Rated of 5
by 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".
Rated of 5
by 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.
Rated of 5
by Rebecca R. (Las Vegas, NV) A Man's Version of
As someone who loves adventure travel and enjoys unique, supposedly un-glamorous destinations, I enjoyed reading this book. The first person male narrator's search for fulfillment and a meaningful life will be particularly relevant to anyone reaching the big four-oh birthday (and older) who has also lost a parent. That sudden feeling of being the oldest generation in one's family, the feeling that options might be tightening, etc. are of concern to a huge generation of baby boomers. For those reasons, the book struck me - somewhat- as a male version of "Eat, Pray,Love." That said, I did not enjoy this book as much as I did Gilbert's self-searching travelogue. Before I comment further on that, let me first say that the strong points are the humorous anecdotes, the wide variety of countries visited, and the refreshing honesty about political situations as well as about being a volunteer in places where a Westerner is a rarity. I have experienced that same gut wrenching feeling on the last day in remote locations. In fact, this might be a good book for other volunteer-tourists to read. The country chapters make it easy to recommend that someone focus on just a particular country. The aspect of the book that bothered me and made me hesitate about the rating (good v. average) was the narrator's repetitive obsession with not having a child. The return to this regret was like watching a movie over streaming video and having it stop at the same point several times or an old-fashioned experience of a vinyl record with a scratch that causes a word to repeat over and over. Irritating! I found myself thinking, "For Pete's sake. If he is THAT upset then how on earth does his marriage work?" Get divorced and find a partner that wants this one same goal. How could this couple have not discussed this major issue more thoroughly a long time ago? It made me wonder if the harmonious ending to this life issue will be lasting.
Rated of 5
by John W. (Clayton, Missouri) Doesn't Live Up to the Hype
My wife and I are extremely active volunteers in the non-profit sectors focused on helping under resourced segments of the population domestically and globally so after reading the description of the book I couldn't wait to read it. Unfortunately the content didn’t live up to the hype.
Ken Budd's memoir is more than a travel journal of his travels to many different places including Ecuador, Kenya, China, and Palestine. The reader does get a brief look into these places and people, one that is not a typical tourist's view. It is the personal journey view that falls short. The author doesn’t express clearly how his voluntourism experiences changes or redefines him. He spends more time describing other volunteers and his interactions with them than he does the people and projects in a very detached manner.
On a positive note the book shares the challenges and rewards of voluntourism and it is presented in a useful perspective for anyone considering such a trip. I did find the Bethlehem and Kenya sections very interesting, but not enough for me to recommend the book.
Rated of 5
by Lynn W. (Glenn Dale, MD) Working towards a life that matters
I have to love a book that makes me laugh out loud and also moves me to tears. When you add to the mix kids, lack of kids and giving a great quantity of passion and compassion, you have a book that really can teach us to have a life that matters to ourselves and to others.
British Parliament asks Amazon to clarify why it pays $9 million in income tax on $23 billion of UK sales.(May 20 2013) Amazon will be called back to give further evidence to members of the British Parliament "to clarify how its activities in the U.K. justify its low corporate...