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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 reader reviews for The Voluntourist
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Karen E. (Sandy, UT) (06/17/12)

Very enjoyable book
It was very interesting to go on Ken Budd's journeys to different lands. I found his total honesty about his motives very refreshing. He gave such a good view of how much need there is in the world and how in small ways we all can help. I liked that everything didn't turn out perfect, because this is real life.
Chris H. (Wauwatosa, WI) (05/25/12)

Full Circle
The life of Ken Budd as a "Voluntourist" is compelling and and while being his own personal journey I found it really resonated with me. He came to a time in his life when he felt a need for something more. This need led him around the world where he was filling needs of others. The whole coming full circle is wonderful to read. Thanks, Ken Budd, for sharing this part of your life!
WDH (New Port Richey, FL) (05/09/12)

Wanderer
I enjoyed most of the book - the author has a good sense of humor and can tell a story. I also believe he had good intentions with his 'voluntourism' activities. He does wander a bit more than necessary in telling some of the stories though. I also struggled with some of the more personal aspects that seem rather self-centered on the author's part. He's sad and decides to take off volunteering and doesn't really seem to consider the impact on his existing relationships. However, having recently lost my father, I could relate to the feeling of wanting to make a difference somehow.
Sharon W. (Two Rivers, WI) (05/07/12)

The Voluntourist
I totally loved this book. I felt like I was right there with them. I love to volunteer also, but have never gone out of the country. It's amazing what people do to help others.
John D. (Garland, TX) (05/03/12)

Very enjoyable
I enjoyed this book. It is well written and the author has a good sense of humor. Each of the projects he volunteered for was interesting to learn about.
Penny N. (Saginaw, MI) (05/02/12)

Paying to volunteer
If you're thinking about the concept of paying your own way to volunteer in the world this is the book to read. The author documents his time in 6 different countries. The most inspirational and memorable one takes place in Palestine at Christmas. At the back of the book are great guidelines to follow when picking your organization to volunteer with. Ken Budd's volunteer trips start with helping to clean up the mess of Katrina and then tells the stories of working in China, Kenya, Costa Rica and Ecuador. At the beginning of the trip to Palestine the author said he was not going to judge either the Israelis or the Palestinians - as he writes about the volunteering and the things he sees happen in front of him and to him, you realize what nasty little game Israel is playing in the Middle East. The book was totally enjoyable. But I felt the author injected too much of his personal mourning for his dead father and the fact that he and his wife (both over 40) had not had a child of their own into the book.
Mary D. (Claremont, CA) (05/01/12)

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."
Mark B. (Jackson, MI) (05/01/12)

A Great Read for Mission-Minded People
Ken Budd's newest book, The Voluntourist, was an inspiring read about his many trips to serve the people of the world. For someone who does not travel much outside of the United States, it was wonderful reading about Mr. Budd's various experiences in Costa Rica, China, Ecuador; Palestine; Kenya; and my favorite, New Orleans. It was so much fun to hear about the interesting parts of the world, even as Budd and his wife ministered to the many people in need throughout the world. With his great guide to designing your own voluntourist adventure, I could see this being a great study adventure for a small group in almost any denomination, or just a group of friends who want to serve. As a clergy and worship musician, it will be a book I recommend for mission committees and those who like to travel and serve.
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