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In Middle East/ Podcast/ Travel

Archaeologist Jens Notroff is Living in His Golden Age of Travel

Jens Notroff is a German archaeologist based in Berlin. His work takes him to corners of the world where tourists don’t typically roam. Most recently he returned from working along the Turkish-Syrian border. He’s also a traveler and refuses to believe that the “Golden Age of Travel” is behind us. Jens joins Without A Path to share his experiences as an archaeologist, traveler, and sketch artist.

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2 In Africa/ Asia/ Middle East/ Travel

Top 8 Off the Tourist Trek Destinations for 2017

We’ve all heard about what a crummy year 2016 was from Zika to Brexit and Trump to celebrities gone too soon. It got so bad, people were looking back to 2006’s Children of Men as some kind of peek into the future. (Happy New Year! Humanity is sterile.)

Methinks we could all use something to look forward to. Something to get the imagination running and potentially even build a little excitement in our respective lives.

Nothing takes my mind off things more than travel, whether it’s the actual act of travel, planning a trip or simply reading of another’s travels. This works exponentially well if said destination is someplace a bit off the tourist trek. After all, Without A Path is primarily interested in getting to those lesser-traveled corners of the world to hear more stories and expand our worldview. As Alexander von Humboldt said, “The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who have not viewed the world.”

I think the idea behind that quote is more important now than perhaps ever before. With that in mind, we’re offering for the first time a look at the coming year’s top off the tourist trek destinations as decided by travel writers. For this first edition I solicited inquiries from “The Road Less Traveled” Facebook group, which is made up of travelers who participate in the weekly #TRLT twitter chat. These travelers have shown an exceptional interest in expanding their worldview by traveling to and writing about destinations not typically at the top of a tourist’s wish list.

Below are 8 destinations followed by the traveler’s case for following in their footsteps in 2017. Continue Reading →

In Middle East/ Travel

A Traditional Jordanian Dinner with A Piece Of Jordan


There are a number of ways to experience a different culture, but few beat dining with a local family.

I was in Petra in the midst of a 10-day trip around Jordan when an invite came for dinner with the founder of A Piece Of Jordan, a community-based tourism project. Basically everyone who’s going to Jordan already knows to check out the Indiana Jones temple from The Last Crusade. I’m of course talking about The Treasury, an incredibly elaborate stone temple constructed by the ancient Nabatean Kingdom around the age of the Hellenistic and Roman Empires, which is why the carving looks partly designed by a Greek architect.

Hiking those ancient ruins went down as one of my personal favorite travel experiences, something I’ve already gone on about in a little travel narrative video I put together on the trip. But what solidified that visit to Petra as truly memorable was dinner with Steph Altwassi and her Jordanian family.

I met her in the hotel lobby, unsure of how much English she spoke. (My Arabic went as far as “hi,” “bye,” and “thank you.”) Then something surprising happened. Continue Reading →

In Middle East/ Podcast/ Travel

Why Jordan is the Destination to Visit in the Middle East

Some North Americans might think travel to the Middle East is dangerous, but Jordan is an obvious exception to that rule. On this episode of Without A Path, Joe recounts his trip to Jordan with Laura. But first, they review the latest travel news, including how travel has changed from one generation to the next and travel bloggers flocking to Minnesota for TBEX.

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How travel has changed from one generation to the next by Claire Trageser, Mashable

Most millennials — the often maligned group born roughly from 1980 to 2000 — don’t speak five languages, but they have something else in common with Salia: They’re looking for different travel experiences than what their parents did when they were in their twenties.

While they still may visit Europe, many named other destinations as their “if you could go anywhere, where would it be” travel dream. Millennials interviewed for this story said they next wanted to go to countries in South America, Africa and Asia.

With tourism rising, travel bloggers flock to Minnesota by Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield, CBS Minnesota

Tourism is on an upswing, with hotel and lodging occupancy expected to climb 42 percent from last year.

The bustle kicked off Memorial Day as travel bloggers from all over the world came to Mall of America.

The lakes, the food, the nightlife — writers gathered here to tell the world what so many Minnesotans already know.

Where was ‘The Martian’ filmed? by Jenna Scherer, Condé Nast

One of the latest speculative forays to the fourth planet is The Martian,Ridley Scott’s Oscar-nominated flick about an astronaut (Matt Damon) who winds up stranded on the planet’s surface and must figure out a way to survive solo. To approximate Mars’s dusty red environs, Scott shot the movie’s exteriors in Wadi Rum in southern Jordan. Also called the Valley of the Moon, the 278-square-mile protected area looks about as Martian as you’re likely to find on Earth.

This isn’t the first time Wadi Rum has played Mars on film. Scenes from two 2000 thrillers, Red Planetand Mission to Mars,were also shot here, as was 2013’s The Last Days on Mars.(The valley has also played itself, most notably in David Lean’s 1962 masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia.)

In Middle East/ Travel

4 Things You Need to Know About Traveling in Jordan

Four things you need to know about traveling in Jordan


In fact, reality is quite the opposite. They love talking to people who appear to be foreigners, ask them where they’re from, and even invite them to their place for tea. One of my favorite encounters thus far has to be when two Jordanians asked if I’m French.

“France?” one said in muddled English.

Ána min Amérika,” I responded in horrific Arabic.

“Good!” both responded with their thumbs up and smiles wide. “America good. France… No.”

Though the American in me appreciated the random Franco jab, I’m almost certain he would’ve said the opposite if I did say I was from France. See? Jordanians are so welcoming, they’ll make a joke about a country your nationality would likely already make jokes about. Continue Reading →

In Middle East/ Travel

How to Prepare for the Cinematic Sights of Jordan

Petra in Jordan

Photo: Peter Langer

North American travelers know more about Jordan than they think. That is, if they’ve seen a movie or two.

Cinematic classics and modern favorites alike have counted on Jordan to serve as their respective backdrops, namely the country’s famous desert, Wadi Rum. We’re talking everything from Lawrence of Arabia to 2015’s The Martian where the aforementioned desert played the role of Mars. Not coincidentally, Wadi Rum has stepped in for the Red Planet on at least two other occasions. Continue Reading →