When You Try to Keep it Together, But Some Days You Just Can’t

When You Try to Keep it Together, But Some Days You Just Can’t

I’m 34, I’m educated, and I still want to travel the world and ‘be that change I wish to see in the world’. I’m too ‘good’ to fit in with the EDC/Rave/clubbing crowd, and yet I’m not ‘good enough’ to be considered a suitable match for a temple marriage, as most Mormons believe is paramount in their trek through life.

I tried to find someone through online dating and I was Cat fished by a man pretending to be a single father with a 2-year-old daughter whose mother died when she gave birth to her. I was working 65 hours a week and barely had time to think for myself. My days off were mostly to do my laundry and let my mind be sucked into a useless TV show. Luckily, through my own (and my aunt’s) investigative work, I was able to find out that he had stolen someone’s Facebook identity and profile pictures and made them his own. This was very disconcerting that someone could so perfectly replicate a total stranger’s life!

Every year I get older, I get asked or told, “Why don’t you try online dating?” “Why aren’t you married yet?” ‘Well, you’re just being too picky.” “Maybe if you lost a little weight.” “You won’t meet anyone if you decide to move so much.” I am too embarrassed to explain how I got duped once online, too nice to say “screw you” when someone asks me why I’m not married yet (LIKE I KNOW), too irritated to try and explain that I’m picky because my friends all complain to the single girl about how their husbands don’t do this or that, and I don’t want to end up like them or another statistic.

I found out my Dad was living a double life after 25 years of playing the caring, loving father who I have so many fond memories with. I’m still trying to process this and my family is still mourning the loss of a man we thought we knew. I don’t hate him, I love him, I hate what he did to our family & was angry at first….now I’m just sad. Its very odd for me to talk to people about this, because divorce is so polarizing and traditionally people think you have to choose sides. What if I don’t want to choose sides? What if I just want to be sad and not hear all the terrible things he has done in secret? It kind of makes me question if anyone is honest anymore. (Any words of advice you have on this would be appreciated).

And the last one, “Maybe if you lost a little weight…” Well….insert the snarkiest remark you can think of and that is about how I feel about that. I have tried so many diets, I lose the weight and yo-yo back when emotional pain slips through the cracks. So now I am putting the weight loss on the back burner for now and focusing on the root of the problem – treating that problem with kindness, giving it space and feeling those feelings that I buried for so long.

I think people are surprised when I can actually hike for three hours, go camping, go hiking, do a 5k without a problem, kick their ass at the gym; I’m made for comfort, not speed people. Get over it.

I was told to try Tinder when it was first new, and was too naive to know what it was ACTUALLY used for. I talked to an Indian Man, met up with him, and ended up being raped.

I remember crying to him about how I still was in love with my ex-boyfriend; he told me he had just had a bad breakup too. I won’t get into the details, but after I was examined, I remember the nurse hugging me with tears in her eyes telling me she was so sorry that it happened to me. I still have vivid nightmares. I feel like no one could ever love me after what happened. Who would ever be able to understand?

What is really sad, is that the night that it happened, eight people, who were supposed to be my supportive church friends, snubbed me. I still wonder, “why me?” and if they would have shown up, would it still have happened? Why did God let it happen? Why didn’t God prompt them to come over?
The friends I have shared it with tell me, “Just forget about it now; it’s in the past.” Trust me, if I could, I would, but that’s the trouble with PTSD, you don’t know what will trigger the memory that will put you into a fight or flight-like state.

Now it’s incredibly difficult to let anyone into my life, even my own family at times. Yet I still have such a desire to have my own family. So, most of the time I’m battling the feelings of being utterly worthless and never being enough with the feeling of the courageous lioness inside that is ready to explore and take on the world and truly be that change.

Three months after it happened, I decided to travel to Scotland to see the lands of my ancestors. My great-grandmother was a McFarland and I had become an Outlander superfan (a TV series on STARZ). I followed my heart which said that I needed to get away from all the mess in Texas. I knew going to Scotland wouldn’t solve my problems, but when I travel, my thoughts and feelings, the great battle within, seem so much more diminished and small. I think it’s because when you travel, you realize how big the world is and there is something so HEALING in disappearing (in a way) for a few weeks.

