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 | Sand and Scenes from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
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Sand and Scenes from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Nov 03 2017

Sand and Scenes from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Oh, Jordan. Where to begin. It’s my first visit to the Middle East, and there’s something surreal about being in this sliver of relative calm surrounded by conflict… Syria to the north, Iraq to the east, Israel to the west. The influx of refugees from Syria (more than 650,000 in the last two years) is having an enormous impact on the economy, and instability throughout the region is affecting both foreign investment and tourism. But what a jewel of a country… a jewel made of sand, but a sparkling one nevertheless.


We spent the first three days exploring Wadi Rum — a massive (720 sq km) desert in the south, known as Valley of the Moon. And it is nothing if not a moonscape… part of the reason The Martian filmed here. And, of course, it was also temporary home to T.E. Lawrence, i.e. Lawrence of Arabia. A live-action version of “Aladdin” is currently being filmed in one part of the desert… we saw a piece of set, but missed Will Smith (aka Genie) by two days.


Words escape me when trying to describe the vastness of this landscape, so I’ll let photographs try to do it for me instead. Tried some night photography, too, despite a near-full moon — those are at the end here. I’ve also developed a new obsession with a certain desert animal (and rode one for four hours under the desert sun).


Next up: Petra


Overwhelming vastness in the desert of Wadi Rum

Daylight moon over the desert

Canyons created by wind and rain over millennia

Petroglyphs from 800 BC

Bedouin camp

Bedouin tea in a Bedouin tent

The Bedouin in this tent didn’t want his photograph taken so I shot the glass of gorgeous tea instead…

This modern Bedouin didn’t mind having his picture taken at all. I told him I’d send a Red Sox cap to replace this one.

Rode this guy for four hours

Camels enjoy sunsets, too

My mother shot this photo of me trying to capture the enormity of that arch

Goats and goat herder

Camels like sunsets, too

Starry, starry night in the desert





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