Fethiye.
I also grappled over whether to categorize Turkey as the Middle East or Europe on this site. I asked my readers; they polled at about 50/50. While Turkey may become part of the EU someday, and Istanbul is considered a European city by many, Turkey overall seems more culturally related to the Middle East — so I’ll bucket it into the Middle East for now.
So get ready for a new adventure!
Have any suggestions? Leave them in the comments. I can’t wait to share my adventures in the Middle East with all of you!