It was my first solo trip and I had planned it months before (what I now call) my “incident,” and I was determined to go. It was terrifying, but I was able to get outside my head and learn of the Battle of Culloden and how my ancestors fought there; how the ruggedness and magical landscape of the Highlands made me feel like I was finally at home. The landscape was so vast, harsh, and beautiful, and the people from Scotland have warrior spirits that do not bend, despite the harsh winters and the history of decades of brutal suppression by the British.

I returned from my trip and realized that I was more than what happened to me. I was not a victim. I am a survivor. Now I realize that (and worry) that after exposing myself like this, there will be many opinions. I’m not afraid of what people think anymore, just at cruel things they tend to say.
I know that telling my story will touch some, and repel others, but I can’t hide anymore behind what once was. In talking about it, I feel like it is releasing me from the feeling that I need to hide from the public. For a long time, I have felt vulnerable and couldn’t wait to get home to the safety of my house and my beloved puppy Zoey. Now, I am turning 35,  and I know that I need to start pushing myself to go out in public again; to try and retrain my brain that most people are not going to hurt me and can’t see straight through me.

My goal is to not be afraid anymore; to not be afraid of someone finding out about this through the grapevine. This is something that I never thought I would share in a place like this, but it is allowing me a certain sense of freedom in doing so. I hope you will be able to understand where I’m coming from and be able to understand that it has taken a great amount of courage to publish this.

I don’t have it all together…yet, but I will, and I won’t stop until I do. I know that there are not a lot of men who will understand, and many won’t have the compassion and understanding I will need on the harder days. One day, I trust universe will show me the way to my soul mate, that won’t be afraid of the hard things.

For now, I’m focused on healing and developing healthy coping mechanisms. Reconnecting with the world, the people in it, exploring without boundaries. Seeking those unique adventures that will help me heal from the wonderful feeling of newness and discovery.

The majority of this was not meant to be negative, but to be raw and open about the struggles of a fellow human being. I still have hope for something better, I am still confident in my own strength to do hard things. Most importantly, I’m not giving up & continue to love and share with those around me what I do have to offer. Life is too short to live constantly in my past, so I have decided to create a better future, even if it is not the future I always envisioned was ‘suppose to happen’.

Thank you for reading my story and I hope you will honor the amount of courage and vulnerability it took to share this experience with you. Happy travels my friends, and thank you for being on this journey with me. I know I’m just typing this on a screen at the moment, but somehow, it seems to release something inside me. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Any words of advice, encouragement are appreciated!

To connect with me and learn a little more read:

Returning to the Texas Nightmare: Facing My Rape & Healing

Balancing Real Life and Buisness

Mastering Motivation with the Masters

Love The Journey

About Me 🙂

Tools against Fear

The tragic history of love, courage, and loss: Masada

detailed replica of Masada[/caption] Masada is located on top of an isolated cliff in the Judean desert where it overlooks the Dead Sea. It’s a popular place for tourists from Israel to visit because it is such an integral part of the Jewish history. [caption id="attachment_5072" align="alignnone" width="4000"]Dead Sea view from the top of Masada View of the Dead Sea from Masada[/caption]

