"Travis - I just read the Unofficial Peace Corps handbook, cover to cover. Well done! (in Ukrainian, molodetz.) Your book speaks honestly about the general nature of Peace Corps experience, and that you are just about as happy, fulfilled, motivated, successful, rewarded... and on and on... as you make up your mind to be. Thank you for your book, your sincere reporting of your experience and the wholesome and generous outlook you offer."
Megan O'Connor, Peace Corps Volunteer (Ukraine '10-'12)
"The Unofficial Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook is an effing amazing resource - everyone should buy it!"
Liz Skeris, PCV (Uganda '11'-13)
“You lucky *@^#%*! don’t know how lucky you are to have such a kickass handbook written for you. This handbook is full of helpful suggestions and wisdom for a wide variety of PC experiences, even the apocalyptic ones. Now, at the end of my service, I still find myself going back to this book for advice on reviving my enthusiasm for the “toughest job I’ll ever love,” keeping my “American standards” in check, and just being a good Volunteer in general. Luggage space is precious when one travels, but this handbook will definitely be in my backpack home. It’s not simply a reminder of all the lessons I’ve learned from my PC experience but a personal scrapbook that is uniquely mine. Plus, what else is going to stop me from hyperventilating whenever I go into culture shock? Be grateful…”
Alexandra Yang, RPCV (Mongolia '08-10)
"The Unofficial Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook is a fantastic companion for any applicant on their journey to becoming a PCV. As a campus recruiter, I am constantly interacting with potential applicants who want to know as much as possible about Peace Corps. This book will enhance my advice and guidance when working with them. It is entertaining to read and REAL - no matter how unique each experience is, it all boils down to what is in this book. I love that it is YOURS and can help in YOUR journey as a PCV. To make it even better, you can give this and the experiences you write in this book to help future Volunteers. It's a must read! Enjoy the accomplishments, challenges, growth, friendships, embarrassing moments, and laughter that you have while in Peace Corps. And don't forget to pay it forward!”
Amy Panikowski, RPCV (Malawi '00-01),
University of Florida Peace Corps Recruiter ('05-11)
“The must have book for anyone thinking of joining the Peace Corps (and current Volunteers). Not only is the Unofficial Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook filled with insight into what it's like to be a PCV, the book becomes your own personal keepsake with interactive sections and chapters; something to reflect upon long after you've returned home. Every PCV’s experience is unique, but this book succeeds in weaving the "Peace Corps Experience" into an invaluable resource for before, during and after your service.”
Christopher Beale, RPCV (Eastern Caribbean '05-07),
Founder of Other Places Travel Guides by RPCVs
"The Unofficial Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook is a great tool to learn more about the Peace Corps from the inside. The RPCV in me wishes something like this would have been available when I was deciding what the next step in my post-university life should be. The former Peace Corps recruiter and placement officer in me wants to remind you that each applicant's experience is unique and nothing you read anywhere will be exactly how it will be for you. Therefore please use this book just for what it is... a tool to teach you more about how absolutely life-changing the Peace Corps can be. Use the tips to help navigate your way through the long application process. But above all else, use this book as inspiration, not as gospel. Peace Corps policies, trainings, programs, even the countries we serve in will change over time. Be flexible and you will be a Peace Corps Volunteer one day!"
Jason Bowers, RPCV (Slovak Republic '00-02),
Peace Corps Recruiter & Placement Officer ('03-10)
"Travis has given a good refit and a breath of fresh air to this style of book written for tomorrow's Peace Corps Volunteers. Encapsulated within this fun read, is so much helpful and valuable information from PCVs and RPCVs that it's entertaining and potent for any reader. It will especially help those loved ones that are seeing their own son or daughter--or any relation--off to another country. Empathy becomes the currency of your relationship with a loved one as they serve in the Peace Corps. Take time to prepare yourself for the journey of a lifetime. Grab a copy of this book and arm yourself with knowledge. The world is calling. How will you answer?"
Mark Rosenwald, RPCV (Mongolia '05-07)
"I bought it, read it, and love it. Thanks for putting it together - I definitely plan on carrying it around with me for two years."
