Adventure by Chicken Bus:
An Unschooling Odyssey through Central America
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.
Anyone who puts her children and the ecology of the planet ahead of herself is a singular person in my book. But this is Janet LoSole’s book, full of daring adventures, selfless volunteerism, and endless curiosity—a must for community-based travelers. Adventure by Chicken Bus is a delightful romp into Central America and an important story for our time.
author of So Happiness to Meet You: Foolishly, Blissfully Stranded in Vietnam
Helping children learn without school is always an adventure. Doing it while backpacking and adjusting to and respecting foreign cultures makes it an epic adventure. This family’s story will keep you spellbound. It will make you laugh, cry, and hold your breath in fear, and help you appreciate both the value and joy of learning from life.
editor of Life Learning Magazine
Janet LoSole’s entertaining and instructive book about her adventures traveling for nineteen months through Central America with her husband and their daughters, ages eight and five, occasionally sends a chill down the spine of any parent, with harrowing tales like clinging to the edge of a shaky bridge over a river to avoid being hit by passing trucks while crossing the border from Costa Rica into Panama. But this story will also light a fire in the heart of parents who wish for their children to experience other places and cultures.
creator of thebigoutside.com and National Outdoor Book Award-winning author of Before They’re Gone: A Family’s Year-Long Quest to Explore America’s Most Endangered National Parks
Buckle up for an unforgettable ride; an emotional journey that takes the reader on an exciting family adventure like no other!
author of The Family that Conquered Everest
Adventure by Chicken Bus is a fascinating look at one family’s journey of international travel, cultural immersion, personal discovery, and learning together through it all.
author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom
Brave and inspiring, Adventure by Chicken Bus immediately draws you in with its honesty and color. . . . This book has so many important messages about parenting, caring for the planet, and daring to strive for something more from life.
award-winning senior staff writer for TravelPulse
Its easy conversational style makes this travelogue a unique contribution to understanding how community-based tourism works in practice. It follows the experiences of a young Canadian couple keen to teach their children to treat others with respect, regardless of background, income and material possessions, and appreciate the differences between their privileged lives and those of the Majority world.
Running through each of the stories is Janet’s desire to inspire future travellers to spend time and money in local economies, speak to people in their own languages and avoid multinational corporations as much as possible. Small actions like these sustain local economies and at the same time offer tourists authentic experiences. Travel can broaden the mind, but it is often challenging to place our privileged selves into communities where material poverty and human hardship are prevalent. Rather than turning away, Janet and Lloyd placed their family right up close and by doing so their money went straight to those who benefit. Sure, governments should do more but until that happens, individuals can and do make a difference by spending locally, learning languages and paying respect to those who live in these beautiful countries.
—DR. CLARE WEEDEN
Principal Lecture I Tourism, University of Brighton, UK