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The Green Life: Book Review Wednesday: Service-Oriented Vacations

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April 01, 2009

Book Review Wednesday: Service-Oriented Vacations

Books about environmentalism Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. Today we're recommending books about volunteer trips and ecofriendly journeys.

The 100 Best Volunteer Vacations to Enrich Your Life (by Pam Grout, $20, National Geographic Books, May 2009): This book is a great resource for travelers who want to go beyond the typical tourist experience. With service-oriented trips grouped by region, you can plan a local vacation or opt for a more exotic journey. Volunteer projects include trail building in Colorado, tracking jaguars in Brazil, or working on an organic farm in South Korea.

The Insider's Guide to the Peace Corps: What to Know Before You Go (by Dillon Banerjee, $15, Ten Speed Press, April 2009) A must-read for anyone considering "the toughest job you'll ever love," Dillon Banerjee's honest and thorough guide provides advice for every stage of the journey--from application process to readjusting to life after the peace corps. Banerjee speaks from personal experience, but he doesn't sound like an overly-optimistic recruiter. If you're wondering about whether you'll have internet access abroad, what to do if you get sick, or what the peace corps dating scene is like, Banerjee offers straightforward answers without any insincere fluff.

The Give-Back Solution: Create a Better World with Your Time, Talents, and Travel (Whether You Have $10 or $10,000) (by Susan Skog, $15, Sourcebooks, March 2009): Before committing to a volunteer vacation, it's wise to ask a few questions. While you might have already considered some of the broader queries ("What do you want to experience?), this book reminds readers to consider every detail ("Will I be carrying trusses or roofing material--or painting school bathrooms?). Descriptions of numerous volunteer programs are provided along with stories from former volunteers.

Greasy Rider: Two Dudes, One Fry-Oil-Powered Car, and a Cross-Country Search for a Greener Future (by Greg Melville, $16, Algonquin Books, 2008) The classic cross-country travelogue goes green in Greg Melville's french-fry-powered journey from Vermont to California. Along the way, Melville and his friend, Iggy, visit wind farms, geothermal projects, and "green" mansions. Use this book to inspire your own ecofriendly trip.

--Della Watson

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