Make the most of your freedom

Big Adventures for Self-Directed Young People

Here at Unschool Adventures we create one-of-a-kind adventure programs for self-directed teenagers.

Since our first trip to Argentina in 2008, our mission has remained the same: to help young people build new friendships, unforgettable memories, and the confidence to lead an unconventional life.

No matter whether you consider yourself an unschooler, homeschooler, self-directed learner, or just someone passionate about travel—you’re welcome at Unschool Adventures.

New Zealand 2019

It’s all about connection

Ages 14-19
Nov 6 – Dec 18, 2019
New Zealand
Apply now!

A Message from U.A. director Blake Boles

Published March 2019

When I was 25, I dreamed of leading teenage unschoolers on adventures around the world. I designed a 6-week trip to Argentina, recruited my friend Abbi as a co-leader, and asked Grace Llewellyn to spread the word to the Not Back to School Camp community. It was 2008.

Grace advised me that my first trip probably wouldn’t fill. She was right. Starting any business is tough. Starting a business where you take other people’s kids to foreign countries is even tougher! Yet to my everlasting surprise, the Argentina trip filled, and Unschool Adventures was born.

Instead of running the same repeating trips, I created new and different trips each year—ones that fulfilled my personal travel dreams. We went to Argentina five times, New Zealand twice, Nepal, Australia, Southeast Asia, Peru, Chile, and Spain. Within the United States we ran a popular Writing Retreat, an Adventure Semester, and retreats centered around dancing, leadership, real-world skills, and educating yourself without college.

We also offered many programs that failed to reach minimum numbers, cancelling one for every two that ran. This was the price of experimenting and having fun. UA started as an unlikely gamble, and each year it continued as such.

Ten years after its inception, I noticed my enthusiasm for trip-leading dip. I considered running programs that didn’t involve me as a trip leader, but such trips always struggled to fill in the past. More importantly, I loved being directly involved! How could I square this with feeling burned out?

I toyed with selling or shuttering Unschool Adventures. But instead of taking a step back, I ultimately realized, I needed to take a step forward—a step toward something as exciting and inspiring as that first Argentina trip, just more personally sustainable.

Walking away from UA would also mean disappointing the hundreds of parents and young people I’ve met who look forward to future Unschool Adventures. (“I can’t wait till my 6-year-old is old enough to go on one of your adventures,” I’ve heard from countless moms.) Teenagers today enjoy few opportunities to travel in a self-directed fashion; I only want to add to that number, not take away.

Starting in 2020, I’ll be taking Unschool Adventures in a new direction—one that continues to create opportunities for untethered teens* to explore the world. That’s all I can tell you for now—if you’re on our email list, you’ll be the first to receive more details.

Oh, and there’s one more trip I’ve always wanted to do.

In Spring 2020, I’ll be leading a teen trip around the world. We will literally circumnavigate the globe. More details in June 2019.

*Our original company tagline: Trips for the untethered teen.

What Sets Our Group Trips Apart

We’re weird—but it’s the good kind of weird.

Hand-Crafted Adventures

Each trip has a unique story and mission. We almost never repeat an adventure!

School-Year Programs

We run most of our programs during the school-year instead of the summer.

Freedom & Responsibility

If you already enjoy more autonomy than the typical teen, you’ll fit right in.

(Call it our “side hustle”)

Launchpad

A 3-week email-based workshop that’s all about getting stuff done as a self-directed learner

Ages 14-21 (flexible)
Join from anywhere
$100
Register now

Individual Adventures

One-on-one coaching for young adults who are ready to embark on their first big international adventure

Ages 17-22+
Join from anywhere
$800 + $200/month optional travel support
Register now

Meet the Director

Blake Boles is the founder and director of Unschool Adventures. He’s the author of College Without High School, Better Than College, and The Art of Self-Directed Learning. Get to know him through this profile, this podcast interview, or his personal website blakeboles.com.

Meet the Trip Leaders

Unschool Adventures recruits kind, caring, and professional trip leaders from the worlds of experiential and alternative education. Each of our leaders has significant field experience, understands the unique needs of teenagers, and exemplifies the spirit of self-directed learning. Meet them here.

Past Participants Say…

“I don’t even know what to say. My trip to Spain was one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve never had learned so much and had so much fun all at once. I met such genuine, kind-hearted, and unique people… the types of people that I never thought were possible.”

– Elinor (Spain 2018)

“Unschool Adventures has provided me with truly life-changing trips that have made me a more confident, motivated, and inspired young adult. I am in awe of the world. I have made life-long friends, and I have enough travel experience under my belt that I could travel anywhere by myself.”

– Sierra (Argentina Semester 2017)

“Unschool Adventures provides young adults with the best introduction to travel that could be asked for. . . The journey will reward your investment tenfold.”

– Riley (New Zealand 2013)

“Because of Unschool Adventures I’ve found a new love for so many things: dancing, hiking, being in new places and experiencing new things. It’s hard to put into words how much my world has been expanded.”

– Vick (Southeast Asia 2017)

“Being around such a supportive environment encouraged me to take my life into my own hands. I valued learning about active listening and consent which is something that I had never really experienced before.”

– Natanielle (Real World Retreat 2016)

“Unschool Adventures served as the perfect outlet to start my independent traveling life. It challenged me to meet new people, answer my own questions, and dance anywhere at anytime. It helped me to push my limits, know my limits, and throw my limits in a trash can.”

– Chloe (Nepal 2014)

We have long-standing relationships with the High Desert Center and Not Back to School Camp, each of which offers transformative experiences for unschoolers and self-directed learners. Check out their upcoming programs!

HDC Arizona Trail

Hike 800 miles from the Mexican border to Utah

Ages 16-22
Mar 11 – May 20, 2019
Arizona

HDC Gap Year

The good life isn’t something you find; it’s something you create

Ages 17-23
Sep 2019 – May 2020
Colorado & the southwest

NBTSC Oregon

The preeminent summer camp for teenage unschoolers and self-directed learners

Ages 13-18
Aug 17-24 or 17-31, 2019
Oregon

NBTSC Vermont

The preeminent summer camp for teenage unschoolers and self-directed learners

Ages 13-18
Sep 19-28, 2019
Vermont

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