Advance reader reviews of The Voluntourist by Ken Budd.

The Voluntourist

A Six-Country Tale of Love, Loss, Fatherhood, Fate, and Singing Bon Jovi in Bethlehem

By Ken Budd

The Voluntourist
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  • Published in USA  May 2012,
    464 pages.

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There are currently 17 member reviews
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  • Mary D. (Claremont, CA)

    The Voluntourist
    I'm having a bit of trouble finding words to review this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the vignettes, the tales of the people and places Ken Budd told. However, there was always an underlying bit of self-centeredness, brought on by the death of his father and his realization that he and his wife would never have children of their own, by choice. It seems to me that this important part of a couples' life should have been clearly settled and understood before marriage and the passage of many years. It was a constant subject, one that he couldn't seem to come to terms with; he chose to deal with it by leaving to go off volunteering around the world, leaving friends, family and wife at important times in their lives. Unfortunately, this colored my opinion of the book and the small goals he achieved by helping. Also, even though he mentioned that the topic of these short-term volunteers (two weeks seems to be average) and the possible negative effect it may have had on the people was discussed in depth, it was never resolved to my satisfaction. All that being said, this is a good introductory book for those who are interested in voluntouring; his descriptions of the housing, transportation, amenities, and the people were all well detailed and documented. Mr. Budd hinted that he and his wife had some lengthy discussions on the subject of her decision to not become a mother, but that was never brought up in the book, and I wonder if he is still feeling "sorry for himself."
  • Gina Starr P. (Richfield, North Carolina)

    The "The Voltourist"
    This book was informational as well a little slow. I enjoyed this piece of work because of of the reasons why Ken Budd wanted to make a difference within his world and the world outside his comfort zone. However I found it slow and sometimes confusing. Many times I did not recognize if he was talking about the past, or the present. It was scattered and I spent a lot of time going back to see what he was writing about one time or another. It was a long time for me to get through this book as is not normal for me. But after finishing this book I now know why I took it slow, it was to make you think, feel and listen and question. I would recommend this book if one was to seek a deeper meaning of all the complexities we all take at times for granted.
  • Sharalynne P. (Munster, IN)

    Not Interesting To Me
    I don't usually do this but I'm giving up on this book after reading it about one half way through. It's not at all interesting to me and I can't figure out why, if he truly wants to help people, he doesn't do it here in the United States. Why does he have to go to China to help autistic children when he doesn't speak the language and he can help autistic children here? I know his purpose is to contribute to the world but I guess I'm just not getting it. Does he really want to help people or travel? Sorry, I guess this book just wasn't for me.
  • Penny P. (Santa barbara, Calif)

    A travel log
    I found this book interesting but as others have mentioned it did read more like a travelog. In some way, it also was a lot like a male version of Eat, Pray, Love. I found the fact that he so regretted not having children very sad. I think the death of a parent always makes us think of our own immortality and often causes us to reassess our lives. Reaching outside of our comfort zone, helps us to gain strength and confidence. I do think this is what the author was trying to covey, although to me, it was a bit superficial. I am an avid traveler and have been to the countries mentioned so that part was very interesting. In my book, both traveling and volunteering are two very worthwhile adventures.
  • Eileen P. (Pittsford, NY)

    Striving towards Eat, Pray, Love
    After the unexpected death of his father, Ken Budd sets off on a quest to make sure that his life matters. This sincere but superficial book is the recounting of that quest. While parts of the book were delightful and funny, other parts I struggled to get through as they contained way too much detail and not enough narrative drive.
  • Nancy A. (Woodstock, Georgia)

    Meaningful Vacations for Volunteers
    Although the story was uplifting in that it describes the author coming to terms with personal loss and disappointment through volunteering to help where needed, it somehow left me feeling a little sad and dissatisfied. Maybe it's just the way life is -- the best we can do is accept and allow the things we cannot change and move forward on a positive path, but we still feel sadness over the loss. Although I found the book interesting, and I'm a firm believer in volunteerism, my own volunteer work is closer to home and I'm not particularly interested in taking up "voluntourism". I think the book will appeal to men and women in the author's age range and to people of all ages who are interested in being "voluntourists" or who are interested in traveling to the locations described in the book. I'm sure they would find the book interesting and they would appreciate the information and advice about how to become a "voluntourist".
  • Molinda C. (suffolk, VA)

    I couldn't decide
    My husband said, "You must be enjoying that book, you have laughed out loud several times", and while this was true, I was still undecided. The Voluntourist impressed me as the man's version (rip-off) of Eat, Pray, Love and because it was written by a man, I did not connect with Mr. Budd's existential angst in the same way. Despite that, the story did energize me to think beyond myself in this world and seek opportunities to make an impact. In the end, I think that was the point. Mr. Bud's anecdotes are alternately touching, disturbing and funny. All in all an engaging read.
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