How to get there: The 421 bus travels from Tel-Aviv Arlozorov Terminal every day at 9 am and arrives at 11:47am. Returning, it departs Maddalena at 16:13 and reaches Tel-Aviv at 19:08. They don’t allow you on the bus if you have gone swimming in the dead sea due to mud making the seats wet and dirty. They do have showers at the Dead Sea, but I don’t think shampoo or soap is allowed.
The cost for a taxi all day, including a visit to Masada and the Dead Sea, will probably run you around 1200-1500 shekels including waiting time, round-trip, for two people. Locals actually suggest renting a car for one day and enjoying your time at these two places. It would be cheaper than using a taxi and what if you miss the bus? You could do a tour out here, but it’s quite expensive.
Traveler tip: Masada can get extremely hot at the top. We were there in April and had to take several breaks around the top to cool down, get water, and find shade. We were warned several times not to try and hike to the top, via the stairs. They told us about a German tourist who had won several marathons and was built “like a rock”– she ended up getting heat stroke when she reached the top and had to visit the hospital afterwards. Granted, she did run up the stairs, but my advice: be smart, don’t be stupid.
[gallery ids="5038,5041,5040,5037" type="square" columns="2"] The History: The only history of Masada that we know of is from Josephus Flavius’s writings titled, “The Jewish War”; interestingly enough, he was actually born Joseph ben Matityahu. Matityahu is a Jewish name, so why would he change his name to Flavius, which is a distinctly Roman name? It was after he was appointed Governor of Galilee when he led the Jewish Rebellion in 66 CE. [gallery ids="5061,5059" type="rectangular"] Masada was built between 37 and 31 BCE by Herod the Great, who was King of Judea and wanted a refuge for himself. This fortress was built with storehouses and large cisterns that have an amazing engineering feature of utilizing and storing rainwater in gigantic cisterns that still work today. The fortress also included rainwater, barracks, palaces, and an armory. [gallery ids="5071,5069,5065" type="rectangular"] Herod the Great died (likely from Chronic Kidney Disease), and 75 years later the Jewish Rebels, part of the Great Jewish Revolt, took over the Masada fortress. The Jewish Zealot refugees joined them there, and it was their stronghold for the next three years while they continued to harass the local and surrounding Romans. Then in 73 CE, the Romans decided they had enough. Roman governor Flavius Silva marched against Masada with the Tenth Legion. They didn’t just bring the Tenth legion though, they also brought thousands of Jewish Prisoners of War, for the sole purpose of killing their own people or dying themselves. You can see that on the west side of the park there are still remnants of the enormous ramp built by hand, and the Roman encampments that had were also erected. [gallery ids="5049,5062,5051" type="rectangular"] This ramp is what lead to the tragic loss of lives within Masada. The leader of the Jewish inhabitants decided that instead of being captured by the Romans, then brutally tortured and tossed in the Gladiator games, suicide would be a better choice. [gallery ids="5063,5053" type="rectangular"] The Jewish Zealots literally gathered straws, the 10 with the shortest straws killed everyone else. Then the last 2 survivors killed the rest and then killed each other. That night, 1,000 men, women, and children died. The next morning, they were found by the Roman legion. I couldn’t believe that their situation would drive so many to death. It really broke my heart and made me think of how terrible it must have been. I imagined myself looking at a sure fate worse than death; to be captured by the Roman soldiers who were know to rape, beat, and torture for sport at the gate, then looking into my sister or child’s eyes and knowing they would face even worse, and having to make a choice to end their life. Having to possess the courage to end your child’s life, someone who trusts you implicitly to not hurt them, and knowing that when you completed the act, they wouldn’t understand. How could you do it? How could you be driven to that place where doing that would be better than being captured? It made me cry, literally, right there, because of both the terror and the courage these people must have felt to have to do this. It is likely the most humbling place I have been to date. The pain was still palpable. I don’t know that I will ever return, and even writing about this has been difficult. I am very passionate about history and remembering it though so that we don’t repeat it.
To read more about Israel and its history, check out these other articles: The space between Israeli’s and Palestinians Capernaum, Church of Primacy of Peter, Bet Shean: My Pilgrimage through Israel Jaffa, Cesarea, Mount Carmel : My pilgrimage through Israel Journey through Jezreel Valley, Nazareth, and Mt Tebor: My pilgrimage through Israel

