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Book Review: The Underground Guide to International Volunteering

Book Review: The Underground Guide to International Volunteering

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For anyone who reads this blog, you are probably aware that I really found my love for travel by volunteering internationally while I was still a teenager. I simply never understood the value or impact that volunteering had until I dropped out of college and boarded a plane to volunteer in Thailand when I was 19, after the tsunami struck South East Asia in 2004.

Easily one of the great experiences of my life, planning a volunteer trip can be tough, but thanks to Kirsty and The Underground Guide to International Volunteering, the whole process just got a lot easier.

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Book Review: The Underground Guide to International Volunteering
Kirsty while volunteering in the wilds of Nicaragua.

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Volunteering not only gave me a completely fresh and unique view of the world, introduced me to cultures wildly different from my own and sights I had never seen, but it allowed me to meet amazing people from all over the world, especially other like minded volunteers. I’ve volunteered with a group called All Hands, for many years and worked on projects with them in Thailand, Bangladesh, Mississippi and the Philippines. Lucky for me, I met Kirsty along the way and we ended up working together in a couple different spots around the world together over the years.

After randomly connecting again via random mutual friends in Rwanda, Kirsty told me she had been working for years to compile a comprehensive book titled, The Underground Guide to International Volunteering, which is an amazing resource for anyone looking to volunteer anywhere in the world and something that would have been wildly valuable to me when I first started looking for ways to help way back in 2004.

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Book Review: The Underground Guide to International Volunteering

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One of the biggest problems I had when I started looking to volunteer was trying to find a reputable organization which felt genuine. So many sites I cam across felt like a scam or charged insane amounts of money to people simply looking to lend a hand. While there are some very good organizations that charge to volunteer, I will always lean towards the free ones. Whatever your preference is, The Underground Guide to International Volunteering has the answers you are looking for.

Kirsty has interviewed volunteers from all over the world and covered every topic you could ever imagine asking before committing to a volunteer trip abroad. She covers destinations all across the world, different types of organizations offering a wide variety of volunteering opportunities as well as the real questions everyone wants answer to like “will I get sick?“, “is it safe to travel alone?” and everything between.

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Book Review: The Underground Guide to International Volunteering
A young boy on his father’s cart in Reyenda, Bangladesh where both Kirsty and I volunteered together in 2008.

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I would have given anything to have this guide when I was lost sifting through an endless mess of websites in a dingy internet cafe in Dublin so many years ago and am thrilled to have such an experienced friend as Kirsty compile all the essential information together to help people get out, see the world and lend a helping hand.

Volunteering abroad will give you experiences you never dreamed of, meet people you will never forget and bless you with a perspective few people are lucky enough to have. Take the chance, make the leap and dive headfirst into one of the best experiences of your life, you now have the complete guide at your fingertips, don’t waste it.

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

Travel Book Review

Travel Book Review “The Red Rucksack”

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One of the hardest aspects of traveling the world is trying to convey your experiences to your friends and family when you return home. “Wait, so where were you, somewhere in Africa? or Nepal or something? Tell me alllll about it!” Questions like this are a dime a dozen to the frequent traveler and we all answer it the same way 99% of the time. “It was amazing”. While many friends genuinely want to hear all about your travel experiences, it is almost impossible to convey all the amazing life memories we have made on the road – unless you are Ben West in his new book The Red Rucksack. Deeply entertaining and packed full of those “you had to be there” moments that make the stress of travel worth it, he transports us all with him around the world from the Himalayas to the deserts of Mongolia to extreme sports in South America.

Travel Book Review "The Red Rucksack"Not all travel books have the chance to transport us the way The Red Rucksack does. Travel is all about escaping the norm and exploring the world out there and books are about doing the same. It is so refreshing to find a book that allows us to see the world from the couch, if even only for a minute!

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“There are a lot of travel books out there, but only a few have a really special voice…”

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So if you are looking for a great read about the adventure of travel, an escape into the adventure of world travel or be inspired to dream up your next holiday, this is the book for you. Sometimes we can’t all be on the road and follow our travel dreams as often as we want, but at least someone has done a brilliant job of making us feel like we were by his side the whole time.

The Red Rucksack is available on AMAZON for  $14 (paperback, PDF and e-Reader)

You can also read full review and order the book on Ben’s WEBSITE.

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What are others saying about The Red Rucksack?

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“The writing in this compares with some of the really very well known, high profile travel writers. It stands up there with the likes of Bill Bryson Travel Book Review "The Red Rucksack"and Paul Theroux … Extraordinarily funny in places and you feel like you are in the seat and he is sitting across from you in the lounge room, and that is a real skill to be able to write like that.”Tim Gott (ABC Statewide Radio, Tasmania)

“If you’re a fan of comical storytelling, deep descriptions and an author who tells it like he sees it…you’ll absolutely love “The Red Rucksack.”  – Let’s Roll, a travel blog by Flight Network 

“When a book makes me giggle (or downright laugh out load) in public…now that’s a fine book. The Red Rucksack is, by far, one of the best books I’ve ever read and possible the favorite one I’ve read this year.”LooknWalk 

“I can say many things about this book. Well written, superbly funny, touching…I was sold from the first chapter”My Travel Affairs 

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jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all.

