#TryingStuffInJordan, Part 1


I’ve been procrastinating on writing about my trip with Columbia Sportswear and the Jordan Tourism Board since returning to the States because I still sort of can’t believe that whole thing happened.

Day -1

My whole trip began with boarding my first flight out of Montrose Regional Airport. I fell in love with the cute airport when I found out that security only opens an hour before the flight (the free wifi doesn’t hurt either). After I landed in Chicago, I headed to baggage claim where I simply grabbed the big blue Columbia bag coming around the baggage carousel… and discovered it belonged to Justin! The Dream Team had been reunited by United.

Justin and I made our way to the international departures terminal at O’Hare where the #OmniTen reunion was happening—seeing everyone was awesome. As passed through security, ate dinner, and then prepared to board the plane, excitement was definitely building. (Although, if I’m honest, meeting up with friends at the airport felt totally normal.) It had been a really long time since I’d been on a trans-Atlantic flight so I was a tad apprehensive about the long flight but while most of the guys started watching Frozen I promptly fell asleep and woke up somewhere over the Alps.

Day 1

As the plane began its descent into Amman, the fact that we were arriving in Jordan suddenly became real. Feeling that perfect mixture of travel exhaustion and excitement, we filed off the plane, got our visas, waited for our luggage, then boarded the bus for our hotel. In the bus, we met Pedro & the rest of the film crew. (The film crew was awesome, I walked around feeling like a superstar the whole trip.)

Our first dinner was at Wild Jordan where we dined on delicious local organic food and continued our bonding experience as an #omniten group. In what would become a regular feature of dinner, we received a “here is how to dress tomorrow” statement but no real clue as to what the day’s activities would include.

Day 2

Our second day adventure was touring the ruins of the ancient Roman city Gerasha in Jerash. Walking around the ruins were really impressive although my favorite memories of this day will definitely be taking photos with the Jordanian school girls. Heather, Erika, and I were absolutely swarmed!

After Gerasha, we had a huge lunch spread at the house of a family in Ajloun. Their hospitality was absolutely wonderful and the food was delicious. Returning to Amman, we visited the Citadel where we saw Hercules Temple, a mosque, and more.

After leaving the Citadel, we made time for a quick run to the Columbia store in the mall. Although perhaps not a crazy outdoor #tryingstuff adventure, it was really fun to see some of the European products (besides, I think we made the salespeoples’ day). We were able to grab quick showers at the hotel before heading out again to eat at Sufra. This was probably my favorite meal of the whole trip. Served family style, we got to try tons of traditional Jordanian food all while watching our bread being made.

Day 3

We ate breakfast at the hotel and headed to Royal Jordanian Airlines headquarters. We had a chance to talk with the marketing director about their upcoming Dreamliner deliveries and other destinations served by Royal Jordanian. Leaving the Royal Jordanian headquarters, we took a trip through the Suq eating green almonds, dates, and knafeh and feasting our eyes on all the other goods in the market.

After the suq, we went to Madaba and ate a delicious lunch at Haret Jdoudna. Our afternoon bus ride took us down to the shores of the Dead Sea and then to a “reception center” just outside a very small village. At the reception center we loaded up into some of Jordan’s ubiquitous Toyota Hilux pickups for a sunset ride.

After a stunning sunset, we arrived at the Feynan Ecolodge. The lodge is totally off-grid and conserves its solar produced energy by only putting electricity at the front desk, the kitchen, and a light in each bathroom. Greeted with a cool drink and a hot towel in the quiet candlelit lodge I was instantly enchanted. Our delicious dinner and stargazing with Bedouin tea only made the evening better.

© Feynan Ecolodge

Vado: #tryingstuff in Colorado

I’m excited to welcome back Vado of Vado Porro to 3Up Adventures. She guest posted here while we were in Utah celebrating our wedding but she’s back with a great post about trying snowshoeing in Colorado.

When we planned our winter trip to Colorado, I promised my husband that we would finally, FINALLY!, go snowshoeing. Every season, we make up a to-do list and snowshoeing has been on for the last three years running, and we have never made it.

So when we booked a vacation trip to Keystone, I immediately made sure that snowshoeing was on the menu. It was, and it was very reasonably priced. The great thing about Keystone is that skiing is so outrageously expensive that everything else seems very reasonable. (It’s absolutely worth it to pay for the extremely expensive lift ticket, the skiing was phenomenal.)

