31 May, 2021

Adventure by Chicken Bus: An Unschooling Odyssey through Central America by Janet LoSole - [Book Review]

 Book Details:

Title : Adventure by Chicken Bus: An Unschooling Odyssey through Central America

Author : Janet LoSole

Genre : Memoirs, Non-Fiction

Publisher : Resource Publications

Print Length : 217 pages

Source: A free review copy from the author


Embarking on a homeschooling field trip to Central America is stressful enough, but add in perilous bridge crossings, trips to the hospital, and a lack of women’s underwear, and you have the makings of an Adventure by Chicken Bus…a tale of one family, buckling under a mountain of debt, who sells all worldly possessions and hits the road.

Adventure by Chicken Bus demonstrates how to travel sustainably, but more importantly, how to nurture the next generation of environmentalists and social justice activists by exposing them to the conditions faced by those in the developing world.

From a remote monkey sanctuary tucked into an enclave on the Panama-Costa Rica frontier to the overdeveloped beaches of the Mayan Riviera, we endure chaotic border crossings, infections and injuries, learn about the history of the civil war in Nicaragua, visit UNESCO heritage sites, and hike the ancient Mayan temples of Tikal in Guatemala.

For the sake of safety, we plan our route down to the kilometer, navigating the region by chicken bus, an eye-opening mode of public transportation ubiquitous in the developing world. Along the way we re-connect with each other, re-kindle our commitment to the environment, recognize the privilege into which we were born, and become compassionate global citizens.

My Review:

A couple leaving their jobs as school teachers in Canada travel to Costa Rica with their 2 kids to work at an organization that saves endangered sea turtles. This is their story of homeschooling their children while learning the native cultures of the places they visit to live like a local with meager income without any luxuries like electricity and a refrigerator.

This is about their travel experiences and their hurdles. This is kind of a homeschooling field trip but a long one to Central America.

While reading the book, at some points I got a chill in my spine, when they had to stay in musty, Narrow rooms, travel in overcrowded buses without enough air to breathe, when their daughter misses an accident in seconds, etc.,
I appreciate and understand  Janet and Lloyd's interest in community-based travel supporting local businesses and homeschooling their kids.👏

Why the name Chicken bus? 🐔🐣

Chicken Bus is a colloquial term used to describe the run-down, discarded school buses from North America sold to Latin American countries, where they are repainted in bright colors, outfitted with stereo speakers, and upcycled with more seats to accommodate more people with their potatoes, avocadoes, and chickens. 

What's great?

Loved the book cover and the title is appropriate. The map at the beginning of the book is very helpful to understand the route they travel and the places they visit.

The Author's passion to homeschool their kids by showing the local people and their culture are worth an appreciation. 

What might have been better?

I felt the book is too verbose. Some photos might have made reading easier.

The font might have been larger.

The book ends with this line which I agree 100%
" Yes, The Chicken buses, crammed full and whistling down a bumpy road, unveil a great deal indeed"

My Rating: 4/5

About the Author:

Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published 18 books, 11 of which are novels. Her work has been translated into 54 languages. Her latest novel 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and RSL Ondaatje Prize; and chosen Blackwell's Book of the Year. Her previous novel, The Forty Rules of Love was chosen by BBC among 100 Novels that Shaped Our World. Shafak holds a PhD in political science and she has taught at various universities in Turkey, the US and the UK, including St Anne's College, Oxford University, where she is an honorary fellow.

Shafak is a Fellow and a Vice President of the Royal Society of Literature. She is a member of Weforum Global Agenda Council on Creative Economy and a founding member of ECFR (European Council on Foreign Relations). An advocate for women's rights, LGBTQ+ rights and freedom of speech, Shafak is an inspiring public speaker and twice TED Global speaker, each time receiving a standing ovation. Shafak contributes to major publications around the world and she was awarded the medal of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In 2017 she was chosen by Politico as one of the twelve people "who will give you a much needed lift of the heart". Shafak has judged numerous literary prizes, and chaired the Wellcome Prize and is presently judging the PEN Nabokov Prize.
Twitter @Elif_Safak
Instagram @shafakelif

Until next time,

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