About Us

Arequipa, Peru – South America 2011

Unschool Adventures leads international trips and U.S.-based educational programs for self-directed young adults, ages 14-19. Each of our trips builds the skills, experience, and self-confidence that a young person needs to transition into independent adulthood.

Our trips typically enroll unschoolers, but you need not be an unschooler to join. Homeschoolers, alternative school students, high school students, and the avowedly non-labeled are welcome to apply. We offer enrollment to any young person who is enthusiastic and prepared for one of our trips.

When you join Unschool Adventures, you’ll walk away with new friends, unforgettable memories, and a new sense of what’s possible in your life. Join our notification list to get an e-mail whenever new trips are announced.

Our Philosophy

Unschool Adventures originally formed to serve the community of teenage unschoolers. To learn more about unschooling, check out The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn, College Without High SchoolBetter Than College, and The Art of Self-Directed Learning by Blake Boles (the director of Unschool Adventures), and the works of John Holt and John Taylor Gatto.

How does the unschooling philosophy shape our leadership? On our international trips, Unschool Adventures grants its students large degrees of freedom and responsibility in creating their international experiences—always within reasonable safety limits. Unlike more traditional travel companies, on a U.A. adventure you might find yourself wandering around a foreign city in a small group, figuring out how to cook dinner from scratch, or planning a week of our itinerary. (Read the FAQ to learn more about our international trips.)

Within the United States, we offer leadership and creativity programs that offer community-building experiences and directly address the challenges that self-directed learners face on a daily basis. Our most popular domestic program is the Writing Retreat, which takes its inspiration from National Novel-Writing Month. (Read the FAQ to learn more about our U.S.-based programs.)

Durango, Colorado – Writing Retreat 2011

Our Trips and Programs

International Trips

Our international trips are 4-7 weeks long and typically voyage to southern hemisphere destinations. We’ve never repeated the same international trip twice: each is a new adventure with a new focus. This keeps things fresh for both students and staff. It also means that we cannot predict which international trips will be available in the future. Applications open 7-9 months before a trip’s departure date. The best way to learn when new trips are announced is to join our e-mail notification list. We typically enroll ~10 students on our international trips.

The Writing Retreat

The Writing Retreat is our most popular U.S.-based program, and it’s the only program which we’ve repeated multiple times. We run the retreat for one month in the fall (October/November) in a rented hostel which accommodates our group of roughly 25 young adult writers plus four staff. Previous Writing Retreats have taken place on the Oregon coast, Crested Butte (Colorado), Durango (Colorado), and Cape Cod (Massachusetts). Applications for each year’s Writing Retreat typically open in January. We’re taking a break from the Writing Retreat in 2015 to run the Adventure Semester, but it might return in 2016!

Creativity & Leadership Programs

Our creativity and leadership programs started in 2010 when Blake ran two multi-week programs in Ashland, Oregon, under the banner of Homeschool Leadership Retreats. He then merged Homeschool Leadership Retreats with Unschool Adventures and ran two shorter programs in Asheville, North Carolina (ZTC Camp and The Asheville Intensive). These programs focused on the tools necessary to succeed as a creatively focused, young adult self-directed learner—whether college-bound or not. The Adventure Semester is our big new creativity and leadership program!

Summer Break

We don’t run programs in June, July, and August, because there are lots of other great summer offerings for young adults during those time. August and September are when Not Back to School Camp takes place. NBTSC is a fantastic summer camp for young adult unschoolers that we highly recommend.

To Learn More

Spring Leadership Retreat - Ashland, ORAshland, Oregon – Spring Leadership Retreat 2010

Custom Programs

We design custom trips for teen and family groups of various sizes. Our experienced leaders and programs designers will put together an unforgettable experience for your group, customized to your needs and budget. Write the office to learn more about custom programs.

For young people who would like to craft their own big adventures, U.A. director Blake Boles offers one-on-one guidance for designing a multi-month international trip or gap year experience.

NaNoWriMo 2009

Company History

Unschool Adventures LLC was founded in 2008 by Blake Boles with the assistance of Abbi Miller.

Other Recommended Companies

Is the trip that you want full? Are you looking for something a little different? We recommend these other camps and travel companies for young adult adventure-seekers:

Not Back to School Camp – summer camp for teen unschoolers, held in Oregon and Vermont

Deer Crossing Camp – outdoor adventure camp in California with a top-notch teen leadership program

Carpe Diem Education – global semester programs with a service emphasis

Andeo International Homestays – homestay and language immersion opportunities

National Outdoor Leadership School – outdoor skills and leadership adventures, worldwide

Outward Bound – long-standing outdoor adventure company

Where There Be Dragons – group summer, semester, and gap year programs abroad

Trackers Northwest – outdoor leadership programs in California and Oregon

Employment with Unschool Adventures

We tend to hire former U.A. students and staff members from the Not Back to School Camp and Deer Crossing Camp communities instead of recruiting brand-new staff. But send us an e-mail if that answer doesn’t satisfy you!