Be Italian Royalty on the Amalfi Coast

I first fell in love with the romanticism of the Amalfi Coast when I saw the movie Under The Tuscan Sun. It’s about a woman recovering from a divorce who meets this gorgeous Italian man, and they have a bit of an interlude. He then invites her to the black sand beaches of the Amalfi Coast and they have a wonderful bonding dinner with friends. Like most women, I am entranced by men with accents, especially so with French and Italian accents. [gallery ids="2935,2938" type="rectangular"] I’m not much of a ‘tour group person’, so I specifically chose a smaller group and it was PERFECT! It was a small bus, so no one developed car sickness on the way from the port to the Amalfi Coastline. [gallery ids="2952,2953,2951" type="rectangular"] At one point we even had a policeman helping us around the tighter corners to get to our destination. This was the point where I started to feel self-important and beautiful. We only had about 8 hours to see the Amalfi Coast and take a tour through Pompeii Ruins with our guide (Pompeii will be covered in a later post). We sped past mosaics, yachts sitting in the various alcoves along the coast, and my favorite: IMG_6767 an entire replica of Bethlehem carved into the wall of the mountain along the road. People have apparently decorated it with the people from the Nativity, and they light  it up with candles around Christmas time — HOW WONDERFUL WOULD THAT BE TO SEE IT AT CHRISTMAS TIME?! [gallery ids="2937,2936" type="rectangular"] I was absolutely STUNNED as we drove along the road to the center of town. There were hotels that looked so luxurious and romantic! The hotels had these pools on the edges of cliffs looking out at the ocean and featuring a canopy of roses and other flowers, and the clouds gently rested on the mountainside like a baby laying on its mother’s chest. It was so relaxing! I got swept away in the environment where everything looked amazing, even the shops filled with white, lacy clothing — I bought a shirt there and really felt like I had stepped onto the set of Under The Tuscan Sun.  [gallery ids="2976,2984,2983" type="rectangular"] We stopped at the lovely Hotel with dei Principi everything, from the entrance to the back of the hotel; it was really like one huge masterpiece! I really felt like I was a princess that had just arrived at her coronation luncheon. [gallery ids="2977,2978,2982" type="rectangular"] Before we sat down to eat, I stepped out onto the patio of the Hotel (that I found out really was owned by royalty at one point) and my hair was swept upwards in the wind. I could smell the salt from the sea and feel the slight sting of it, and the sun kissing my cheeks. All of this made me feel like someone would sweep through the doors, hand me my tiara, and tell me my carriage was waiting outside. [gallery ids="2981" type="square" columns="1"] I went back inside after my Photo Op from the Paparazzi 😉 and sat down to my coronation luncheon, which was so delicious, fresh, and nutritious, that I forgot to take photos of anything but the salad and the table. I loved every bite of it; the fresh fish, the fresh mozzarella, and the gorgeous waiters that were like footmen in my own Cinderella story. View from Restaurant on Amalfi Coast After lunch, we explored the gardens at the hotel and I took 100 Instagrammable photos, lol. I don’t really like photos of myself and I really hate how I look on camera, but people tell me I’m really photogenic (this whole argument could take me weeks to debate in my own head, so I won’t bore you with it here). The pathways of the gardens were immaculate, the flowers were perfect, the quiet nature of this place further made me feel like the Queen herself would walk around any corner and ask if I would like to share a cup of tea. [gallery ids="2990,2985,2988,2991,2993,2989,2987,2986" type="slideshow"] After the gardens, we were able to wander around the town and down to the shore. There were artists everywhere! [gallery ids="2946,2945,2947" type="rectangular"] There were two old women arguing in the alleyways on the way down to the shore and wonderful shops full of Italian clothing I couldn’t get enough of. [gallery ids="2944,2943,2942" type="rectangular"] The Roman Catholic Religion was everywhere, with an amazing Church, Santa Maria Del Carmine,  I found full of Fontanini style Nativity characters, and 17th Century paintings. The intricate details of the ceiling and woodwork inlay was stunning. After the wonderful experience I was already having, I decided to make use of the church and thank God for all that I had been given (even though I’m not Catholic). I spent a lot of time in this church (see below). [gallery ids="2973,2970,2968,2967,4882,4881" type="rectangular"] There were oranges everywhere! Even the Statue of Saint Anthony in the middle of a roundabout held Oranges. Be sure to visit his reliquary across the street should you find yourself at his feet. If you don’t like celebrating Valentine’s Day in the States, then head to Sorrento where they hold a feast in St Anthony’s honor. [gallery ids="2972,2997" type="rectangular"] After wandering through the streets and slowly making my way down the side of the mountain, I came to the wonderful black sand beaches I had seen in Under the Tuscan Sun. The beach is beautiful in photos but is actually quite rocky, so I couldn’t quite imagine myself swimming in the ocean at this particular spot. However, I could see myself relaxing in a nice beach chair with a wonderful glass of orange juice and soaking in the sun. I was here during the off-season, so the beach was pretty empty; but typically I hear that the beach is filled with beach chairs to do just what I was imagining. [gallery ids="4880,4879" type="square" columns="2"] I think the Amalfi coast is somewhere I would like to definitely go back to, but with a romantic partner. It is the perfect setting to relax, explore, and enjoy the magical setting that is sure to make anyone (whether single or married) feel like royalty.

