Sometimes getting out of your comfort zone starts with a step into new territory, a place that gives you the chance to experience something new. And traveling with a friend makes it all the more special. Oprah and I have been fortunate enough to travel to many places, but neither of us had been to Jordan, although we both always wanted to visit. So we decided that now is the time for us to tour the country. Even though we just left, we’re already so excited to go back!
Take a peek inside our weeklong adventure. Fair warning: The photos don’t do this place justice.
Meet our crew
One of the highlights for me on this trip was visiting Petra—but a beautiful place can only be made better with the right company. This was part of our travel crew: hairstylist Giselle Modeste, makeup artist Derrick Rutledge, Oprah, and me. Petra is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, so this is what we call a must-see.
Follow me down to the Jordan stream
Tourists come from all corners of the world to visit the baptism site of Jesus Christ—and we are no different. The historical site is just on the east bank of the Jordan River, and we could literally see Israel from where we stood. Usually, the grounds leading to the water are blocked off, but we were lucky enough to go right to the edge. We all took a bit of the river water to go and keep with us.
Thank you to our tour guide!
Let me tell you about Adeeb, our tour guide, who showed us around Petra. Our driver told us, “I never saw a guy’s mouth stretch that wide,” because he was so excited to meet Oprah. This is what “wearing your heart on your face” looks like.
Pucker up, buttercup
In all the years that I’ve known her (I’m talking 45-plus years), I have never seen Oprah pose with a kissy face. I guess she was inspired by the camel.
See that structure right behind me, Oprah, and the camels? That is the Treasury, and if it looks familiar, it’s where Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was filmed. This place is even more grand and beautiful and detailed than it looks.
A gorgeous gorge
To get to the Treasury, you must pass through the Siq—a rocky gorge. It splits and winds naturally, and the rocks change color as you’re going through it: some salmon, sandy red, brown, and even copper.
O is for old olive tree
It may not look like it, but this olive tree is no less than 700 years old. When Oprah heard that, she insisted she take a picture with it. Shout-out to the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea for making a tree lover’s afternoon.
Welcome to Wadi Rum
Another place to add to your Jordan bucket list is the Wadi Rum desert. People come here and set up camp. We were invited to spend the night in a tent, but we graciously declined.
Yes, this is Oprah on our three-hour-and-some-change car ride from Amman to Petra. We were supposed to take a helicopter but had to change plans because of bad weather. Can you tell how excited she is about that?
There’s always time to stop for a selfie (and to stop for someone to take a photo of you taking a selfie).
Even when I’m on vacation, I have homework, but boy, was it a joy to read Michelle Miller’s memoir, Belonging! We spent one day of our trip shopping in Aqaba, and I thought it would be fun to stop for a quick read and take a photo, as one does.
The Dead Sea
If I travel all the way to the Jordan, you’d better believe I am going to float in the Dead Sea. Oprah always tells me we have different ideas of fun, so she left Derrick, Giselle, and I to roll in the mud before heading out for a facial.
Oprah cheering us on from the sidelines
You can say that Oprah and I had very different Dead Sea experiences.
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Gayle King is the Editor at Large at Oprah Daily and co-host of CBS Mornings. When she’s not on air, Gayle is diving into all things news, trending topics, and pop culture. Yet, her favorite job is being the mom to her favorite daughter, Kirby, favorite son, Will, and grandmother, or as she prefers it, Gaia to her favorite grandson Luca. Follow her on Instagram.