The documentary of the #omniten adventures in Jordan is going to premiere via Google+ on Thursday, September 18th at 4pm Pacific! Our whole crew will be on hand on Google Hangout On Air to answer questions and just be ourselves.
Please join us on Thursday! I’m so excited to be able to share our #TryingStuffInJordan journey with you!
After breakfast, we headed south from Petra and soon found ourselves in Wadi Rum loading into trucks for another 4×4 adventure. As we headed out into the desert, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities to the American Southwest. It all looked so familiar and so different all at the same time. After we looked at some awesome petroglyphs (seriously, they were petroglyphs with camels), we stopped at tent for some Bedouin tea. Before we sat down to tea, however, Mohammed told us that everything was harder in the desert and that we should run up a near by sand dune so that we’d understand. A handful of us lined up to run the dune. I certainly knew that running a dune wasn’t easy but I was going to give it a shot. Ow.
We stopped for lunch and were given two options for the afternoon: we could either go on a scramble to a rock arch or ride to a longer arch with less of a climb. I opted to join the scrambling group. Our guide lead us swiftly up the mountain to a gorgeous rock arch. After our hike we drove to a camp in the middle of the desert. We spent the remainder of the evening scrambling to the tops of rocks for sunset and bidding Heather adieu. (She was headed off to Bali for a friends wedding!) We capped off the night with a delicious dinner and some dancing with the Bedouins around the campfire. Some of us went for a moonlight walk and then slept under the stars.
First thing in the morning, we loaded our stuff back into the trucks. The #omniten, however, hopped on to camels for a ride back to breakfast and the bus. I must admit that riding a camel wasn’t the most comfortable experience but it was one that I would not pass up when in Wadi Rum.
From Wadi Rum, we drove to Aqaba where we immediately boarded a boat for some water fun on the Red Sea. After jumping off the boat some of us did some snorkeling over the reef. It was really nice to be out on the salt water enjoying the sunshine! After dinner, it was time to say goodbye to Seth’s beard. Mohammed, our guide, took us to a barbershop where Seth (plus a few others) got their hair trimmed.
After breakfast, we started our day with a drive from Aqaba up to the Dead Sea. After glimpsing it earlier in the trip, we finally got a chance to stand at the lowest point on earth: -1,400′ below sea level! We floated in the sea and basked in the sunshine.
After having floated in the Dead Sea I was out of ideas on what there was to do in Jordan! As we should have expected, Columbia and the Jordan Tourism Board had one more awesome adventure cooked up for us: canyoneering in Wadi Muijb. Although the water was just a little bit chilly it was a blast to float the water, scramble up waterfalls, and enjoy the big waterfall at the end.
After all the fun of the previous ten days, it was time to head back to the airport in Amman. The thirteen hour flight to Chicago seemed longer than the flight to Jordan, mainly because I didn’t sleep on the flight. It was sad saying goodbye to everyone in Chicago: my favorite part of both of my Columbia trips has been getting to adventure with so many awesome people. I miss you all!
Thanks so much to Columbia Sportswear for another amazing #omniten opportunity. Thanks also to the Jordan Tourism Board for your hospitality!
We started our day with a delicious breakfast at the Ecolodge before starting out on a hike through Wadi Ghwayr in the Dana Biosphere Reserve. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from our canyon hike other than that we were warned we’d be getting wet…
The hike was so much fun. The wadi, Arabic for valley, was absolutely gorgeous: the water was crystal clear, the sandstone had beautiful swirl patterns, there were palm trees overhanging the canyon, and there was plenty of fun scrambling and waterfall scaling. I’ve been on lots of wonderful hikes but I really do count this as one of the top 10 most beautiful ones in my life. Bedouin tea breaks and a sand bread snack (literally bread baked in the sand) were only icing on the cake.
At the end of the hike, we climbed into vans and were off the next destination: Dana’s Rummana Campsite. When we arrived, it was chilly so we immediately layered up and headed for dinner. After the long hike, I was pretty tired so called it an early night—after a couple post-dinner cups of Bedouin tea of course.
The morning was brilliant and sunny giving us some beautiful views of our campsite. After breakfast we did a little bit of hiking and scrambling around: my favorite way to explore!
Leaving the nature preserve, we drove to the town of Petra. After a nice relaxing afternoon at the hotel, we headed out for dinner. We all had an idea of what might be in store for us that night and were all delighted to hear that our guess was correct: we were going to see Petra at night.
Wandering down the candle lit path through the Siq was a really neat experience. The tall canyon walls were just barely illuminated by the moon giving only hints of the grandeur surrounding us. Suddenly, the Treasury appeared illuminated by the light of hundreds of candles. My photo definitely doesn’t do the beauty of the scene justice.
After being given a glimpse of Petra at the Treasury, we were all excited to go see more. Our guide Mohammed took us all over the ancient city telling us the history beginning with the Nabataeans and then the Romans and the Byzantines. The large tombs carved out of the solid sandstone cliffs were absolutely huge (plus there was lots more of the gorgeous swirled sandstone).
After lunch, we continued on to the Monastery and then to a view point beyond. At the viewpoint, we were told that we’d be meeting at 7:45 back at the hotel but we were on our own before that. Earlier in the day, Mohammed had mentioned hiking behind the Kings Tomb to a high viewpoint to the Treasury. Justin and I soon decided that we would use our free time to head that way, Seth soon caught up to us and away we went. Our added route took us by some additional tombs, up a huge flight of stairs to a really amazing overlook of the Treasury. It was definitely time well spent. As a bonus, we even got a nice quiet walk out the Siq with just enough time to shower before dinner.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Columbia’s making sure that we’re going to have great social media access with smart phones over there so the 3UpAdventures Instagram account will come out of hybernation while I’m there and I’ll be tweeting as we have a blast #TryingStuffInJordan.