For more great posts What to know before visiting the Island of Delos

Top 15 ways of combatting Jet Lag

Jet Lag is the bane of any travelers existence, with the affects stretching on for days sometimes weeks after a trip. There are a few proven (scientifically) ways to help with combating jet lag I will share with you. If you follow these suggestions, I guarantee that you will still be able to enjoy your vacation. Anytime I don’t follow my own rules with this, I end up regretting it for weeks on end.

What To Bring

Check out my packing tips post on what to bring with you on the plane. But for sleeping get a stuff sack, here is what to include in it: put your contacts/glasses, sleep aid, water bottle (filled inside the airport), eye mask, earplugs, pillow, and blanket. I like this J-pillow because my head always falls forward or to the side & when I bring the head wings (what I call them) out then it holds my head in place perfectly. Also, place a small bag at your feet so you can use it as a footrest, or if you have the room you can buy one of these footrests – but I found them to be hard to get into and out of.

Top 15 Ways of Combatting Jet Lag.

1- Avoid or Minimize Caffeine As Much As Possible

few days before your trip. If you need the energy to be able to make it through the workday prior to your trip; try Natural Energy Supplements from an Organic store or health foods store. This method alone will significantly help with combatting jet lag.

2- Choose An Overnight Flight

Overnight flights typically turn all the lights off on the plane at night which makes it easier to fall asleep. I wear my eye mask even if the lights are off because there is always one or two people that turn their reading lights on & wakes me up (#lightsleeper).

3- Choose a seat away from the bathrooms

Even with earplugs, the carts and bathroom visitors will wake you up. I also choose a window seat so I don’t inadvertently get hit by an elbow, a cart, or woken up by the person next to me to visit the restroom.

4- Bring a Treat for the Restless Children

Make sure to bring some candy, suckers, or freeze-dried fruit to give to children who wake up and start screaming. It saves the mom from embarrassment, the flight attendants stress (because of grouchy passengers) and helps everyone get back to sleep. I’m not a mom, but the few times I have done this, it works like a charm. One mom friend of mine actually suggested dried fruit, or crackers so it doesn’t give them a sugar high and make it worse. You can also have little packets of crayons or paper in your bag as well. As a passenger, you also have to remember that Benedryl for kids doesn’t always work….sometimes it has the opposite effect on the kid and then you have a crazy person.

Traveler Tip: Tips on Flying with Children and Family Friendly Airlines

5- Exercise Before Your Flight

Doing this before your flight gives you the natural relaxation of the muscles, keeps the blood pumping and staves off blood clots as well. The rule of thumb for my patients is I advise them to get up every hour to stretch their legs and do some calf raises for about 5-10 minutes. 

6- Wear compression stockings

These stockings can be found at any Walgreens, but the really good ones are the ones that you measure from your ankle to the knee and around the calf. I prefer the open toes because they seem cooler & don’t squish my toes if my legs start to swell slightly. When you sit down the blood vessels in your groin and behind your knees get cut off resulting in fluid retention in your feet and calves. It can set you up for a blood clot as well (no matter your age), unless you plan on walking every 30 minutes — which isn’t always possible because of the risk of running into turbulence. When I sit for long periods of time even at work the compression stockings save my life. You will be amazed at how much this helps your energy level by the time you reach your destination.                                                              

7- Utilize Jet Lag Rooster

This is an App to properly plan your sleeping times make sure you start this at least 2 days prior to your departure. This was developed by a psychologist in Florida.

8- Sleep When You Are Tired

Some flight attendants do suggest that you just sleep when you are tired, and try to stay awake when the sun is up. I find that this method works for me as well as just sleeping as much as possible when I’m on the plane.

9- Set Your Clock To The Destination

By setting your clock to the time of the destination it will help you keep doing your daily routine by the destination time zone. Thus circumventing hungry, tired, or other cycles.

