After working on the frontline, my Jordan adventure helped me feel carefree again

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Travelling to Jordan with Flash Pack was my first big post-pandemic trip. I’m in my 40s, single, and felt I needed to go beyond where I live in the US and meet some new people. I wanted to experience somewhere else, just for a bit.

At home, I’m a family medicine doctor based in Decatur, Illinois. I was actually working in a hospital when the Covid-19 pandemic first hit. We tried hard to bring a sense of normalcy to the situation, helping patients on the ward to feel heard, and doing everything we could to support them. We strived to give the best care possible, and also give each other some grace. They were challenging times.

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When you become a doctor, you sign up for a lifetime of service

I think everyone has been affected by Covid, no matter what walk of life you come from. My co-workers and I hadn’t experienced anything like that in our lifetime. There was so much sickness and so many people who didn’t make it. It was really hard. I don’t feel proud of what I achieved during that time; I just feel lucky I survived. 

When you become a doctor, you sign up for a lifetime of service. Your first instinct is to take care of people and that never stops. But, giving so much of yourself on a daily basis makes it hard to shut off.

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On the plane to Amman, I felt instant relief

It’s a struggle to go home and carve out time for yourself; to take care of you. Healthcare workers have a tendency to shut off other parts of their personalities so that they can focus on that one thing. It’s a habit many of us fall into. 

So, when I got on the plane to the Jordanian capital, Amman, earlier this year, I felt instant relief. From day one, I was ready to have fun, allow my mind to relax, and dream again. It was like being given permission to be a carefree kid once more.

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I was so excited for the adventure aspect of the trip

I chose Jordan because I love history. I’ve always wanted to go to Petra. When I was a kid I would hoard all the National Geographic magazines. I wanted to explore and learn about all the different cultures and places.

I was so excited for the adventure aspect of the trip. In my day-to-day life, I like to hike, run and paddleboard in nearby lakes and forests. The experience side of the itinerary – the fact that we would be snorkelling, canyoning and trekking through the desert – really caught my eye.

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It felt like we all needed this break from normal life

I also love Middle Eastern food. It was amazing to learn more about their soups and spices, with the kind of culinary immersion you can’t find anywhere else. On day one, we went to the famous Falafel AlQuds restaurant, a favourite of the Jordanian royal family. The local people are incredibly hospitable – and the falafel and hummus were so good. 

My group were super-excited to meet one another and share the adventure together. It felt like we all needed this break from normal life,  a chance to reset and recharge in a totally new environment.

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There were other women with similar life experiences

My roommate, Heather, was perfect. I was hoping that Flash Pack would match me with someone like-minded and, although we have very different personalities, we really gelled. She’s a gem. We had such a great time. 

It also helped that there were other women on the trip with similar life experiences and stories to me. As a 40-something professional who is single with no children, it can be very isolating. I live in a small community where people tend to get married and start families young. You really feel it when you’re always the one who’s on your own. It’s hard not to feel pressure from the ‘norms’ society expects of us.

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It was the break I needed

Travelling with people who were in the same boat as me was such a breath of fresh air. It helped reinforce that I am right where I need to be, in terms of mindset and the path I’ve taken. 

My adventure to Jordan did me the world of good. It was the break I needed to be able to return home and to work with a clear mind, and a fresh perspective on how to help my patients. Having taken time out from constant care decisions and triaging, I’ve been able to rest my brain and let loose the more creative side of my personality. Because of that, I can be of even more service to the community I serve.

Kim Walker, 41, is a family medicine doctor from Decatur, Illinois, who travelled with Flash Pack to Jordan

Got a story or adventure that could inspire a solo traveller like you? Tag @flashpack on social or email [email protected] to be featured.

Images: Courtesy of Kim Walker, Flash Pack & Unsplash 

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