Indagare Member Jolie Goodson, a Portland-based professional photographer, fulfilled a lifelong dream of traveling to Egypt this past October with her husband on one of our Insider Journeys trips, followed by a custom extension to Jordan, planned by Trip Designer Lizzie Eberhart. Here, she shares some of her favorite photographs and moments from the adventure—and why everyone should be traveling to Egypt and Jordan now.
What inspired you to travel to Egypt and Jordan?
Jolie Goodson: Egypt has intrigued me since I was a young girl. I had been unsure about visiting for safety reasons for a number of years, but when [Indagare founder] Melissa [Biggs Bradley] told me that now is the ideal time to go, and that no trip had impacted her more, on the Insider Journey at Mii amo, I was finally inspired to book!
Were there any surprising elements that your Trip Designer added to the itinerary?
JG: Wadi Rum was incredible! The tented camp experience in the valley was once-in-a-lifetime—and that’s the sort of thing I believe Indagare does so well. We would never have known about it on our own. It truly felt as though we were visiting Mars, with the red sand and severe desert landscape. I am so grateful to have witnessed Wadi Rum for myself. It’s the sort of place that reminds you how magical and amazing this world is, and how worth it it is to get out and see it.
What was your favorite moment in Egypt?
JG: We absolutely loved the cruise along the Nile river. It was the highlight of the trip! I’m a photographer, so to wake up in the morning, open up our sliding glass doors, and take photos in my bathrobe was incredible. Seeing the golden morning light on the water, and watching men fishing with nets from their wooden boats, or women washing clothes and rugs from the shore—the way they have for hundreds of years—was awe-inspiring.
What was your favorite moment in Jordan?
JG: Besides Wadi Rum…floating in the Dead Sea! My husband Jeff was literally floating on top of the water; it was hilarious. And the surreal pink, purple, and blue colors the water took on in the morning light were completely gorgeous—and the insane salt patterns that were made! We couldn’t believe it was real.
What is unique about traveling to these two countries?
JG: I like to push myself with travel—to see what I’m made of. These two countries fit that bill because they are so different from my home. My curiosity was given the freedom to really thrive. There was so much to take in that was different, from clothing and food to manners and customs. But then, while those things were different, so much was the same—for instance, the way that families interact. Kids are cute and spunky and make everyone laugh. Experiencing the differences and similarities between cultures around the world is one of my favorite things to do in life.
Based on your experience, what would you say to travelers who are unsure about visiting the Middle East and North Africa?
JG: Oh, I would encourage it wholeheartedly. Although it definitely helps to have a company like Indagare have your back. The airport attendants you arranged were particularly wonderful. Navigating crossings and customs in a foreign country, especially in that part of the world, can be majorly anxiety-inducing—and I’ve experienced it! But not with Indagare. Your partners took care of everything and made us feel completely safe and at ease.
What are your travel photography tips?
JG: Something many people are not aware of is that light is the Number One thing to make or break a photograph—which is why so many photographers are willing to get up early or stick around late, or carry gadgets to bounce light, etc. So if a photo isn’t working for you, come at it from a different side, or change your angle, or wait for the light to change. You will most likely be surprised at what light can do, once you play around with it—which is when photography gets fun! Light is what brings the magic to a photograph.
What was your favorite thing to photograph in Egypt and Jordan?
JG: The beautiful, joyful, confident young women who wanted to connect with me. Out of everywhere I’ve been in the world, this happened in Egypt like never before. These women had full smiles, full pride and enthusiasm. To the beautiful women around the world crushing life: I love you!
How long have you been practicing photography?
JG: Since age 14!
Where is next on your bucket list?
JG: A safari in Tanzania! The light across the Serengeti is sure to be magic.