10- Don’t Overeat or Drink Alcohol

Let’s be honest….unless you are flying some fancy airline in first class….airplane food is no better for you than hospital food. Try to stick with water and the healthier options when your flying as this will help fight off fatigue when you land. The body releases cortisol when it is stressed and can cause fatigue feelings when traveling. Eating healthy will boost your natural defenses, provide ample water to flush out the Cortisol and nutrients to help keep the energy needed to explore up as well. 

11- Don’t Go Straight To Bed On Arrival

Decide on a tourist-y site with lots of people. Preferably interactive sites, this will force yourself to stimulate your mind and your legs and blood flow. I typically pick the most popular museum, then get an audio guide so I don’t have to concentrate on reading & wander through all the spaces.

12- Keep Your Routine You Have At Home

Once you have toured a little, have dinner at the typical time for your destination, go take a shower/check-in at the hotel. Watch a movie, and then fall to sleep a little bit early — or lay there until its time to sleep (whichever works). I typically don’t do much the first day I’m at my international destination. It really helps to keep the first day easy, it allows my mind to accept that I’m on vacation and that it is ok to relax and not constantly look at my to-do list. 

13- Over The Counter Sleep Aids

When I am traveling back home, that’s when the JetLag is really bad. I will typically take an over the counter sleep aid (Melatonin, 5-HTP, or if you aren’t on any blood thinners then consider St John’s Wort or Valerian Root) — Don’t combine all of these sleep aids, just take the recommended dose for ONE these herbal supplements. I typically will buy my supplements from an Organic Food store and look for one that has some sort of certification on it. Typically supplements and herbs are not FDA regulated, so that means you typically don’t know what you’re going to be putting in your body. I take the sleep aid the minute I get on my longest flight (so if I have a transfer or something, I’m not too groggy).

  • I would not suggest getting any of these with Magnesium if you take more magnesium than your body requires it can actually cause some pretty gnarly diarrhea (a known side effect of oral Magnesium).

14- When You Get Home

Immediately unpack your suitcase, I typically will take a 30-minute nap to tide me over until my usual pre-vacation bedtime. The key here is, to sleep when you’re tired, but if it is during normal wakeful hours– limit it to 20-30min naps.

15 – What To Do When You Wake Up In The Middle of the Night

If you wake up in the middle of the night when you get home, I will look at a few social media sites, watch a YouTube Video on Classical Music or Yo-yo Ma & let that help me fall back asleep. Please realize if you do use your phone it can stimulate your frontal cortex and make you feel more awake, but for me, reading always puts me to sleep no matter what it is. So whatever typically makes you feel sleepy, do that and then try going back to bed….warm milk and Turkey also works if I’m desperate.

Happy Travels — Happy Tales — and good luck sleeping 😉

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Crusader Castles : Kerak Castle in Jordan

Crusader Castles : Kerak Castle in Jordan

Saladin has always been a historical person I haven been fascinated with. He isn’t talked about much, but ever since watching the movie Kingdom of Heaven; I became very fascinated with him. While visiting Jordan on my first solo travel trip we happened to visit Kerak castle, one of the few Crusader Castles left in the middle east. Saladin conquered this fortress, and after visiting – it made me all the more impressed by his strategy. There is a surprising bit of hidden history about this castle and the surrounding area that many do not know though.

Crusader Castles : Kerak Castle in Jordan

The History of Kerak Castle

After World War I, Kerak was ruled by the British until the Emirate of Transjordan was established in 1921. It’s amazing that this castle and small town have been predominantly Christian since the crusades, even with the country’s majority Muslim religion. This is something I did not realize, although Jordan is ruled by the Islamic Laws, they allow Christians to practice their religion within the country as long as they don’t try and proselytize.

I also learned that wearing a hijab in Jordan is more of a cultural norm, even Christians wear a hijab. I have compared it to women – how when we wear our hair straight we are seen as well groomed, if it is frizzy we are looked at unkempt or too lazy to do our own hair.

Crusader History At Kerak

If you haven’t seen ‘The Kingdom of Heaven’ with Orlando Bloom you should, it will show you the Hollywood version of Saladin; he was such a great general!

