About Jon Killpack

Jon's life has been radically changed by interacting with people who are drastically different than him. He co-founded Engaging Cultures Travel to help others have a similar experience. Jon currently resides in Jordan.

A Family Holiday On Mars

After the release of the critically acclaimed film The Martian, shot on location in Wadi Rum, the Jordan Tourism Board released the above video where an imaginative little American girl travels to Mars on her family vacation to Jordan.

Often used in Hollywood films as the Mars location, Wadi Rum has made quite an impression on director […]

By |December 14th, 2015|Jordan, Video, Wadi Rum|0 Comments
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How To Be A Human

As Wendell Berry recites “How To Be a Poet”, I am reminded of how to be a human.

I was particularly struck by these lines:

Communicate slowly. Live   

a three-dimensioned life;   

stay away from screens.   

Stay away from anything   

that obscures the place it is in.   

There are no unsacred places;   

there are only sacred places   

and desecrated places.

Take the next minute and a half […]

By |September 6th, 2015|Culture|0 Comments
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Be Not Wary; Be Aware.

Begin the journey of mindfulness before you step on the plane.

Practice noticing the beauty of the moment.

Be not wary; be aware.

I stumbled upon Wendell Berry’s “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” and was struck by his ability to challenge my inculturated worldview, drawing me into the present as well as the unworried future. Below is a short excerpt.
Give your approval to […]

By |April 15th, 2015|Culture|0 Comments

How the Overview Effect Could Change Your Life

We reside inside our own worlds, full of boundaries. Some of those boundaries are real. Most are constructed.

Stepping out of that world is one of the healthiest activities you can practice.

There is a phenomenon experienced by astronauts called the “Overview Effect.” It is a shift in awareness when one leaves the Earth’s atmosphere and looks back at […]

By |March 5th, 2015|Culture, Travel, Video|0 Comments
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Cultural Tips For Traveling In Jordan

I have found Jordan to be one of the most hospitable places on earth (and am fortunate enough to reside there). Visitors are highly appreciated and respected in Jordan. Jordanians are a social and personable people who are interested in their guests and who hope their guests will be interested in them.

I’ve asked one of my Jordanian […]

By |February 11th, 2015|Arabs, Culture, Jordan, Travel Tips|2 Comments
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A History of Islam in the United States

One of our main challenges in encouraging Westerners to travel to the Middle East is overcoming anti-Islamic sentiment. As fellow Westerners, we are often on the receiving end of slanted media messages about how this religion seeks to take over America. However, the actual history of Islam in America is often overlooked and unknown.

Check out this well researched episode of […]

By |December 29th, 2014|Arabs|0 Comments
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We Meet At The Olive Tree

Bombarded daily by images of a violent interpretation of Islam, Islamophobia is digging deeper into many Western nations.

Fear creates a chasm of distrust that keeps us far from one another. Even before we look across to the other side, we associate the other with the images we’ve seen on the news. We assume ill intent; […]

By |October 1st, 2014|Arabs, Cultural Exchange, Culture, Travel|0 Comments

Learn to Cook Mansaf from a Masterchef

Mansaf is unforgettable. As the country’s national dish, it is an essential experience on your Jordan tour. A heaping pile of lamb cooked in a tangy yoghurt sauce and served on a bed of rice, mansaf is truly unique. Whether you’re prepping your tastebuds before your travels, or you’ve tasted this amazing meal and want […]

By |September 1st, 2014|Culture, Food, Jordan, Video|0 Comments

Becoming a Global Citizen

“We now have to be responsible for both fellow citizens of our country and fellow citizens of the world. The question is, ‘Can we figure that out?'” Kwame Anthony Appiah.

Anthony Appiah is a British-born Ghanaian philosopher and cultural theorist. He has been extremely helpful in informing us how to move ahead in a multi-cultural world, realizing we are […]

By |August 7th, 2014|Cultural Exchange, Culture, Travel Tips, Video|0 Comments
  • How Powerful is Your Passport?

Passport Power

It was a warm day in Indonesia, like most of them are.  Sitting on a bamboo bench, I pulled my American passport out of my front pocket to stop it from sticking to my leg. Glancing at the eyes of my local benchmate, I realized that they were locked not on me, the strange foreigner, […]

By |June 23rd, 2014|Travel|0 Comments
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