Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Book Review: "The Voluntourist" by Ken Budd

The Voluntourist Ken Budd
Published: May 8, 2012
ISBN-10: 006194646X
Genre: NonFiction, Memoir
Source: TLC Book Tours
Highly Recommended

What leads someone to pay money to travel to the far reaches of the world to work...for free?  For Ken Budd, it was two things: the death of his father and the death of his dream to be a father.  These cause him to take stock of his life and find meaning.  He decides to leave his comfortable lifestyle, a couple of weeks at a time, and travel the world volunteering.  He starts by traveling to New Orleans to help with the Hurricane Katrina, then to a refugee town in Costa Rica, to help in a school for disabled children in China, the forests of Ecuador to help with global warming research, to Bethlehem to work with the Palestinians and, finally, to Kenya to work in an orphanage.

This is a book that will change your life.  It reminded me of Greg Mortensen's Three Cups of Tea, although The Voluntourist is far better-written book.  And this almost seems like you are getting two books for the price of one--a travel memoir about Budd's travels through the world and a more introspective examination regarding his grief over losing his father and coming to terms with the fact that he will never be a father himself.

The fact that he does something different on each of his 6 trips keeps this book from falling too deep into the introspection side of the story.  I have to say that my favorite trip of his was the one to Bethlehem.  As Americans (and this is pointed out in the book) we hear quite a bit about the Israeli side of the conflict and little about the Palestinian side.  However, Budd works with the Palestinians, giving the reader and eye-opening account of what we rarely hear about in the news.

I'm not one to recommend a single book to everyone--I realize that very few books are for everyone.  This book, however, is an exception.  It's easy to read and will both open your eyes and touch your heart.  So, go read it, y'all!

If you would like to read what others thought of this book, visit one of the other tour stops: (as usual, the links go to the blog itself, not the specific review)

May 22 - Knowing the Difference
May 28 - BookNAround
May 29 - Book Club Classics!
May 30 - The Written Word
June 7 - Travel Spot
June 12 - Joyfully Retired
June 14 - readerbuzz
June 23 - A Life Sustained
Date TBD: My Bookshelf

This review is part of a blog tour by TLC book tours.  I received a copy of the book to read and review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are mine, and mine alone.

Affiliate Link: Buy this book at Amazon!

1 comment:

  1. It is a rare thing to find a book that absolutely EVERYONE needs to read so I'm excited to see you make that recommendation about this one.

    Thank for being on the tour! I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.