MLA Gold Award Site

The Voluntourist: Book summary and 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
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  May 2012
    464 pages
    Genre: Travel & Adventure

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

Ken Budd's The Voluntourist is a remarkable memoir about losing your father, accepting your fate, and finding your destiny by volunteering around the world for numerous worthy causes: Hurricane Katrina disaster relief in New Orleans, helping special needs children in China, studying climate change in Ecuador, lending a hand - and a heart - at a Palestinian refugee camp in the Middle East, to name but a few. Ken's emotional journey is as inspiring and affecting as those chronicled in Little Princes and Three Cups of Tea.

At once a true story of powerful family bonds, of sacrifice, of self-discovery, The Voluntourist is an all-too-human, real-life hero whom you will not soon forget.

Paperback original

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Not for readers easily frustrated with wandering thoughts, but a solid introduction to the world of volunteer tourism and a pleasant diversion for those who don't mind a winding road." - Kirkus Reviews

"In Kenya, Budd finally experiences a spiritually uplifting resolution of his journey of self-discovery, realizing that we live up to those who shaped us by honoring their strongest values, by caring for those we cherish, and caring for those that they cherished.'" - Publishers Weekly

The information about The Voluntourist shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Karen E. (Sandy, UT)

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)

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!

Sharon W. (Two Rivers, WI)

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.

WDH (New Port Richey, FL)

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.

John D. (Garland, TX)

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)

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.

...11 more reader reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Information

More Information

Ken Budd is an award-winning writer and editor whose writing credits include Smithsonian, the Washington Post, McSweeney's, Stuff, Washingtonian, Modern Humorist, Opium, Worldview, and AARP: The Magazine. Ken lives in Burke, Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more travel & adventure...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: If I Was Your Girl
    If I Was Your Girl
    by Meredith Russo
    Who defines us? Do we ourselves, or does the society in which we live? Meredith Russo's ...
  • Book Jacket: If I Was Your Girl
    If I Was Your Girl
    by Meredith Russo
    Who defines us? Do we ourselves, or does the society in which we live? Meredith Russo's ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Lost Child
    by Caryl Phillips
    The Lost Child is a modern novel constructed within a historical frame, invoking one of the most ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    If I Forget You
    by Thomas Christopher Greene

    A haunting tale of lost love from the critically acclaimed author of The Headmaster's Wife.

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Charmers

The Charmers by Elizabeth Adler

"This tale of romantic suspense makes the perfect beach read."
—Library Journal

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

C To T Q

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.