A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh.

Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!


Travel Books Review:

Travel Books Review: “Kilimanjaro and Beyond”

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“Kilimanjaro and Beyond – A Life-Changing Journey” follows 60 year-old Barry Finlay and his son Chris to the top of Africa’s highest mountain. Not only did they set out to conquer the mountain, they carried a Canadian flag bearing the names of over 200 donors who contributed to help them build a classroom at a community in Tanzania.

 

The author states that he didn’t pick Tanzania; the country chose him and it is evident as his fundraising has continued to fund a well at a preschool and help some young women and youth start small businesses. This award winning book is inspirational, thought provoking and entertaining and proves that nothing is more satisfying than reaching a goal and giving others the opportunity to achieve theirs.

Kilimanjaro And Beyond is available In Paperback and Ebook through:

AMAZON

 

Travel Books Review: "Kilimanjaro and Beyond: A Life-Changing Journey"READER REVIEWS FOR KILIMANJARO AND BEYOND:

“If you’re the kind of person who can usually find any excuse to talk yourself out of a great idea this book is the inspiration you need to get out of your comfort zone and make things happen.”  – Helen Osler, Author, Cameras of Kilimanjaro, Australia

“. . . the writing is warm, familiar and humorous. Kilimanjaro and Beyond will challenge all who read it to consider how they too can make a difference, not only for others, but for themselves as well.”

– Reader Views, Austin, Texas

“I loved this meticulous chronicle of one man’s ascent (together with his son and another individual fulfilling a lifelong aspiration), to the highest mountain in Africa–at once so inspirational and courageous, so human and humane, and so deeply personal that the reader feels they are climbing right along with this small and highly determined group.”

Reverend Dr. Linda De Coff, Author, Bridge of the Gods

 

“Kilimanjaro and Beyond is a beautifully written tale about a spiritual journey, a physical embarking, and so much more.”

 GoodbooksToday.com 

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“Reading this book could change your life and set you off on a satisfying path of achieving your dreams and ambitions.”

– Jeannie Walker, Award-Winning Author, Fighting the Devil

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“. . . honest, funny, very engaging and truly written from the heart.”

– Alysha Atma, Executive Director, Atma Foundation, Oregon, USA

 

“I am a local Kilimanjaro guide and I have always recommended your book to prospective clients and I have noticed they get to know a lot about the climb before embarking on it. It makes it an easier climb and works well for everyone.”

– Robert, Kilimanjaro Guide, Tanzania, Africa

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Travel Books Review: "Kilimanjaro and Beyond: A Life-Changing Journey"

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Travel Book Review:

Travel Book Review: “I Guess We Missed The Boat” . I Guess We Missed The Boat is fun for people of all ages as eight retired seniors, related by marriage, visit various locales around the globe, often with hilarious results. Some of the adventures include topless beaches, sketchy starfish, psychological bar fights and an encounter with ancient Romans.   The book has been described by readers as “exhilarating”, “a joy to read” and a “side splitter.” But perhaps the best comes from one reader who describes the sense of warmth he got from listening to his parents and their friends reminisce about their various adventures. He says that I Guess We Missed The Boat gave him that “same feeling of fun, mixed with awe, with a drop of incredulity thrown into the pot.” Whether you are planning to travel or just want to be reminded of some of your own travel escapades, this book is for you. Get I Guess We Missed The Boat at the following sites: Amazon.com : $15 .   Travel Book Review: "I Guess We Missed The Boat"READER REVIEWS FOR I GUESS WE MISSED THE BOAT: . “Barry Finlay has made the transition from mountain climbing (Kilimanjaro and Beyond) to hilarity in this new book (I Guess We Missed the Boat). His descriptions of the trials of international travelling, though not funny at the time, are “laugh out loud” hilarious. The stories of his travels with his congenial in-laws and friends are told in a manner that makes you feel that you, too, were involved in the event. Not only are these people seeing the world, they are having fun doing it.” – Elizabeth via General Store Publishing House site. “Finally we are enjoying a focus on the `older generation’, loosely defined as retirees who are well enough to retain the sparkle of adventure as is evident in such successful films as `The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel‘, `The Bucket List’, `Quartet’, `The Artist’ and others. Well here is a book about retirees who love to travel, understand the restrictions, forego the amenities at times, cope with the inconveniences, and all the while have a laughingly great time, free of the ties of family that being younger usually means. This is an exhilarating read.” – Grady  (Amazon) Travel Book Review: "I Guess We Missed The Boat" “Finlay’s tone throughout the book exactly captures the lighter side of traveling overseas. … With tales of topless beaches, randy animals, sexy lingerie, and rowdy bar brawls, you’ll want to either take cover and stay at home, or want to wish you were out there in all the fun. From the comfort and safety of my own arm-chair, I found this to be a joy of a read.” John Phiser (Amazon) “Mr Finlay definitely understands and captures the best and worst of travelling abroad. He truly captures the exotic and crazy of what can be encountered when away from home. I would recommend that anyone wanting a good laugh read this book.” – Jan Heart (Amazon)     .

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