On Monday morning, we drove over to the Nordic Center to get our snowshoes and head out. The first thing I became concerned about was that maybe I had dressed too warm. As soon as we got outside in our snowshoes, I knew I had. I’m not exactly sure the temperature, but I had on snowpants, fleece lined tights, a fuzzy undershirt, a fleece, and a parka, plus gloves and a hat. I overheat extremely quickly as soon as I break a sweat, so I wish I had just worn thin long johns, snowpants, an undershirt and the parka. You move the entire time you are snowshoeing, so it isn’t like skiing where you dress a bit warmer for the lift and don’t overheat. I also recommend sunglasses because it’s really bright if the snow is reflecting on the mountains.

Once we got to the place, we were offered two options for footwear – wear our own boots, or rent nordic shoes. We opted to rent, because my hiking boots are not super waterproofed. I was very glad we made that decision because the snowshoe boots were much more flexible and lighter weight. They offered us poles and we opted to take them – definitely take the poles! They showed us how to attach the snowshoes to our feet, we loaded my cousin up with his daughter in the carrier, and then we were on the road.

I thought, for some reason, that snowshoeing would be like running or skiing, or really like skating, with sliding on the snow. It’s not. It’s just hiking in the snow and you don’t fall down or through the snow. It was beautiful and a lot of fun to walk out over three or four feet of fresh powder and not sink all the way down. We went up a really steep hill, had some trouble with the course, but overall it was a fun enough experience that we decided we would happily repeat it for a longer excursion, perhaps with a picnic lunch and a LOT more water. (Bring a Camelbak. I really regretted not having mine.)

Kristin: Birthday #tryingstuff

Today’s #TryingStuff post comes from Kristin. Kristin is a New York City based poet who also blogs at Not Intent On Arriving (where she kindly featured me as part of her Writer’s Wednesday this winter) about travel and living life.

Whenever I imagined how I would celebrate my golden birthday, I always pictured opening my 28th year in a gold sequined cocktail dress. There would be champagne and karaoke. I would be a more perfect version of myself – fancy, social, and singing in public – an elegant version of my usual down-to-earth self. When I found myself instead sitting in the chilly lodge of the Clarence Fahenstock Memorial State Park, trading out my hiking boots for a pair of cross-country skis, I didn’t look quite like I’d pictured myself, but the idea was still the same. I was a better version of myself. I was me, but adventurous.

I was about 40 feet from the lodge when I fell for the first time. I had clipped into the fronts of my skis, and was pushing myself pretty quickly along the pre-made track when I started to feel myself losing balance even as I was gaining speed. Like I always do when I’m losing balance, I leaned heavily backward into my heels to stabilize. Apparently, this is not the thing to do when you can’t stop during cross-country skiing, and maybe when you can’t stop during other things in life. Sometimes, you’ve got to lean into it. I tumbled off to the side, and embarrassingly, couldn’t get myself onto my own two feet. A family that appeared to be at the park for tubing took pity on me and between the four of them, managed to get me upright again.

Adventurous me, I had hoped, would be instantly talented at cross-country skiing, even though I’d already tried it without much luck four years ago and even though I have been instantly talented at precisely nothing in my whole life. Talk about setting yourself up for failure. As I shuffled along to where my partner was waiting for me (a fellow non-talented adventurer, he wasn’t able to turn around and help me fast enough), I decided to let go of the idea that being adventurous was something I could succeed at and cross-country skiing something I could excel at instantly, and focus instead of enjoying myself.

We spent the rest of the day exploring the two beginner trails that were open. On our previous excursion, we had contented ourselves with trying each of these paths once, and then moving on to hillier, more difficult trails. While I think it’s important to challenge yourself, I don’t remember having nearly as good a time that first trip out, and I think it might be because we never let ourselves enjoy the process in our hurry to become experts. This time, we explored what felt like every nook and cranny of the paths we were on. We did each of the smaller loops multiple times, and then made a larger loop between the two trails and the lodge twice.

The trails led us around a level field (and past some people snowshoeing – maybe that will be our next adventure!) and alongside the lake where they have swimming in the summer. Everything was frozen-over and still, and although we were often in the presence of other skiers (many of whom blasted right past us with gorgeous form), the experience felt solitary and beautiful. For the first time in a long time, things felt peaceful and I felt like myself. Not a better version of me, just me as is: struggling to keep my breath and my balance while still taking in all of my surroundings. Somehow, after nearly three decades on earth, that was finally enough.

