Tess' first book “Leap: Leaving A Job With No Plan B to Find the Career and Life You Really Want” was published in August 2015 by Random House Harmony. For more information on the book, go here.

Tess Untethered | Petra, Jordan: A Dramatic Partnership of Man and Nature
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Petra, Jordan: A Dramatic Partnership of Man and Nature

Nov 05 2017

Petra, Jordan: A Dramatic Partnership of Man and Nature


I remember the first time I saw over the edge of the Grand Canyon. It was first light, after arriving in the dark the previous night, and I stepped out of the hotel door and around a corner and gasped so loudly that people turned around to see what was the matter.


I remember the moment Machu Picchu came into view after the short walk from the entrance… you glance to your right and there’s the towering Huayna Picchu, overlooking the citadel you’ve seen in so many photographs.


I remember driving over a steep hill in Cẩm Phả, in northern Vietnam, as the limestone karsts dotting Ha Long Bay appeared in the valley below, and I got a lump in my throat because I’d been dreaming of them for so long.


And now, I will always remember descending into a long, narrow canyon, flanked by soaring, ancient rocks, side by side with my parents, as Petra’s Treasury emerged from the crags in one of the most dramatic reveals that man and nature have ever partnered on.

This is 4th century A.D.


It’s going to be a while before I can pick my jaw up off the floor.



The Treasury, Petra, Jordan


Photo bomb #1

Photo bomb #2


There’s a special ceremony three nights a week where you’re allowed to go into the canyons, which are lit by rows of candles, and see a short music concert at the Treasury

Canyons leading down to the Treasury

First glimpse of the Treasury

View to part of Petra from column ruins. The sky was SO blue against these that I actually took it down a notch in post-processing because it was distracting.

Royal tombs of Petra (and site worker)

Theater of Petra

Kids selling donkey and camel rides to and from the top of the canyons

Royal tombs


View out from inside one of the royal tombs

The scale of Petra is mind-boggling — this is shot from the tombs looking out toward the colonnade

Bedouin on his cellphone, arranging rides for tourists

This group of young people was singing. At first you couldn’t tell where the sound was coming from, because of the echoes throughout the complex


Night shot looking up from the bottom of the canyon


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