The Voluntourist

The Voluntourist

A Six-Country Tale of Love, Loss, Fatherhood, Fate, and Singing Bon Jovi in Bethlehem

By Ken Budd

William Morrow & Company, Paperback, 9780061946462, 451pp.

Publication Date: May 2012


n. 1. A guy who attempts to save the world in an attempt to save himself.
2. Someone who can only do it two weeks at a time.

When Ken Budd was thirty-nine, his father collapsed after eighteen holes of golf. Ken and his wife raced to the hospitalbut it was too late. In the weeks that followed, as grieving friends revealed how his father had changed their lives, Ken started questioning his own lifeand admitting, after years of denial, that he and his wife would never have children.

And then, still struggling with griefhis grief at losing his father, his grief at not being a fatherKen received an e-mail with the subject line: "Katrina Relief Volunteer Opportunities." He signed up. He went to New Orleans. And he kept volunteering: Costa Rica, to teach English; China, to work with special-needs children; Ecuador, to study climate change; the West Bank, to assist refugees; Kenya, to care for orphans. His goal: to find purpose by helping others, one trip at a time.

Wry, funny, and heartbreakingly honest, The Voluntourist will linger in your mind long after you've turned the last page.

About the Author
KEN BUDD is an award-winning writer and editor whose writing credits include Smithsonian, the Washington Post, McSweeney s, Stuff, Washingtonian, Modern Humorist, Opium, and Worldview. Ken lives in Burke, Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife.

Praise For The Voluntourist

“One of the best-written travel memoirs...this book spins a compelling yarn, linking six varied experiences into a cohesive narrative. Recommended for anyone who has been, or is interested in becoming, a ‘voluntourist.’ ”
-Library Journal

“Readers of this unique travel memoir will undoubtedly be inspired to take a voluntour of their own, and the author includes helpful tips on how to do just that.”

“A solid introduction to the world of volunteer tourism and a pleasant diversion for those who don’t mind a wandering road.”
-Kirkus Reviews