Read advance reader review of The Voluntourist by Ken Budd, page 2 of 3

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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 by Ken Budd X
The Voluntourist by Ken Budd
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There are currently 17 member reviews
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
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