Saladin at Kerak Castle

If you stand at Kerak’s highest point, you can see what a strategic position it has, it is set on a hill with steep ramparts that I think would even make Jack and Jill sweat. No wonder it took Saladin 3 years before he was finally able to overthrow the crusaders who defended this castle for so long.

Crusader Castles : Kerak Castle in Jordan

Be sure to see the classic Crusader architecture, with the Roman style vaults, long stone corridors. If you look at the upper levels of the castle and see the darker looking stone, these are from the Crusader period, while the whiter limestone is actually from the time of Saladin.

Crusader Castles : Kerak Castle in Jordan

The most exciting part was the upper courtyard, where you can actually stand in and see a CRUSADER CHAPEL! With all the mysticism surrounding the Crusader period, due to Dan Brown’s famous Novels like Angels & Demons — it was so exciting to be standing in that spot.

The security guard, Mohammad, was trying to flirt with me down the halls of this castle. He attempted to scare me, and it worked, with the spooky flashlight under the chin trick. I screamed a little when in any other setting I would have hit him…hard. I think when you are in ancient ruins like this, everything seems more mysterious and creepy….especially the dungeons….that was too creepy to take a photo (and too dark).

Crusader Castles : Kerak Castle in Jordan

Other Crusader Castles Nearby

Speaking of the Dead Sea, at the top of this castle, you can peer over the Mountains and actually see the Dead Sea. There are also several other Crusader Castles in Jordan you should really check out while you are there, this includes Montreal Castle, and Vaux Moise,. There is also Shoback castle with its secret tunnel 🙂 and also interestingly fell to Saladin a year after Kerak! I never got to see the last 4 castles mentioned, but there will definitely be on my list when I go back to Jordan.

Traveler Tip: Kerak castle is also a great stopping point on your way down to Petra & Wadi Rum.

Crusader Castles : Kerak Castle in Jordan

So be sure to stop by Kerak, and experience a little of what it was like to be among the Crusaders, let your mind contemplate about what it was like to be confined to the cold stone castles & how much dedication it must have taken to stay there — which would have required a lot of devotion on my part to be confined to one place. Happy Travels, Happy Tales and see you on the Flip Side.

How To Get To Kerak Castle

To get to Kerak Castle it is 1 hour 46 minute drive, driving there is easy (except in the bigger towns) because the roads are pretty empty. If you enjoy driving on winding and narrow mountain roads its fine. The roads are fairly well maintained and tarmaced just be careful around mujib road to Karak from Madaba.

Any rental car office will have a rental car or a car with driver. You will have to check on your VISA requirements while in the country to see if a guide/tour guide/tourist police escort is required within the country– depending on the size of your group. Prices range from $30 without driver — to $100 with a driver (minimum starting prices depending on how good you can negotiate with them). Rental companies available in the area are: Budget, Reliable, Hertz, National, Europcar. There is a lot to see on the way there including the Dead Sea, Madaba, and Lot’s cave.

Best Time To Visit Kerak Crusader Castle

When considering visiting Jordan, especially Kerak and the Dead Sea, its best to go there in Early March/April or in Sept/November because it can get VERY hot, around 104-115F during summer months & there isn’t much shade/cover.

Where To Stay Near Kerak Castle


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How to travel with your furry friend in Moab

