Georgette's Reviews > The Voluntourist: A Six-Country Tale of Love, Loss, Fatherhood, Fate, and Singing Bon Jovi in Bethlehem

The Voluntourist by Ken Budd
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Jun 18, 2012

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bookshelves: armchair-travel-essays
Read from June 15 to 18, 2012

I liked this book a lot.

After his dad passes away suddenly, Ken Budd faces an attack of "What have I done with my life to make a difference?". It's something those of us who lose parents or close loved ones often ask. Death has a funny way of clarifying and prioritizing things. Ken and his wife had decided that kids weren't in the equation, and that decision is now coming back and smacking him in the back of his head with uncertainty. He decides he wants to go to where help is needed and lend a hand to help the common good and man.

Where does Ken end up? Working to help rebuild houses in the South after Hurricane Katrina, in Costa Rica(with his wife) teaching middle-school kids how to speak English, helping special needs children in China, dealing with all sorts of mayhem in Palestine, spreading the word about the causes and effects of global warming in Ecuador, and helping orphans in Kenya. This helps him deal with the grief process and come to a peace with his own life and how things have and haven't worked out for him in the life he's led so far. By making a difference, however small he may believe, to others who are far worse off, helps him come to terms with the things he has to be grateful to in his own life.

Wow. All I have to say is I think Ken's message is all shades of wonderful. If I had someone to help my 80-year old father out full-time and I knew I could afford to do it monetarily, I wouldn't hesitate to get out into the world and help those who are less fortunate. I guess for those of us who can't get out there and do it on a scale like Ken did, you should try to do your best to do so on a daily basis. The book made me more aware that even the smallest things that you can do to help someone out in their life, on a daily basis, help them, and that makes all the difference in the world.
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06/15/2012 page 100
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