notmensa, your photos of the Synapse and IIRC Western Flyer are what prompted me to finally get mine. Thank you, I love them.
Thinking ahead to a trip to the Middle East... there are places I'd like to go where joining a tour would make it easier to get to the places I want to see, and provide interesting fellow-travelers to share the experience with. Not to mention not having to worry overmuch about logistics. I'm curious if there are any tour outfits that others recommend. GAdventures (Adventure Travel & Tours - Book Your Trip - G Adventures), which I happened to find online, looks interesting -- they welcome people of all ages and seem to have a philosophy of travel that I embrace. For instance, they specifically recommend traveling light, with a non-wheeled suitcase, and seem to be the kind of outfit that offers interesting, engaging tours that don't just shuffle people around in a monstrous air-conditioned bus every day. Has anyone used them or something similar they recommend? (In my case I want to see Jordan, but this could be more of a general question.)
HF Walking Tours offers some nice options, though I don't know about Jordan. They are definitely more for people who are into rambling than sightseeing, though.
The only thing I'd warn about is that the restaurants they suggest are more midrange than I expected; I tended to wander off alone on the Morocco trip to eat street food, but I know not everyone wants to do that. An option is perhaps booking a tour then (if you have the time) staying a bit longer - I often recommend this to people so that they get calibrated with the help of a guide, get the history, etc and then have extra time to delve into the culture and food alone once they are already comfortable. Other options include doing a Planeterra trip with them (more voluntourism, but sustainably so).
Hope this helps! I know it's not purely objective advice but I assure you I'd never do work with a company I didn't stand behind :) If you do head to Jordan and stay longer, please do let me know as I'll happily put you in touch with the Tourism Board there, who is great for helping with itinerary planning and suggestions.