In total, we were outside for about three hours, and as far as I can estimate, we skied about seven miles. There were more spills, my legs and arms felt sore, and I don’t think either of us ever figured out how to ski downhill without crashing into something to stop, but it was the most fun I’ve had all winter. With the freezing temperatures lately, we’ve been bundled up inside or working out at the gym, and I think I’d almost forgotten how wonderful being outside really is.

Taking in deep breaths of cold air and completely exhausting myself on something wonderful are two feelings I haven’t had in a long time, and I didn’t realize how much I missed them. Although it was hard at times and I didn’t magically become graceful and coordinated, cross-country skiing was the best way I can imagine to start my 28th year. Now I’m looking forward to what comes next: a year of trying new things, spending more time with nature, and getting more active with the person I love.

Anna: Getting Fit and #tryingstuff

Today’s post in #tryingstuff comes from Anna. Anna lives in London and has recently embarked upon a journey to improve her fitness. I asked her to chime in with some thoughts and she’s made some simple and wise observations about what has worked for her in making steps towards becoming a runner! (And if you missed yesterday’s post on #tryingstuff from Susan be sure to check it out!)

*Disclaimer: I know nothing. Particularly about fitness.

When Beth first asked me to write something for whilst she is away (squee how exciting!) I was a “little,” read very nervous, about what I could possibly offer. She is so deliciously clever and active and wonderful and then there is me.

My second disclaimer: I am an overweight completely unfit behemoth of an Englishwoman. Seriously. There is no reason you should listen to a word I’m about to say.

But, (and obviously with me it is rather large),if I can get outside and actually get my heart racing then so can you!

I used to be relatively sporty, I loved to play hockey (of the field variety) and I was quite a “spirited,” read violent player! Playing 4 times a week was probably the reason I didn’t balloon quite so much until my university years. Playing once a week and doing little else was pretty damning for my body.

Anyhoo, enough beating myself up, time for change.

Time for me to talk about those first steps towards starting to move and perhaps inspire you to do the same.

There are 5 things which helped me get of my sofa and into my almost stride.

  1. Walking everywhere for a month. I found a short 2km route (basically around the block) and tried to do this as often as possible for a month to try and speed up every time. Even if I shaved a second off the previous day I was happy. (Even if I didn’t I’d walked briskly for 20mins and that was still impressive for me!)
  2. My Nike Fuel band. I’m sure it’s just a pricey inaccurate bracelet but this pricey inaccurate bracelet has pushed me more than I ever thought possible. It’s made me want to get off the train a stop early and walk the extra distance home. It’s made me walk short distances instead of getting the bus. It’s made me giggle that I walked an extra 4km around an industrial estate because I got lost. It’s made me jog around the house to collect those few extra points before midnight. It’s made me get up a 5am, go for a walk and actually be happy I did it! Seriously, find what makes you want to do more. If that’s as simple as a pedometer or even mapmyrun, make it happen. I’m not going to lie; the pretty graphics and app do make me want to go further!
  3. C25k. (The name of this app scares me each time I look for it on my phone. There’s no way I can run 25k. Yes, I am an idiot!) But it’s great. Couch to 5km. I’m only at week 4 but it feels nice. (Well it did but more on that in a moment!) It starts off slow, one minute of running. Sounds easy, right? But at the end of the one minute I wanted to curl up and die. Oh the deep breaths. Yet for a strange reason I continued and continued and continued. My promise to you. After than teeny tiny first run of one minute, everything seems so much simpler. You just keep going. I mouth my little heart out to the cheesiest of songs as I run/walk and it feels good.
  4. Trainers. Conventional wisdom states not to spend lots of money when you first start out. However, I am prone to blisters and one of the reasons I think I am still trying is because I bought a pair of Vibrams and my feet love them. Not even a whisper of a blister. Find the trainers. I actually enjoy moving in these. They are light and tactile. I don’t really understand gait analysis but I’ve always had a penchant for a toe-heel style even when I wore “normal trainers” so they are perfect in my mind! (It helps that people have compared me to Maura Isles and that I completely agree!)
  5. SPORTS BRA – Oh crumbs, please protect the girls. As one relatively busty girl (who’s seen many boobs – I’m a doctor not a pervert) to every other lady. Please wear one. Spaniel’s ears are for spaniels only.

