Adventure by Chicken Bus

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A book review of Adventure by Chicken Bus: An Unschooling Odyssey Through Central America by Janet LoSole

A book review of Adventure by Chicken Bus: An Unschooling Odyssey Through Central America by Janet LoSole

Stars: ****

Resource Publications (2019)
226 pages

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Summary: 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.

Buckling under a mountain of debt, Janet LoSole and her family are at their wits’ end. Determined to make a drastic change, they sell all worldly possessions and hit the road. With only a few items of clothing, a four-person tent, and little else, the family visits a sleepy island backwater in Costa Rica to save endangered sea turtles. In Panama, they bounce around like turnips in the back of a vegetable truck to reach an isolated monkey sanctuary. In Guatemala, they scale the ancient Mayan temples of Tikal.

In between tales of begging rides from total strangers and sleeping overnight in the jungle with an indigenous family, Janet endorses community-based travel—supporting local businesses and favoring public transportation called chicken buses. She also writes candidly about what it takes to travel long-term with two little girls amid the chaos of border crossings, erratic drivers, and creepy crawlies lurking at the edge of the jungle.

Adventure by Chicken Bus

This family went on an AMAZING adventure that just flabbergasts me because I’ve only been outside of Canada like twice. I can see America from my street corner so that’s not saying much. I’ve never been on an airplane. I’ve never been somewhere where English is not the first language. I’ve certainly never gave away almost everything I own and lived off the land.

Janet and Lloyd make travelling in Central America with two young girls look easy. That’s probably at least partly because they both grew up travelling and it’s very important to them so they do a lot of it. But still, I was shocked some of the time how scary I’d be in their situation and they seemingly handled it with ease.

One thing that would have made the book better (and given it 5 stars), would be if it included photos. The author mentions a few times photos they took and sent home to family. I want to see those photos! I’ll never travel to Central America and I would love to see photos of some of their adventures.

Another thing is after we hear about their trip home, the next thing we read is a year later. I felt a little bit cheated. I want to know what it was like when they got home. Did they live with very little stuff still? Did they have trouble adjusting?

With lots of travel experience under their belt, Janet shares lots of ideas. If you are planning to travel, especially if with kids and/or for a longer trip, this book has great advice. If anyone plans to travel to Central America, you absolutely should read this book.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.