The World Is Not As Scary As You Think It Is

Over the next month, I’ll be posting several articles on my recent trip to Jordan sponsored by the Jordan Tourism Board. These will be posting on Saturday’s in addition to all of our regularly scheduled content and will be focused on travel, adventure and living a better story. Enjoy.

I shot this video on in Aqaba, Jordan on the coast of the Red Sea. You can see Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Egypt all from where I’m standing.

[click to watch the video in email]

The world is not as scary as you think it is.

When I told people I was going to Jordan, the first thing they would ask is: “Where is Jordan?” When they find out it’s in the middle east, the second thing they would say is:

“YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. “

After I stopped laughing at their foregone conclusion, I’d respond: “probably not.”

Of course I could die going to Jordan. I also could die crossing the street, walking the dog, and stuffing my face with pizza on the couch. You could die doing lots of things, but you probably won’t. Unfortunately, it’s an excuse that many people use to stay within their comfort zone and never venture out and do something interesting.

When I last checked, the death rate was hovering right around the 100% mark, so if you think jumping out of a plane, off a bridge, visiting new countries, finding the holy grail or spending 24 hours on mars is dangerous and going to kill you and should therefore be avoided, then you’re going to live a relatively uneventful life.

Sure, there are bad people doing bad things everywhere but thinking that bad people are in the majority anywhere you go, keeps you from enjoying the good people and the good things that actually are there.

Saying the middle east is dangerous because there are a few volatile countries is very much like saying North America is dangerous because parts of Mexico has drug cartels. There are bad parts, but there are great parts too and by lumping everything together as “bad” you miss out on it all.

The odd thing about life is that most people fixate so much on living longer that they never figure out how to live better. They choose to stay in one place, never travel, explore or adventure and believe the lie that other people hate them because they wear Nike’s, have McDonald’s and watch Snookie on TV (well Snookie is actually a valid reason). Plenty of people die after living a life doing interesting things. Plenty of people die after living a life doing boring things. You get to choose which type of person you become.

While there are much more experienced travelers than myself that can attest to this, the truth is, once you start exploring the world, you realize that, contrary to what you might hear on the news, most people are good – no matter where they live, what language they speak or what beliefs they have – and

Adventure is defined by the unknown. It’s going places you haven’t gone before and doing things you haven’t done before. Sometimes that’s scary – but it’s seldom as scary as you think it will be or as other people tell you it will be. And, you probably won’t die. You might, but you probably won’t. But, if you never get out of your comfort zone and adventure, it’s all too easy to stay the same, never change and bore yourself to death.

***

If you’re not doing something that scares you every once in a while, you’re doing it wrong.

The world isn’t as scary as you think it is. And if you are scared of something, do it anyways – you probably won’t die. Do something hard, something that makes you nervous, something that’s scary. Because when you do it,  you’ll realize those scary things aren’t that scary at all and that being scared was the scariest part of all.

The world is not as scary as you think it is. Get out there and adventure. Jordan is a great place to start.

For the record, the most danger I ever found myself while in Jordan was snorkeling in the middle of the Red Sea, surrounded by legions of jellyfish who all were – oddly enough – not be poisonous. As evidence, see exhibit A below.

Red Sea Jellyfish Impossible

While the entire trip to Jordan was sponsored by JTB, all opinions within are completely mine.

Comments

  1. says

    Man. I agree 100% Always telling people to just get out there and live… stop complaining about their situation and change it. Lovin’ the post.

    ps. your embedded tweet didn’t work (you gotta use the [embed] tags), and you linked @umarket twice… lucky buggers.

    I didn’t mate it to Jordan, but I went diving the Red Sea a few times on the Egyptian side.

  2. says

    Hi Joel… for whatever I want to do, you are so inspiring!!! Travelling to Jordan is one of the things I want to do this year (hopefully for Xmas). My kind of trip is not adventurous but cultural… I want to see and visit and explore Petra. I will vontinue to.read the rest of the posts you have on this destination.
    Ps, now Im in the Camvodian airport waiting for my BAngkok plane.
    Ps, sorry for my poor english (Im argentinian and living in Spain is not a good way to improve it hehe)
    Ps, if someday you come to Madrid, would be a pleasure to take you for tapas and cañas! ;)

    • Enrico says

      In times like these, your post on Jordan is very informative, actually not many know how safe Jordan is.
      I work as a travel agent, I am Italian and I live here in Amman since 2006 and I never had a problem with anybody. I can walk in the night alone at 2 am and none would bother me.
      I am so convinced that Jordan is a rising destination for tourists that I decided to open Discover Jordan Tours made by foreigners that love this destination and want to share its beauties with anyone.