There are also a few things not to do

  1. Fancy gear. Yes ignore what I said about trainers. I started my little runs in the dark (which may not have been the best idea) but no-one cares what you look like. Well if they do, they should probably make fun of my daytime style choices instead. Oh yes, I be a power clasher. All the fancy gear is expensive and probably a little too small (as you bought it optimistically..ahem). Wear your favourite old shirt and some cheap leggings.
  2. Don’t be tempted to do too much. I don’t know if rest days are really important when you are doing as little as I am but my body sure likes me when I do rest so it can’t be a bad thing.
  3. Don’t try to work out sporadically. Have a routine. I like Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. No particular reason but I have those days in my head and I have to do stuff on those days. Obviously it’s no big deal if I don’t I am not going to punish myself but if you have your 3 days everything else is a bonus!

And now to that moment I mentioned earlier. 3 weeks ago, I was on my second run of week 4 and enjoying it muchly—actual running for 3 minutes! Sounds ridiculous and almost nothing but I was doing it. Doing it so well I was flying, literally. I tripped over something, myself or tree root. I flew through the air and crashed to the ground, so impressively cars stopped (in London!!). I was a few hundred metres from home and flushed with embarrassment that I told everyone I was fine. I hobbled home. I did almost finish my last run but not quite as quickly as I imagined.

I was helped into the bath by my husband, who tended to my bloody wounds. Impressive still! The next day I realised my wrist was more painful than it ought and since then I’ve had 15 x-rays and I’m lined up for an MRI. I’ve got no obvious break but perhaps ligament damage hence the MRI. All I know is that I’m taking many, many (prescribed) drugs, typing with my non-dominant hand and wearing an old lady brace.

Then struck by flu as my end of term beckoned I’ve been in bed for a week. However last night in exchange for dinner fun the husband suggested I go for a walk with him. Getting back on the horse is a little scary. I’m a faller. I fall a lot usually without much to complain about but the fear was there. (Incidentally it was 13 years since my house burnt down on Easter Monday and when we left the house the husband informed me he’d just put the washing machine on. Cue extra panic and a desire to get home quickly!)

We went a different route. I wore my glasses and it was daylight and there was warmth in the air. But it was good. I ran for a minute at a time, 3 times. (Almost coughed up my lungs after the first but I still did it!) It hurt. Oh crumbs, it hurt a lot but that was just my wrist. The wrist will heal and it will heal as I try to get back to week 4.

There is no after, yet. Although is there ever an after? But here is my now and I do hope it not be my after. Thank you for listening!

Susan: #TryingStuff x2, Dating and Climbing

Since I’m off #TryingStuffInJordan right now, I thought I’d open the floor here at 3Up Adventures to guest posts about #tryingstuff.

Susan and I met online over two years ago. I’ve loved following her during that time as she’s discovered how much more she’s capable of than she ever knew: during a tough time she turned to exercise as therapy and has become someone who runs more 5K races than I can keep track of! During some recent adventures in online dating, she was invited to a climbing gym but she’s scared of heights. I love this post for it’s honesty about what really was important about the experience.


My most recent #tryingstuff moment all started off with what appeared to be, from the outside, an innocent enough text message: “If you’re feeling bold, want to try rock climbing tonight?” Just a few words on my phone screen attached to the name of a cute guy I was interested in. But they were loaded words. And they scared the crap out of me. We had gone on an amazing first date, he’s an adrenaline junkie and I… am not. I’ve never been a thrill seeker, I’m scared to death of heights and here was this attractive man who just a few days earlier, sitting next to me over dinner, joked about how he was going to get me to jump out of a plane this summer. But it’s the middle of winter and skydiving season was months away, so I was safe.

Well, mostly anyway. If I accepted the rock climbing invite, it would mean a second date (yay!), but would also mean my feet would have to leave the ground. My feet would have to leave the ground and help propel my body up a wall with only a rope and trust in someone I had only spent a few hours with keeping me from plunging to my death (ok, I admit that might be a tad over dramatic). I’m not exactly athletic, or coordinated, so accepting the invitation was only going to lead to me looking awkward, which generally isn’t the look one goes for in the early stages of dating. And I was scared.