 Anyone who has traveled with their dog knows the frustration that comes with trying to make the trip go smoothly. When your furry friend is with you, you get rejected at restaurants and hotels, and even trails are restricted to you— even with the most trained of dogs. Here is my experience with traveling with my furry friend in Moab, and it why it was WONDERFUL! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kT_EO2KsPdQ I was moving back to Utah from Texas. I’ve spent the majority of my life in Utah but had never seen one of the major National Parks there, including Moab. I always thought having a furry friend in Moab with you was illegal….. I was wrong. img_6129 Most National Parks don’t exactly like pets, but Utah, being such an outdoorsy state, has plenty to offer for your furry friend. the-gonzo-inn When planning for the trip, I looked at Booking.com and put the ‘dog-friendly’ filter on, and found this great little Inn, Gonzo Inn. It is dog-friendly and there is only a small fee for bringing pets (no fee for service pets). Some of the rooms have fireplaces, which was great for me. When I was visiting in October/November, the nights and mornings were chillier than most. Right outside your back door, you have a rocky area and a small patio that you can let your dog out on. There is also a little doggie play area, which is great. The staff are very helpful and they even watched my dog for me while I ate breakfast at their great breakfast bar. My dog has separation anxiety and howls and scratches the doors pretty bad if I leave her behind, so I have to take her with me, especially if I don’t want to be murdered by the other guests at the hotel. Other tips for this hotel: they don’t allow bikes inside the hotel rooms but they are located in the center of downtown and within walking distance of a few restaurants and grocery stores. For more dog-friendly hotels look here. me and my furry friend in moab In general, dogs are not allowed inside restaurants or any store with food in it. So if you would like to eat something, here are a few tips: bring a cooler with your own food (fridges are in most hotel rooms now), order takeout from a diner, or get fast-food. I was on the road too long to bring my own food, so I ended up taking Zoey into the lobby of a local restaurant and ordered take-out. They didn’t seem to mind, as long as I kept her in the waiting area. In the summertime, I’m sure you can sit outside on the patio area of most restaurants with your furry friend. [caption id="attachment_4330" align="aligncenter" width="451"]at Corona Arch with my furry friend in moab Corona Arch in Moab Utah[/caption] The next day we hit the trails and I wanted to definitely see an Arch and didn’t want to leave Zoey behind. We were only going to be there for one day, so I decided on Corona Arch & Negro Bill Canyon. [gallery ids="4331,4328" type="rectangular"] Corona Arch trail is an easy 3-mile trail with a few steep spots that were hard to navigate. There is also an open field where it was hard to find the trail, but if you follow the stacked rocks, you can usually find your way pretty easily. We rounded a corner and you could see the Arch from further away. There is a 7-foot ladder you have to climb up in order to get to the Arch itself, and with me being 5’4″ and trying to lift my 17 lb squirming dog that hates to be held up… that just wasn’t going to happen. Next time, I will bring a bag to stick her in, climb up the ladder, and take her out of the bag. That is the only way I could think of to actually reach the arch with Zoey. [gallery ids="4334,4327" type="rectangular"] The sun in the winter goes down rather quickly, especially in Utah, but I wanted to get one more hike in. I decided on Negro Bill Canyon Trail.  This is a gorgeous and easy 5-mile hike. I get a little nervous hiking that close to sunset, but with a little help from other hikers on the trail, we made it there and back quite easily. [gallery ids="4344,4339,4338" type="rectangular"] Along this trail, you will find a little stream with several easy crossings. Your furry friend’s feet will get wet though, so make sure you have something to cover the seat with when you put them back in the car. When you get to the arch, be aware and cautious to not let your dog go into the brush along the trail or roam free. There is quite a bit of Poison Ivy along the trail, especially at the bottom near the arch, and if your furry friend rubs that along their belly then they can suffer the same symptoms we do. When you get to the Arch, it just looks like another part of the mountain but if you go up close and underneath it, you are able to see how massive and impressive it is. [gallery ids="4323,4410,4411,4412" type="square" columns="2"] Overall, it was a PERFECT trip with her and I will never forget those bonding moments we had while we were there together. If you plan on staying longer than I did, here are some other hikes that were suggested to me: Moab Rim Trail, Amphitheater Loop, Dellenburgh Trail, Fisher Towers Trail, Grandstaff Canyon, Hidden Valley Trail, Hunter Canyon, Ken’s Lake Trail, Longbow Arch Trail, Poison Spider Bench, Portal Overlook Trail, Stairmaster, Sylvester, and Trough Springs Trail. If you want to go on a hike that does not allow dogs, there are several doggie daycares in town that seem to have pretty good reviews. Moab Barkery is the doggie daycare I would likely look into if I were to have Zoey stay somewhere. It has 22 reviews with a 4.6 average rating And it is right near the center of town. [caption id="attachment_4333" align="alignnone" width="3264"]my furry friend in moab Zoey posing and very excited for her adventure in Moab[/caption] Last but not least, don’t forget to pack the doggie turd in, and pack it out. Please keep your pup on a leash so as to avoid antagonizing other dogs on the trail.

Happy Travels, Happy Tales, and See you on the Flip Side.