Lauren Spigel, Peace Corps Applicant ('10)
"This book is freakin' awesome! Seriously, I'm thrilled that I ordered a copy. I've submitted my application and am waiting/hoping for an invitation to interview. My copy arrived in the mail today, and I read it cover to cover, unable to put it down. I have also shifted from 60% sure to 100% sure that being a PCV is right for me. My thanks to Travis and everyone who contributed to make this book a reality and a resource. Oh, and as a buddhist, right on! I think the advice to slow down, learn to meditate and drop western ideas of attachment, value and busy-ness is the best possible wisdom to share. I'm sure my meditation and yoga practice will be a huge source of strength for me."
Jennifer Wilson, Peace Corps Applicant ('11)
Founder of New Leaf Coaching & Consulting
“I love this book so much! I have read everything there is to read about Peace Corps and I was searching for something else when I came across this handbook. HANDS DOWN the most helpful thing I have read! I just raved about the book on my blog because I loved it so much! I am currently in the application process and intend on having this book by my side non-stop as I make my way through this journey. Thanks for such a great resource!”
Katie McCarthy, Peace Corps Applicant ('10)
"I just received in the mail AND finished reading the Unofficial Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook..... sooooooooooooooo glad that I bought it. Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting it all together and leaving room for me to put down my thoughts :)"
Emma Jehle, Peace Corps Trainee (Cameroon '10-12)
"Thanks, authors, for the Unofficial PCV Handbook. I purchased an online book about a month ago and have already used it numerous times. As a new nominee, it has been really helpful, especially in preparing for the interview."
Michelle Mistelske, Peace Corps Applicant ('11)
“Lucky you! Peace Corps Volunteer service is not just an opportunity, it’s an AMAZING opportunity – and a privilege. You join a 50-year legacy of Americans who make a difference in communities overseas, and then continue to change the world long after their service is complete. By addressing not just the practicalities of the Peace Corps, but the emotional and psychological aspects, the Unofficial Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook provides invaluable, down-to-earth advice that can help you make the most of this transformative experience, as well as guide you when you come home.”
Erica Burman, RPCV (The Gambia '87-89),
Director of Communications National Peace Corps Association
Editor of WorldView Magazine
"I have found that the Unofficial Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook contains the most extensive explanation of the application process available. Honest testimonials from current and returned Peace Corps Volunteers serve as the most valuable resource, and the handbook is full of relevant information and insight. Currently nominated for an assignment in Eastern Europe, I would like to thank the contributors to the handbook for aiding in making my application process as smooth as possible. The handbook will surely continue to be a valuable resource for me while I serve and a recommended read for all those interested in the Peace Corps.”
Julie Nelson, Peace Corps Trainee (Azerbaijan '10-12)
"The Unofficial Peace Corps Handbook blends technology, curiosity and the love of Peace Corps all in one. While everyone's Peace Corps experience differs we all share can share a connection, our enthusiasm and know-how. It is our different experiences that make this handbook and a collection of voices into usable information."
Jon Schmidt, PCV (Bulgaria '09-11)
"My friend, Travis Hellstrom, PCV in Mongolia has written a book that perhaps everyone should read - but especially folks thinking of the Peace Corps. I'm ordering my copy right now - Travis is phenomenal...and my go-to man for grounding and objectivity. Please check out the reviews - and order it!!"
Debra Pritchard, PCV (Philippines '10-12)
“Travis's book is an invaluable resource for those thinking about applying to Peace Corps, those currently serving, and even those who have returned after their service. Based on his own personal experience, and those of other volunteers and applicants, he goes through the process step by step - explaining the application process, the ups and downs of living in a developing country, and how to make the most of your service!”
"I love this book! I wish I'd had it before my interview. Haha. I also ordered it for two friends who are in an earlier part of the process than I am. Thank you so much for this amazing resource."
Sarah Marshall, Peace Corps Applicant ('10)
“Being a Peace Corps Volunteer is a wonderful experience, but it’s also not right for everyone. The tips and candid information in this Unofficial Handbook will be a great tool for helping you decide if Peace Corps might be right for you.”
Jim Carl, RPCV (Swaziland '79-81),
Country Director (Mongolia '07-10)