Meet Marre, In2Jordan’s trainee travel consultant who says a series of chance encounters led her down a dream career path in Middle-Eastern tourism.

As the saying goes: It’s not what you know, but who you know. For Dutch tourism student, Marre Van Lente, the saying has never been more accurate. After all, it was a chance meeting with a horse guide in Petra which led her to In2Jordan.

Marre’s In2Jordan story began in 2012 on her first visit to Jordan. “I was traveling with my mother and sister,” says Marre. “I love Arabian horses and wanted to fulfill my dream of riding through Petra.”

When a family issue called Marre’s initial horse guide away during their ride, Bedouin vet, Emad took over.

 

Emad and Marre – 2012

“Emad rears Arabian horses which he uses for endurance races in the desert,” says Marre. “While interacting with his horses, Emad mentioned there was a small Dutch community of ex-pats living in Petra and put me in touch with his friend, Jolanda Koopman.

 

“Marre found herself developing a deep desire to live and work in the Middle East.”

“At the time, Jolanda was frequently traveling back and forth between The Netherlands and Petra. I got to meet her over dinner in Amsterdam on my return home from my holiday,” says Marre.

In the months that followed, Marre found herself developing a deep desire to live and work in the Middle East.

“Within two years of my first Jordanian adventure, I went backpacking around Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Jordan,” Marre recalls. “I got a job in a guesthouse in Amman and realized I really enjoyed answering guest enquiries about what they should see while in Jordan.”

“It was during this time that Marre had her second chance encounter.”

It was during this time that Marre had her second chance encounter. “One day, I was traveling through Amman in a taxi and got talking with Osama, the driver,” Marre explains. “I told him I was from The Netherlands and he asked me if I knew the Dutch ladies living in Petra. I told him ‘yes, Jolanda’!”

“Suddenly, he passed me his phone and I found myself talking to Carmen, In2Jordan’s co-founder. She is also Dutch and a friend of Jolanda’s, so when she invited me for coffee, I accepted” says Marre.

Before she’d had a single sip of coffee in Carmen’s living room, Marre says she didn’t have any intention to study tourism. Instead her plan was to return to The Netherlands to study Arabic. Once the cup had been drained however, Marre realized a career in the travel industry could be the key to unlocking her future in the Middle East.

“Carmen and Jolanda both explained that they enjoy working at In2Jordan because they got to unveil the wonders of Jordan to others,” says Marre. “I am the same! I love to make people enthusiast about the Middle East by telling stories from my own experiences.”

“Jordan has so much more to offer than the major sites of Petra and Wadi Rum.”

When Marre officially joined In2Jordan in May 2017, it was her sixteenth trip to the Middle East. “I’m excited to complete this internship at In2Jordan as part of my new course in tourism and Arabic,” says Marre. “Every day I get to help people travel through this magnificent country – something that I think everyone should do.”

“Jordan has so much more to offer than the major sites of Petra and Wadi Rum. I also think that Jordan is an ideal country for those who want a first taste of Middle Eastern life or for those who are unsure about the region,” says Marre.

Marre and Carmen at the Dead Sea Adventure Conference, May 2017

“My home is in the Middle East. One day I will live in Egpyt and work in tourism or for an NGO there.”

For the next few months, Marre will divide her time learning from In2Jordan’s destination experts in Aqaba, Petra and Amman. At the weekend however, you’ll likely find her sitting in a small coffee house in Jabel Weibdeh.

“It’s Amman’s most multi-cultural and artistic neighborhood,” Marre explains. “Here, the Muslim and Christian communities mingle in a contemporary scene of art galleries and cafes, but with a distinct Middle-Eastern flavour.”

In November, Marre will return to Holland to complete her studies. When asked how she feels to head home, Marre gives a perplexed look. “Home? My home is in the Middle East. One day I will live in Egpyt and work in tourism or for an NGO there. For now, my home is in Jordan.”

For more information on In2Jordan’s itineraries, excursions or intern program, visit https://in2jordan.com/tours/

Patricia Enkels, In2Jordan travel consultant and horse riding guide, says she is living a dream. Read on to discover how you too can fall in love with Jordan from horse back, just as Patricia did.

