Review: Wide-Open World by John Marshall

I want to thank Random House for allowing me to read an advanced copy of the book. I don’t really read memoirs but this one really got me interested. I love traveling and wish I could do more. My dad worked for a company that took him overseas and my mom, sister and I were lucky enough to join him at times. I’ve been to Puerto Rico, Barcelona, Spain, Stockholm, Sweden and Paris, France. Though most of those trips took place when I was 8 years old to 15 years old. Sadly, I don’t remember much from Spain since I was in the 7th grade and I blocked out most from that year in my memory and also 9/11 happened a couple of months before we left. Though the memories I do have will always be with me. I loved learning about a new place and when visiting Sweden we were there around Christmas time and got to see some of their festivities that they do during the holidays. My family and I were tourists and not volunteering, frankly I don’t see my mother doing anything like what John(the narrator/author) did. I do have a co-member at my work who is from China and is leaving next week for home and I would really like to go visit. She suggested that I go and teach English over there but that is a HUGE step to take! Right now I am content with living in Vermont for the year (or at least until August) and then finding another job someplace else (hopefully a tad bit warmer…winter is brutal and it’s only February!).

4/5 stars

wide open worldThis memoir tells the story of the Marshall family traveling around the world by volunteering in 6 months. The family consists of John, the father, Traca, the mother, Logan, the 17 year old son, and Jackson, the 15 year old daughter. Traca is a yoga enthusiast and into alternative stuff. John works for a TV company and is bored and stuck in a rut. Logan is a shy high school boy and Jackson is a tech-savvy, internet obsessed teenager. John decides that the family will travel around the world by volunteering at different organizations. And that’s what they do, but takes a while to actually get started. Instead of a year of traveling, they decide to do it in 6 months which is commendable and considering they had to get all of their stuff in order in 2 months. They travel to Costa Rica(which was my favorite chapter of the book. The interactions between John and the monkeys made me LOL), Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and then India. They meet all new people and gained new experiences and new insight into their own lives and personalities.

The reason why I didn’t give it a 5 star rating was that some of the chapters were boring and dragged on when it didn’t need too. Again, I did get an advanced copy so maybe the editing has gotten better. It was really nice to read what happened to the family 3 years later and to learn what they are doing now. And he also included a short blurb on how exactly they did it and what you need to do if you decide this is right for you. I would recommend this book to my friends, a lot of them have never traveled like my family and I and this book could possibly inspire them to do just what this family did.


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