      Cheers and greetings to everyone!
      Enrico

  3. says

    You are actually safer in another country than you are at home. I think 80% of people die within 5 miles of their house. That said, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and not make yourself a target in countries you visit. I’ve had a couple of scary situations in South America and the Middle East, but I’ve also had incidents walking to the parking lot where I work. The first group definitely makes for better stories.

  4. says

    Joel…honestly…I was waiting to see a CRUISE missle, or a SCUD flying through the air any second that you were talking in that video. Seriously. Though…I believe you when you say it’s not as scary as it may seem. Kind of like when I went to Sao Paulo Brazil…was a little worried. A friend of mine, Robert Shemin, has a 2nd home in Columbia…and HE LOVES IT THERE. Travels there all the time.
    I think you are right…if we all would just step out of our comfort zone…we’d really it’s only our “pre-implanted” fears holding us back.
    Rock on!
    Brandon

  5. says

    “The odd thing about life is that most people fixate so much on living longer that they never figure out how to live better.” BOOM

    I love this message, it’s been one I’ve been trying to spread as well. Life is an adventure, get out there and live your story.

    Thanks Joel.

  6. says

    Joel,

    I completely agree. I am glad you are having a great time in Jordan.

    I live in Amman with my family and we feel safer here than in many big cities in America.

    My business partner and I actually hitch-hiked the whole length of Jordan last year, 22 cars later and amazing hospitality we felt safe the whole time.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip in Jordan. What else do you plan in seeing?

    Daniel

    • says

      We were there for 8 days and saw Amman, Aqaba (awesome), Wadi Rum (my favorite), the Dead Sea, Petra and quite a few places in between. I loved Jordan – definitely coming back.

  7. says

    Couldn’t agree with you more! I’m actually an expat in Jordan and after living here for one year now people STILL question my safety haha. And I’m sure you realized in just the short amount of time that you were here that the people here really try to make you feel at home as much as possible. The hospitality is amazing! (I may not want to go back to the states haha)

  8. says

    Hey great post. I think it’s a very American phenomenon to be scared of the middle east- but that’s the fault of your media and right wing politicians.
    A bit of fear seems to be your thing though – how about a trip to Palestine? To highlight the lives and struggles of the amazing Palestinian people.
    Xo

  9. says

    Hallo, I’ve found this page by coincidence and read it with pleasure. Jordan is a wonderful place wit friendly people and lots to visit.
    I have worked in Jordan for 7 months as a host for Thomas Cook in hotel Marina Plaza (in Tala Bay, Aqaba).

    When I told my relatives I was moving to Jordan for the next 7 months they were kinda shocked. The middle east? Are you sure? It’s so dangerous. What if this and what if that. Middle East has been wrong interpreted by many, including me before I went to Jordan, I have to admit.

    Going to Jordan as my first unknown destination changed me and my view on the world. Most people I know are so close minded. Only when you learn that the world has more to offer than your own back yard, you start to appreciate new countries, new cultures, new adventures.

    Hope you have/had a great trip in Jordan.

  10. Bruce says

    Agree that fear should not be a block to getting out into the world. A newspaper’s-view of the world isn’t the right one.

    Especially true for Americans.

    But. I feel much humbler about making pronouncements about whether the world is scary or not. I know too many people, and too many parents with children, who have lived much or most of their lives under crushing conditions they didn’t create and don’t sustain. I can’t tell them what their world is really like if they tell me it’s scary.

    Maybe I’ve lived too long, seen too much.

    But agree: fear is never an excuse.

  11. says

    I fully agree with you Joel , yes I’d like too to visit the River Jordan , to relax to get out of my house , you are so inspiring , I love this post . Thank you . Good luck.

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