Introducing the National Geographic Traveller Digital Nomad project

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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 both Sam and I have worked as freelancers over the past couple of years. They are working with ASEZA, the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, to promote the destination and launch the Digital Nomad. As part of this I’ll be blogging daily from Jordan, with some posts appearing here and some on the National Geographic Traveller site. I’ll also be tweeting and updating the 501 Places Facebook page along the way. Meanwhile Sam will be taking photos as part of the project, and will be adding some to her Instagram page whenever connectivity allows. We’ll even make a few short video clips which I’ll share via Twitter and Facebook.

I’ve always rejected the notion of putting anything on this blog that doesn’t reflect my experiences and opinions. We have usually paid our own way for our trips, allowing me until now to avoid the question of outside influence on this blog. I’ve been paid to write on other sites for several years, but this will be my first venture where I’ll be getting paid directly to write blog posts about a sponsored trip on here; after 6 years I am, in an indirect way at least, finally monetising 501 Places. I’m very wary of making sure that the stories I post during the trip (both on here and on the National Geographic Traveller site under my byline) are ones which I’ll be happy to read back to myself in the future without embarrassment.

The schedule is certainly busy, and there are several activities which we’re really looking forward to experiencing. A few stand-out items in the itinerary include a 3-day trek to Petra, a beginners’ diving programme in the Red Sea, a spot of Bedouin bread baking, and two nights in a Bedouin desert camp. From a personal perspective we’re very pleased to be heading back to Jordan. It will be my third, and Sam’s second, visit to the country. We saw Petra briefly in 2009, but we’ve regretted ever since how little time we spent there, and how we needed to go back and spend longer at this remarkable site. From the point of view of work, this project is a tremendous opportunity for us both, and one which we’re determined to get right for everybody involved – not just the good people who are paying us to do this, but also the readers of this blog, some of who have been dipping in and out of 501 Places for the last six years.

There will be plenty more to follow over the next two weeks, but for now here are the links to our various social media platforms, along with the inevitable hashtag, #ngtuknomad. Feel free to follow, like, retweet, pour scorn or mute, as you see fit.

Twitter: @andyjarosz

Facebook: 501 Places

Instagram: sameenajarosz

Vine: andyjarosz 

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Freelance travel writer

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