The beauty of it though was that I also felt like I was in a position that the only acceptable response was “sure!” because I was still very much in the wanting to impress stages of getting to know someone. He knew I was scared of heights, and here he was offering up a second date opportunity for me wrapped in the package of trying to push me out of my comfort zone. So I took to the internet with panicked words to my girl friends to ask what I should do. And was met with a handful of comments about how awesome of a date idea this was and how they were excited for me.

So I said yes… and proceeded to panic for the rest of the work day. The funny thing about getting out of your comfort zone and trying stuff, is that generally you have a really good time doing it. And I will admit it, it WAS a great date idea, and I’m so glad I didn’t chicken out like I normally would have because the really shocking thing? I want to go again!

We went to the local indoor climbing gym that’s in an old mill building. They even turned the elevator shaft into a climbing route! (I didn’t do that one.) My date walked me through the basics of how to tie the knot, how to belay, etc. He was calm and relaxed and I tried to soak that vibe in as much as I could. And then he hooked me up to a rope and told me to give it a go. At first there was only one other pair climbing so it was quiet and I didn’t feel like everyone was watching me clearly being a beginner and not knowing what I was doing.

As I walked up to the wall trying to not shake, I did have a moment of questioning what I was doing there and wondering why I had agreed to this, but then I grabbed my first handholds and told myself I WAS going to do this. I may have only made it halfway up the wall before getting stuck and not able to find a path to continue going up but it doesn’t matter. This wasn’t about making it to the ceiling, this wasn’t about impressing a cute guy with my killer climbing skills. This was about pushing my own limits and proving to myself that trying new things can be scary but can also be fun.

For the next 30 minutes or so we alternated climbing and belaying until the place filled up and got too chaotic for me and we decided to head out. I never made it further than about ¾ of the way up any of the walls, but I tried my best, at no point did I say “I can’t” without at least attempting it first. And maybe it was because I was trying so hard to not look like an idiot, maybe it was because the nature of rock climbing engages your full body and mind that there was no opportunity for me to think about the fact that my feet were no longer on the ground. But my fear of heights never kicked in. The panic attack I was so sure I was going to have never came.

Walking out of the building my date told me he was proud of me and that if he hadn’t known it, he never would have expected that I was scared of heights. More importantly, I was proud of myself. Did I love it? No. But I didn’t hate it. I can honestly say I had fun, and it is something that I would like to try again. I even looked in to it online and another local indoor rock climbing gym offers a ladies only lesson night where women climbers walk newbies through the basics of rock climbing that I would really like to sign up for. I’d love to gain some working knowledge of climbing now that I know I actually can do it without freaking out, and go again to see if I can do better, maybe even make it to the ceiling!

On a random Tuesday night in January, I learned that trying something new can be totally scary, but that it can also be a lot of fun. I said yes to something I would normally say no to and it is an experience I am so happy I got to have. I can only wonder now what my next #tryingstuff adventure will be!

Sunday Sermon

“I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.”






–Bill Bryson

Gear Review: Columbia Omniheat Baselayers

While I was in Park City with Columbia Sportswear and the #omniten, I was pretty much always wearing one of the Omniheat baselayers. After leaving Park City, I was too far south to need the warmth of Omniheat (although sometimes I wore the tops on chilly mornings for running).

When we moved north of Phoenix, I started wearing the tops over camisoles because it seemed like the right weight for the cool high Arizona spring weather. One afternoon, I set out for a hike wearing my 1/2 Zip Midweight long sleeve top. When the hike unexpectedly turned in to a bushwack I initially freaked out, I was going to shred this top. After a minute I realized I could give up, or I could decide that I’d been given this top in the spirit of #tryingstuff and I could continue. I decided to continue and put the shirt through some abuse. It came out totally unscathed.

Since then, we’ve found ourselves in the colder temperatures of high elevation New Mexico and I’ve relied in them more as baselayers. They’ve worked awesome. I actually #omniOVERheated snowshoing in just the baselayer at 45 here in Colorado last week.

Both the tops and the bottoms are really comfortable. I have a long torso and often have issues with baselayers like UnderArmor riding up around my waist rather than staying down over my hips. I haven’t had any of those issues with the Columbia Omniheat. I have also been caught wearing the tights as pants. Sorry, not sorry.

Photo Courtesy Anne Carney Photography