Review: Janet LoSole – Adventures by Chicken Bus

Adventures by Chicken Bus
Janet LSole

“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.”

Part guidebook, part travel diary, this book explored backpacking with two young children in tow – and that it can be done! One thing that made no sense to me was that the family had a whole heap of debt, and basically had nothing at the end of their trip. Yet they were sure their jobs would still be there when they got home? I couldn’t imagine going overseas with so little cash that a flight out might actually could have been impossible. Also, the last chapter jumps forward a year, and I felt cheated that I didn’t hear about how they readapted to living in a Western society.

What I would have liked to read more about was about the author’s ability to converse in Spanish. Were other backpackers like themselves also fluent in Spanish to get around Costa Rica and the other Central America countries? I’d love to take this trip myself, but I’d be worried about not speaking the local language.

This book could have been longer, with more details and I still would have been happy. The writing is engaging, and the number of stories told were all very interesting. It’s clear that the author takes pride in her writing, and practices her skill diligently (we hear hints of her writing in this book). Other people have called for photos to be included, but I don’t think they are essential. LoSole describes the environment so well, I didn’t need any additional visual cues.

The Chicken Buses reminded me of travelling in Jeepneys in the Philippines. They hardly stop, and somehow the driver manages to take passengers’ payments while driving! There’s no respect for road rules either. I found it slightly entertaining that the author remained terrified of driving there, when it’s really just a way of life. A big coach I was travelling on in the Philippines literally scraped a wall in a tunnel, and just kept driving!

A very enjoyable read, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone considering travelling overseas, homeschooling/unschooling their kids, or someone who just wants to live vicariously through others.

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