When Belgium-born traveler, Patricia Enkels booked her holiday to Jordan in 2004, she fully expected to fall in love with the beauty of Wadi Rum from a-top her horse. As a passionate rider, horseback was her favourite mode to explore the many countries she’d visited before – why would Jordan be any different?

What Patricia didn’t count on was falling in love with her Bedouin horse tour guide, Eid. “From the moment we met, it was love,” laughs Patricia. “We shared a passion for horses, wanting to uncover the hidden treasures of the desert, and for guiding people through truly rewarding experiences. How could I resist!”

“A horseback adventure is a trip of a lifetime.”

Today Patricia says she is living a dream come true. Together with her now husband, Eid, Patricia leads In2Jordan’s horse tours, guiding guests on four and six day riding trips through the Jordanian desert.

“Eid started guiding horse tours a few years before we met and I started working in the tourism industry in 2007,” says Patricia. “Being able to organize horse rides with our own horses, and helping guests to uncover the magic of the desert every day is truly something special.”

Whether completing a desert loop across incredible rock formations and natural springs, or trekking from Petra to Wadi Rum; Patricia says a horseback adventure is a trip of a lifetime.

“We journey through mountainous areas, over vast sand plains and along steep rock formations.”

“Riding through the south of Jordan where the natural environment is ruggedly beautiful is really impressive. We journey through mountainous areas, over vast sand plains and along steep rock formations. The feeling of the breeze on your skin while listening to the silence of the desert as you tread past red sand dunes, really is like no other.”

For Patricia, it is the response she gets from her guests that keeps her passionate about her work. “Someone telling you they just had the nicest ride they’d ever experienced or just seen the most beautiful desert in their life, is so rewarding.”

For those interested in booking a horseback tour in Jordan, Patricia is happy to answer any questions. She does have one tip in advance though: “Pack wet wipes! After a long day riding through the dusty desert, a packet of wet wipes is your best friend.”

To find out more about In2Jordan’s horse back tours, or to contact Patricia and Eid, visit https://in2jordan.com/intineraries/

While in Jordan, why stay on the beaten track when you can make your own? Introducing Eid, In2Jordan’s horse riding guide who can show you how.

Age: 38 years

Occupation: Guide for horse riding treks and tours

Languages spoken: Fluent Arabic, fluent English.

Q. How long have you been working with In2Jordan?

A. I’ve been guiding horse tours for over 15 years and its been 3 years since I hosted my first horse guided trek for In2Jordan.

Q. What is your cultural heritage?

A. I’m Jordanian, born and raised in Wadi Musa – the town next to Petra.

Q. Have you always had a passion for horses?

A. Yes, my father used to have a horse when I was a child and I worked in Petra with his horse when I was younger.

Q. What do you enjoy most about working with tourists in Jordan?

A. Showing people around our country and showing them the true Jordanian hospitality.

Q. Can you tell me what people love most about their experience with you?

A. They feel as if they are with friends. They are not just our customers.

Q. Why are horse riding tours of Jordan perfect for both beginner riders as well as proficient riders?

A. We have different trek options to match the riding experience of our customers.

The short 1.5 hour horse ‘walking’ tour for example, is suitable for beginners. When we have groups (two or more people),  each horse is given a personal guide who leads the horse via a rope. This means any assistance they might need isn’t far away and the guest gets to focus on enjoying the view.

Our longer ride options better suit intermediate or experienced riders because you need to be able to control your horse. These longer rides can span from three-hour tours to full day, two day, four day or 6 day rides.

No matter which tour you choose, horse riding treks give guests the chance to see a whole different side of Jordan. We take roads that other tourists don’t get to go down and, we get the chance to meet some locals along the way.

Q. Where is your favorite place to visit in Jordan and why?

A. Wadi Rum because of the wide open spaces and the silence.

Q. If you weren’t operating horse tours in Jordan, what other job might you be doing now?

A. Absolutely no idea. I can’t imagine a better life.

Click the following link to find out how you can join Eid on his next trek from Petra to Wadi Rum on horseback.