Saturday, February 07, 2015
I enjoy reading about parenting and travel, so Wide-Open World: How Volunteering Around the Globe Changed One Family's Lives Forever by John Marshall caught my attention. It's the story of a family who decided to embark upon a "year of service," volunteering their way around the globe.
Here's the book's description from Amazon:
John Marshall needed a change. His twenty-year marriage was falling apart, his seventeen-year-old son was about to leave home, and his fourteen-year-old daughter was lost in cyberspace. Desperate to get out of a rut and reconnect with his family, John dreamed of a trip around the world, a chance to leave behind, if only just for a while, routines and responsibilities. He didn’t have the money for resorts or luxury tours, but he did have an idea that would make traveling the globe more affordable and more meaningful than he’d ever imagined: The family would volunteer their time and energy to others in far-flung locales.
Wide-Open World is the inspiring true story of the six months that changed the Marshall family forever. Once they’d made the pivotal decision to go, John and his wife, Traca, quit their jobs, pulled their kids out of school, and embarked on a journey that would take them far off the beaten path, and far out of their comfort zones.
Here is the totally engaging, bluntly honest chronicle of the Marshalls’ life-altering adventure from Central America to East Asia. It was no fairy tale. The trip offered little rest, even less relaxation, and virtually no certainty of what was to come. But it did give the Marshalls something far more valuable: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to conquer personal fears, strengthen family bonds, and find their true selves by helping those in need. In the end, as John discovered, he and his family did not change the world. It was the world that changed them.
John and his wife quit their jobs, pulled the kids out of school, and rented their house though a last minute Craigslist ad and set off with a partial itinerary. Their journey fascinated me, but I couldn't understand some of their parenting decisions. Take kids who aren't expected to do chores at home and suddenly expect them to earn their keep as volunteers working at a monkey sanctuary and teaching English? I'm not sure that was fair to the kids or the monkeys and students.
Disclosure -- the publisher provided me with an ARC.