As the bus stopped near the entrance of Petra, I had no idea about what I would be looking forward to in Petra. I just knew one thing, as Mosaic’s Managing Director Jonathan Freeman mentioned, and it was that we would have to be back at the entrance by 6 pm. So I in fact wondered what was there to do as there was ‘a lot of time in hand’ – It was not more than 11:30 am when we arrived!
I was entering the gate and got an idea that the scorching sun would challenge me while enjoying the beauty of Petra. So I bought a scarf (known as “Shmagh” in Jordan). I luckily had an expert in fellow delegate Amaal Al-Khatatbeh around who helped me buy a suitable one. I bought it and enjoyed as the shopkeeper wrapped it around my head artistically. I bet I was looking good! 😉
I entered and did not want to get anything to eat as my stomach was quite full. Little did I know that this would highly affect my experience of Petra visit!
I was lucky to be accompanied by Amaal once again. We were capturing the beautiful scenes of the cliffs and natural artefacts. We were amazed by the beauty of it. Our voices echoed in the natural tunnel that existed there. Amaal even described how rainwater was collected here through the peeping channels made by the dwellers of this place when civilization existed. I imagined how beautiful it was when the rainwater would enchant and children would drench in the rain and watch the elders collect the secret rainwater!
We walked for some more time. It was then that I realized that I should have carried more water. My head started to spin and I began to wonder where the nearest shop of ‘the delicious lunch’ would be. Little did I know that the nearest time of my next meal would not be before 6 pm!
It had been a few hours then. Luckily I could find a juice shop. It was expensive but getting a drink was worth it. I started walking again after a few minutes rest. The thought of going back to the starting point was already peeping through in my head. We kept on walking and it was nice to find our group members at several occasions on the way. They crossed us with full of energy. Surely, they had enough water and grabbed something to eat at the entrance, or so I thought! ‘How smart they were!’
It did not take very long before my body started to riot against my willingness to continue the journey. There were horses and donkeys, and the sight of these beautiful creatures turned into sights similar to the sign of oasis in the desert. But I kept walking. Amaal encouraged me and explained how important it was to remain ‘cheerful’ amongst the middle of a dismal ‘desert’. I wondered how much endurance and positive thinking the people living in the desert, the ones we watch in popular Hollywood movies, actually have. It was the time that I put my positive thinking into action too! I was lucky to be able to visit one of the 7 wonders of the world.
The day was crossing mid-noon. The Sun-God wanted to test my willpower even more. At one point I had to tell Amaal that may be it was time we headed back. She persisted that we should move on. I thought she really wanted to see the whole of Petra so I did not discourage her. Interestingly, as it turned out, it was actually me that she believed should explore Petra as it was like a life-time opportunity for me.
I was counting the length of time as I was walking, and was comparing to that which I would normally walk in my country, in the familiar places, filled with people, and with ample food and water. I could feel the dehydration in my body gradually decreasing my spirit. To lower the spirit even further, there was the concern of time constraints. If I took the time to go further I would have to take the same time, and even longer (as hunger and fatigue would slow me down) to come back to the very starting point.
The sight and the feeling that the camel sitting there could eat your cellphone when Amaal was taking a ‘selfie’ did not make me laugh. I do not exactly remember but I think it reinforced the thought about how tired I was. Suddenly I sensed euphoria to recall something that I learnt during the summit “Go out of your comfort zone”! I immediately took the challenge of competing with time, heat and drainage of energy! So I kept walking and exploring the beautiful city of Petra. Probably I was going faster now.
We came to a point where we found a restaurant beside the museum. Of course I did realize that it would not be possible to enjoy whatever beautiful things were there inside the museum. But the sign of energy source like the food and water gave me a boost in my motivation. I chose to take a shot of coffee.
As soon as I started again I was being quite alert of the time that I had by which we needed to come back to the starting point. I could feel the energy boosted a little bit due to the coffee. And yes, Amaal’s company kept me motivated. Then we started to ascend the stairs, just before which she let me know that there were 900 stairs to reach the highest point. I tried to figure out how far it would be in terms of vertical distance comparing to only 48 steps of stairs that I have at home.
What I did not know about is the fact that the entire 900 stairs were not linked together in a vertical pattern and that there were horizontal and rough areas to cover at many points. So when I found that out I thought it was kind of interesting how I was experiencing the control on my mind and that is by recalling the magic phrase regarding your leadership and the comfort zone.
Suddenly, a few more known faces amazed me and in there stood my group leader, Muhammad Furqan, an amazing person I have come to know through the Mosaic ILP! It was nice seeing him there as I was motivated to an even greater degree.
Another thing that was so remarkable was how Amaal demonstrated her leadership qualities to inspire me! At one point she told me that she was going to leave me alone. All I had to do now was to go by myself and reach the maximum distance. She also set a particular time of the clock till when I should start moving back so that I could come back on time. She also assured that she would wait for me at this place where she left me alone.
By conquering the fear and discomfort while going all alone, I finally celebrated reaching near the end point as I rendezvoused with other travellers of Mosaic. I was happy to have Amaal by my side as she continued to inspire me and demonstrated her leadership qualities by helping me to bring the same out of myself.
Deema Bibi’s saying that if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together, came out to be so true! Also, as I realize, the journey in Petra was the example that I set for myself by learning to think to step out of my comfort zone.
All the learning experiences during our sessions created significant impacts which I believe will help us to keep us inspiring others and making positive changes to people’s lives.
Amaal Al-Khatatbeh is a Renewable Energy Engineer who envisions helping her country Jordan to achieve self-sufficiency in energy. She is passionate about making social change and greening the world. Amaal is the founder of the Environment and Health Club at German Jordanian University and is an adventurer at “Sabelat Al-Hassan Camp” of Prince Hassan Center for Youth.