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Wide-open world : how volunteering around the globe changed one family's lives forever
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For readers of Three Cups of Tea; Eat, Pray, Love; and Wild comes the inspiring story of an ordinary American family that embarks on an extraordinary journey. Wide-Open World follows the Marshall family as they volunteer their way around the globe, living in a monkey sanctuary in Costa Rica, teaching English in rural Thailand, and caring for orphans in India. There's a name for this kind of endeavor-- voluntourism --and it might just be the future of travel.
Oppressive heat, grueling bus rides, backbreaking work, and one vicious spider monkey . . . Best family vacation ever!
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.

Praise for Wide-Open World
"Marshall's use of rich details locates readers firmly in each time and place, enabling them to sense the adventure, wonder and joy he experienced in his surroundings and in watching his children grow into hardworking, more responsible teens, as well as the frustrations and disappointments he and his family inevitably encountered along the way. A great armchair adventure that should inspire others to consider voluntourism as a way to help others and see the world." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Each new location combines beautiful scenery with a dose of sentiment, a good deal of humor, and some heartfelt consideration of the human condition. . . . His philosophy may not fit everyone and the ending is bittersweet, but this is an enticing call to service." -- Publishers Weekly
" Wide-Open World is an adventure made up of countless small moments of human connection. It's an armchair travelogue that may well inspire you to do good off the beaten path." -- BookPage

"For anyone who has ever imagined what it would be like to pack up, unplug, pull the kids out of school, and travel around the world, this volunteer adventure is your ticket. Wide-Open World will move, engage, and inspire you, even if you never leave the couch." --Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train
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First Chapter or Excerpt
Fiction/Biography Profile
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Table of Contents
Proroguep. xiii
Part 1Before the Trip
1Lout of the Bluep. 3
2the Best Partp. 10
3Down the Electronic Rabbit Holep. 13
4Big Logistical Ducksp. 18
5Liftoffp. 23
Part 2The Osa Wildlife Sanctuary
6Is Not Okayp. 29
7Maaawn-Kay Rulesp. 33
8Daddy? Can You Tuck My Scorpion In?p. 38
9In the Jungle, the Bitey Junglep. 43
10Life and Deathp. 47
11Seibop. 52
12Entirely My Faultp. 56
13The Last Parakeetp. 59
14Let 'Em Bite and Sit Tightp. 65
15The Outside of the Cagep. 70
16As Politely as Possiblep. 74
17Escape From Monkey Islandp. 77
Part 3Wwoof
18Rainsongp. 83
19Foreign Transplantsp. 87
20The Sweat Lodgep. 93
21Willing Workersp. 97
22Divine Goddess of Discerning Wisdomp. 102
23The Gypsy Dancerp. 105
24Tireless Robot Slavesp. 111
25The Birthday Bathp. 117
26Ohau Stream Walkp. 122
27Mount Fyffep. 126
Part 4Volunthai
28Safety Concernsp. 133
29Invasion of the Falong Familyp. 137
30Sour Tea Crapp. 144
31One Thai Dayp. 148
32White Glamourp. 152
33Meet the Renterp. 156
34Uninvited Guestsp. 160
35English Teachersp. 165
36Many Richp. 170
37The Ants and the Wingp. 174
38Goodbye, Aump. 178
Part 5The Good Shepherd Agricultural Misson
39The Farmp. 185
40Jobp. 191
41The Older Girlsp. 196
42Shy Boy and Birthday Girlp. 202
43Down By the Riversidep. 207
44Faithp. 213
45Smiling At the Angelsp. 216
46Leaving and Stayingp. 220
47A Small Blue Marblep. 225
48Choresp. 230
49The Ice Stormp. 236
50The Beauty and the Rewardp. 240
Part 6The Siddhartha School
51The Clock Starts Tickingp. 247
52More Fliesp. 251
53Hunnygoesp. 257
54Stok Villagep. 262
55Gazing Into Infinityp. 265
56Tibetan Superheroesp. 268
57Front Row Ticket Syndromep. 275
58The Illusion of the Worldp. 280
59Precious Jewelsp. 285
60The Last Prayerp. 289
Part 7After the Trip
61Sumsing Grounded and Realp. 295
62Our Home's Evil Twinp. 300
63Reentryp. 304
64The White Shellp. 309
65Wide-Open Worldp. 314
Epiloguep. 317
Acknowledgmentsp. 327
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