There’s an expression in the Bedouin culture that means you are 2/3 your uncle. A mother’s brother plays an important role in raising the kids. They say they can identify which family a child belongs to by the way they act more than the way they look. The child may look like he belongs to a certain tribe but in fact be from another tribe identified immediately by the way he speaks and acts.
And there’s another expression that means hosting a single woman is like hosting 100 men. If a man comes to your tent you must offer him bread and tea but if a woman comes you must prepare a full meal.
And there’s a rule that if a stranger comes to your tent for food, you need to feed him and host him for three days before you can ask him what he is doing there and where he comes from.
Stuff like this is fascinating to me.
It’s Day 4 here in Jordan and these quotes are in my journal. You think you know something about a certain culture and religion and then you meet real people living out here near the desert and you realize how very little you know of the world.
It’s one thing to see pictures and read about these people. And then another thing altogether to actually meet them and look into their eyes, share tea, and laugh over jokes.
They say things like, “the goat ate my homework” and then laugh loud and explain the joke in case we don’t get it. “Do you understand why I am saying the goat? Because in the USA you say the dog ate my homework and here, we have goats. Do you see? It is funny, yes?” And then they laugh again.
“I like you too much,” they say. “Do you want to be my wife? Wait here and I will ask my mother if you can be my wife, ok? I will make all the bread for you. I will give you three camels.”
Your heart opens when you find funny and kind people like this around the world. It’s one of the things I like most about travel. And to be honest, there’s no excuse not to do more of it.
All those hours you spend in front of the TV, playing solitaire on your computer or sifting through Facebook messages… I get why we do these things. For me at least, it’s because I’m overwhelmed and bored at the same time.
I’ve got kids to raise, school projects to plan out, groceries to plan, bills to pay, a house to run, cars and a yard to maintain, and I’m running a company with nine employees who expect me to not only be there every day but actually contribute.
So, when the kids are finally in bed and 8:30 rolls around, the last thing I want to do is start a new project. But then I take a trip like this to Jordan and I’m reminded why I’m alive in the first place.
I’m reminded that I’m in control of what my days look like and that trips like these actually help me get more done and be my best self for all those other roles I play—mom, wife, boss, friend, daughter, sister, and occasionally moneybags and shoulder to cry on.
Some say the money comes first. You can’t travel until you have the funds. But I say: The tiniest of trips can actually light a fire to make that money. And that, in fact, burnout is what is holding a lot of people back.
Bored and overwhelmed at the same time is a dangerous place to be. It makes you feel like you need a TV, a cell phone app that tells you what others are doing with their lives, and an amazing month-long rest to recover from the hamster wheel you’re on.
To break free, you need to do something that inspires you. Something like a trip to Jordan, or volunteering at a soup kitchen, to remind you that “life” is actually hidden off to the side of that hamster wheel.
It’s a creative spark that helps you out of a rut, and these things can be found everywhere.
I found mine earlier this year experimenting with cell phone photography. I just started Googling tips and the next thing I knew it had me learning new things in Lightroom and with my big camera, too.
The year before last it was video. Hitting that little video button on my camera changed the way I look at things. I had no idea what I was doing, but within minutes I was hooked and learned more in one hour than I’d learned in a year.
Next year it might be 360 photography. It’s such an interesting market and the paychecks for a week worth of work are pretty fantastic.
All this is what we’re talking about at this year’s Ultimate Photographer’s Workshop.
It’s inspiration, motivation, and ideas wrapped into one three-day event, and it comes with the power of a group.
They say learning and success are easier to achieve when done with a group of like-minded others, and in my 18 years of building these events, I know that to be true.
It’s a strange but cool phenomenon that explains why all our best success stories come from these live events.
You won’t regret it, I promise.