Last week I had my first taste of feeling like a professional tennis player that travels the world and plays tennis in hot climates. Of course, no one had actually asked me to travel to play tennis, but as I was accompanying my partner to a conference in Amman (Jordan), I decided that this would be a good time to start playing tennis in all the places I visit around the world.
I have actually already been to Jordan twice in the past, for work conferences and meetings, but this was the first time I went with a plan to actually enjoy myself and get to know the country a bit better. This is all part of my newly improved work-life balance that I have developed over the past 18 months. Previously I would always put work first, and would often only see the airports and hotels of the places I travelled to for workshops and conferences. Now, I always make sure I make time to do some sightseeing and have some downtime, to go for a run (which is a great way to visit a city), visit the hotel gym/pool or (in this case) play some tennis.
So my partner and I packed our tennis rackets, clothing and shoes (we took an extra suitcase exclusively for our activewear!) and flew to Amman. On the way there we transported our precious tennis rackets with us on the plane as hand luggage. However, on the way back, we were told by the Jordanian security staff that we could use them as weapons on the plane (?!) and so they had to be checked in. The tennis bag we had didn’t really provide much support to our rackets and so I will need to get a proper tennis bag for future travel – finally an excuse to treat myself to an Epirus London weekend bag?!
When I got off the plane the first thing I noticed was the smell – a spicy, exotic aroma that got me thinking that this is the one thing that you will never fully appreciate from reading travel blogs or watching YouTube videos (until they add smell-o-vision, that is). We arrived after midnight, but the air was warm and it turned out summer had arrived in Jordan with us. The following day was one of the hottest days so far this year, and so we decided to book the hotel tennis court (which we could see from our hotel room) for the evening.
The tennis court had a great view over the city of Amman. The air was hot, humid and dusty, and we soon realised that playing tennis in Jordan was going to be a lot more difficult than back home in Italy. In addition to the heat, the surface of the court was very hard, and we struggled to get used to the fast pace and high balls. So I asked my Instagram friends for tips, and I got a lot of advice that I tried to put into practice over the few days we were there, and I think by the end of the trip I had certainly improved.
• Hard and High • No tennis yesterday but we did go to the Dead Sea and today we are off to Petra (more on my Insta stories!). I found the time to put together this short clip of our tennis date from the other day – the court is hard and the balls sometimes go so high I hardly reach them, and sometimes they just fly through what appears to be a hole in my racket! Btw, is it wrong to go for a winner when playing a friendly rally?! 🤔 Am I the only one that does this?.. 😊 #tennis #tennistraining #tennispractice #tennisvideo #tennisdate #tennisaddict #tennisgirl #tennislife #tenniscourt #tennispassion #instatennis #instatennisgram #tennislove #lovetennis #tennisday #tennistime #tennisfashion #tennisstyle Wearing: see previous post!
On the last night we played at the Royal Automobile Club of Jordan (that is where I was in the sweaty photo at the top of this post), which has some amazing tennis facilities. As we had lost two of our balls during our attempts to play at the Landmark Hotel tennis court (despite the very, very high nets!) we were given some balls to play with. We soon realised that they were a bit flat, but this was exactly what we needed to recreate the slower surface situation we were used to! We did feel like we were cheating a bit, but we were able to do some great rallies (and I managed some winners which is always a bonus!).
• Take That! • My partner and I don't argue, we take all our frustrations out on the court! 👊🏼 Ah, how satisfying it is to wack a ball at him and see him run! 🏃🏻😂 This clip is from our last night in Jordan. We were invited by a friend to the Royal Automobile Club to play tennis – an amazing tennis club in Amman. We did feel we were cheating a little as the balls were a bit flat which, with the hard surface, created just the right conditions for us! 🙄 #tennis #tennispractice #tennisrally #tennisvideo #tennistraining #tennisgirl #tennislove #tenniscourt #tennisanyone #tennislife #tennispassion #lovetennis #instatennis #instatennisgram #tennisnight #tennisdate #tennisfitness #tennisfight #forehand #winner
The week wasn’t all just about playing tennis in Jordan though, and we also “swam” in the Dead Sea (in inverted commas as you can’t actually do any swimming as the high saline content means that getting any water in your eyes is a killer!), ate lots and lots of flatbread, hummus, falafel, and Tabbouleh (which did cause a bit too much bloating, but it was worth it!), and visited Petra, the archeological city that is half built/carved into the red standstone rock (and where they filmed parts of Indiana Jones). So overall I would say we managed to add a fair bit of weight to the “life” side of the scales and can consider our work-life balance much improved!