An oversized lunch in an Aqaba home

This post is part of the Digital Nomad project with National Geographic Traveller. The greeting was warm and unfussy. After a long drive back to Aqaba it was a pleasure to stretch out, sit in the shaded courtyard and do nothing more energetic than sip tea while our host busied herself with preparing lunch. We […]

Over the edge: our first abseiling adventure

This post is part of the Digital Nomad project with National Geographic Traveller. I try not to look down. The only thing between me and a 20 metre drop into the gorge below is the rope to which I’m attached; but thinking about that isn’t going to help. Instead I focus on trying to move slowly backwards […]

Petra beyond the façades

This post is part of the Digital Nomad project with National Geographic Traveller. When we came to Petra for the first time in 2009, we spent the few hours we had at the site rushing to see the most famous parts of the site before making a premature exit and returning to Amman. We had more time […]

Hiking from Dana to Petra

This post is part of the Digital Nomad project with National Geographic Traveller. No pain, no gain. My feet and my calves were letting me know in no uncertain terms that I’d far exceeded my normal level of physical activity. By the end of the second day I’d covered around 40 kilometres on uneven paths, climbing up […]

Petra Kitchen – taking a stab at Jordanian cooking

This post is part of the Digital Nomad project with National Geographic Traveller. “Not like that – watch me.” I stood back as Tariq took over with my chopping knife and within seconds had reduced my onion to pieces barely larger than grains of sand. After he’d delivered a few instructions to our group and […]

Getting married again, Bedouin style

It was kept from us until the last moment – and for good reason. “Let’s just say it will be a celebration” is all we were told. We had our suspicions when we saw what looked suspiciously like an elaborate bridal carriage in the camp restaurant earlier in the day. As we arrived back to […]

Learning to dive in Aqaba – new skills and old problems

This post is part of the Digital Nomad project with National Geographic Traveller. You could call it unfinished business. A day trip to the Great Barrier Reef on Christmas Eve 2000 has since been remembered for a rushed and quickly aborted ‘free introductory’ dive. Once we signalled that our ears didn’t feel quite right, we […]

Introducing the National Geographic Traveller Digital Nomad project

I’m excited to introduce the National Geographic Traveller Digital Nomad project, which will see the two of us heading to Aqaba in southern Jordan tomorrow (Saturday) for what promises to be an intensive and fascinating 14-day trip. Disclosures up front: we are undertaking the Digital Nomad project for APL Media, who produce National Geographic Traveller in the UK, for whom […]

Safety – should we trust our own judgement?

Every journey we take, whether we’re walking up the road to post a letter or flying to the other side of the world, poses a certain level of risk. Some of the risks are easy to identify (getting run over, being involved in a plane crash or a terrorist incident), while others are impossible to […]

75 years ago – the night when everything changed

This is one of the longest blog posts I’ve added on 501 Places, and other than a short introduction, I’ll leave the words to my parents. It’s a travel story in the loosest sense of the term, but one which I’m sure none of us would ever wish to undertake. My parents spent their early childhood […]