On top of the awesomeness from Jordan, I’ve lined up some awesome Guest Posts about #TryingStuff for you all while I’m gone!
Last Friday, the final #omnigames competition “Charles Dickens” concluded. Happily for all of us waiting anxiously for the final results, they only made us wait until Monday evening.
F had a dental appointment in Algodones on Monday and I wasn’t about to anxiously stare at my computer for hours when I could be eating tacos for dinner so I tagged along. His appointment ran a little long and I started checking my phone obsessively to see the time. Despite trying to convince myself that I would learn the results when I learned them, I was anxious.
And then I got a text message.
It was Justin: we’d been announced as the first winners of the trip to Jordan.
By the time we’d returned from our pastor tacos, they’d announced Caleb, Heather, Patrick, Jon, Seth, and Casey. Within about twenty minutes of coming back, Erika and Andy had rounded out the “Spring 2014” #omniten contingent.
After the awesome time I had in Park City, I’m so curious to see what Columbia cooks up for us in Jordan!
Will we be going to Petra? The Dead Sea? I’m so excited to find out!!!
Saturday morning was a whirl of hugs, goodbyes, breakfast, and more goodbyes. After I found myself settled at the gate, the cumulative impact of the trip hit me.
Finally at a moment where things seemed still, I started to cry. In the moment I wasn’t really sure what I was crying about. I’m still struggling with the words to describe how things felt because they alternated between feeling so darn normal to overwhelming, empowering, and just plain awesome. Each piece of the the experience had been almost but not quite overwhelming but taken as a whole from my seat in the Salt Lake City airport I felt incredibly lucky.
What was so overwhelmingly awesome?
In one respect, #trying stuff is just normal life for me. In January 2012, F and I decided that in November, just two months after our wedding, we would move into a van. Since then, “normal life” has become a giant adventure in #tryingstuff: five different vehicles, pauses to work odd jobs, new places, exploring, and more.
That being said, dog sledding, archery, VIP tents, delicious food, and ropes courses are not usually on the docket. Neither is hanging out with 30+ new friends—friends that also like #tryingstuff. Having #tryingstuff engrained in everyone around you for five days is something that I wish I had all the time; I’d be so much better for it! It is fair to say that I have never been surrounded by such a concentration of people with stories to tell!
- Competing (and succeeding) in the #omnigames
Confession: I was afraid to divulge my feelings on the competition internet. The #omnigames were so much fun but simmering under the surface of all the #omniten members was some serious competitive drive. With so many people wanting to win so badly it almost seems gauche to speak about the “feelings” of a front runner. However, in the name of #tryingstuff, here goes:
Coming to Utah, it was my intention to play hard and have fun at the games. I’d followed the #omniten’s blogs and Twitter accounts long enough to know that the competition would be strong. However, those who know me understand that my competitive streak runs wide.
Day 1 was all about wholeheartedly #tryingstuff and getting to know Justin. Once we realized we’d done well, it upped the ante for Day 2 (and hearing it confirmed in the standings only intensified the feeling). From the moment archery went well until I hopped on that last chair lift, each event escalated my excitement, the pressure, and empathy for those teams around me.
After completing the first half of the upper ropes course, I started looking ahead to the ski competition. And getting nervous (I paced between lunch and the start of the skiing…). All around me I was hearing people talk about making up ground and I was just afraid I wouldn’t be able to help Justin maintain our position. The moment we started skiing, however, I was back to having fun. I skied hard and knew I gave it my best effort; there was a palpable feeling of relief when I got on my last chair lift though!
In the end, I felt extremely proud of Justin and I. The games had been empowering and a shining example of the highest level of sportsmanlike competition I have ever seen or heard of.
Thank you all: this was the best!
Columbia really went above and beyond in putting together a seriously awesome time in Park City. Attending the unveiling of their designs for the US, Canadian, and Russian freestyle ski teams really was worthy of the tag #inspiredbygreatness. The variety of activities they picked for the #omnigames was really amazing and allowed a huge number of #omniten to show off their skills. The fashion show was a great cap to the week with amazing food, free flowing drinks, and a look at what’s coming down the pipe this fall.
Further more, I’m really excited to take the Turbo Down (and all the other gear!) out for more test drives in the mountains. (Ahem, and hopefully test some gear in Jordan…) A company that asks for real feedback from its reviewers deserves respect. Moreover, it was emphasized the being part of the #omniten was “for life” and I’m excited to continue building a relationship with Columbia.
Wiping my tears in the airport, I smiled. This was an experience I was extremely lucky to have been a part of for these reasons and so many more. I’ll remember this adventure forever.
I wish this post was starting with the sentence “I’ve been #tryingstuff since I was born.” Instead, honesty compels me to admit I was super structured, didn’t like deviations from the plan, or reaching out to try new things. Along the lines, I realized life meant to be about #tryingstuff: it’s where the best stories and experiences lie. Occasionally I still struggle with being truly adventurous and truly embracing #tryingstuff but I’m working on it.
Columbia has a philosophy known as #tryingstuff. #Tryingstuff is a philosophy embedded in the very core of Columbia’s history (in my video below, Columbia chairman of the board Gert Boyle offers my very favorite trying stuff quote). They embrace trying new things and even better, they embrace real people getting out and trying their equipment and giving them feedback.
The members of the #omniten inspire me to get out and really be part of #tryingstuff. Here’s a look at what happens we we do it together.
If you are still needing some more explaination on #tryingstuff, check out this video by my teammate Justin!