Customer Review

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Making a Life Mean Something, May 11, 2012
This review is from: The Voluntourist: A Six-Country Tale of Love, Loss, Fatherhood, Fate, and Singing Bon Jovi in Bethlehem (Paperback)
After Ken Budd's father succumbed to a fatal heart attack suffered on the golf course, Budd took a long, hard look at his own life and decided that something was missing. His was a childless marriage, but Budd was reluctant to push his yearning for children because he knew that his wife did not want a child. Budd did know that he wanted to live "a life that matters," one in which his good deeds would live on long after he was gone - but he did not know where to begin.

When, just a few months later, he received an email from his employer outlining opportunities for volunteers to help New Orleans residents clean up and rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Budd decided this was just the thing to turn his life in a new, more positive direction. His two weeks in New Orleans, as described in The Voluntourist, would lead to five more "voluntourist" trips around the world, trips during which Budd and other travelers would pay for the opportunity to perform the most basic labor for people in desperate need of relief.

After New Orleans, Budd would spend two weeks: in a Costa Rican school; in a Chinese school for mentally handicapped children; deep in the Ecuadorian jungle working with a conservationist group; observing daily life in Palestine through the eyes of ordinary Palestinian families; and working in a Kenyan orphanage. Along the way, Budd reminded himself to live (and to test himself) by a philosophical truth he picked up in Costa Rica from another "voluntourist" - "you only learn about yourself when you're outside your comfort zone." This would certainly be the case for Ken Budd.

The Voluntourist tends to drift a little, often resulting in a feeling of repetitiveness as Budd returns time and again to the same personal issues he struggled with during this period in his life. Perhaps, this was done because Budd intends for his readers to watch his thinking evolve over time as he experiences the cultures of more countries and deals with numerous children - but it makes what is already destined to be long book (near 450 pages) longer than need be.

That said, The Voluntourist will be of great interest to arm chair travelers because of how much time the author spends with ordinary working citizens of the places he visits. Budd is definitely not a tourist; he literally gets his hands dirty by being very willing to take on whatever task he is asked to perform. It takes Budd a while to figure out that he is not expected to perform miracles, or to make permanent changes in the lives of those he comes into contact with - it is more about bringing some relief to people whose lives are harsher and more physically demanding than his own. In the process of doing this, he will achieve his heartfelt goal of living "a life that matters."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Location: Spring, Texas

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,710