What Our Participants Have to Say

The following testimonials were drawn from Unschool Adventures post-trip feedback forms.

“I was worried leading up to this trip, but as soon as I got here, everything fell into place. It just felt right. I would not recommend this to people who are not willing to push themselves. In every moment I was learning something new. The community was also extremely welcoming and the leaders were very encouraging and supportive. The month that I spent in Berlin felt like it forever shifted something for me.”

– Ava (Berlin 2023)

“This experience far exceeded my expectations. Going into it, I didn’t know what to expect. Leaving, I am torn between the thought of returning home to my family and the sadness of leaving this incredible journey and the people I grew to know as friends.”

– Chase (Berlin 2023)

“Unschool Adventures provided a wonderful experience. Everyone here is so friendly, accepting, and supporting. Not once did I feel excluded due to my identity or interests.”

– Nikki (Berlin 2023)

“With this group I felt very welcomed. I almost always feel invisible when with other teens, but with daily check-ins and group games I felt very included and seen. It was a little challenging to be open about how I was feeling in the beginning, but because everyone else was so open and honest, it very soon felt like a safe place to open up.”

– Scarlett (Berlin 2023)

“The Patagonia Retreat was not a getaway or vacation—it was an opportunity for growth, a challenge for those who seek it, and a transformative experience for those who desire transformation. It was up to the participant to receive the challenge or drown themselves in the freedom of choice, and I loved that. Given this opportunity but also being treated as an individual responsible for their own wellbeing and participation was an empowering and encouraging experience. I would not recommend Unschool Adventures to anyone, but I would recommend it to those who seem lost, seek a change, and want to break out into the world.”

– Aayush (Patagonia Retreat 2023)

“Unschool Adventures is a really great program to meet people and form connections you might keep. In a nicely structured and relaxed environment you get to befriend the trip leaders and people around you with practically no stress about authority’s looming distaste for your conversations or goofy behaviors. But the leaders also don’t sacrifice their authority and are able to maintain a good balance between being like a friend and leader.”

– Natalie (Patagonia Retreat 2023)

“This retreat has to be one of the most fulfilling aventures: from hikes over giant mountains and late night kitchen conversations, to being around excited like-minded young people who are ready to take on the world, it’s one of the most heartwarming experiences anyone could ever ask for. If you have trouble getting out the door, or taking that one big step, having people around you who do these things without a single thought is truly awe inspiring. I would recommend Unschool Adventures to any lonely heart, teenage dirtbag, or young adult vagabond who is willing to give life with adventure a shot.”

– Jack (Patagonia Retreat 2023)

“I recommend Unschool Adventures to anyone who has not traveled without their parents before.”

– Aiden (Patagonia Retreat 2023)

“Unschool Adventures taught me how to comfortably be uncomfortable. I was given the freedom to learn, create relationships, wander cities, and make mistakes. I was pushed out of my comfort zone in all the right ways.”
– Emma G. (Humans of Mexico 2022)

“I would say anyone with an interest in travel should definitely do one of these trips. This was probably one of the best experiences of my entire life, and it will be something I will never forget. From playing Uno with my homestay family to going to an organic farm and taking home a hard-earned carrot, this trip has brought me experiences that I would have never dreamt of.”
– Jack (Humans of Mexico 2022)

“This trip was such a wonderful experience for me. I made so many connections. I had great conversations. It made me uncomfortable in the best of ways. It really helped me to realize and step into my own independence, and I know I’ll appreciate that for years to come.”
– Hazel (Humans of Mexico 2022)

“This has been such an incredible experience. I got to push myself so far outside of my comfort zone in the best way, I’ve learned so much about myself and the world, and I came home with so much motivation to do things and learn and travel. It was the absolute best introduction to international traveling—to traveling without my family—that I could have gotten. I’m so grateful for the entire experience and everything I gained in just six weeks.”
– Caroline (Humans of Mexico 2022)

“My brother and I have collectively been on 4 trips (1 for me, 3 for him) and we both only have had extremely positive experiences and things to say about the time we spent and Unschool Adventures as a whole! Connecting with other un/homeschoolers, spending time traveling all around foreign countries, and Blake Boles. What else could you ask for?”
– Leif (Humans of Mexico 2022)

“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. Blake ran this trip so well that I didn’t feel homesick once, and I met such genuine, kind-hearted, and unique people… the types of people that I never thought were possible.”
– Elinor (Spain 2018)

“This was my first Unschool Adventures trip and it wasn’t just a good time—it was so much more. I learned so much about other people and different lives that are lead around the world, but I also learned a great deal about myself. I gained skills that I will use forever, like how to speak basic Spanish, navigate a large city and metro system, cope with miscommunication and rough patches in group dynamics, and probably most importantly: how to say ‘very cool!’ in Spain… ‘¡Muy guay!'”
– Willa (Spain 2018)

“The Spain trip was one of the most interesting things in my short stay at life. Blake created something special and runs it so effectively, though he may not the best judge of boats*. Whether hiking unexpected uphills in the Basque Country or taking a train to Barcelona I didn’t stop having fun.”
– Jack (Spain 2018)
* We stayed the night on an Airbnb boat, and I mistakenly thought it was this huge, awesome-looking pirate ship… when in fact it was a the much more modest fishing boat just a few hundred yards away. Alas! -BB

“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 (Spain 2018, Southeast Asia 2017, Real World Retreat 2016)

“After traveling a lot in my life already, I viewed this trip as a way to gain more travel experience and meet people my own age in countries that I’ve always wanted to go to. What I was not expecting was to gain immense self-knowledge. I was not expecting to learn and discover things about myself and my friendships that I had never known before. It was advertised as a minimalist backpacking trip, and it was, but I feel as if I learned much more than that. I can’t begin to describe the type of knowledge I gained; it is irreplaceable. ”
– Kate (Southeast Asia 2017)

“I can confidently say that Unschool Adventures trips have helped shape me into the person I am today. I have gained so much new found confidence in myself, made so many life-long friendships, and I know that I’m ready to take on any new challenges that come my way.”
– Jess (Southeast Asia 2017)

“In one tragically short week, I was able to majorly improve my dancing, make beautiful and valuable connections with other participants, and relax into aspects of myself that I have always been uncomfortable with. The Dance Recess was a huge confidence boost and a perfect introduction to the partner dance community.”
– Miriel (Dance Recess 2017)

“I stepped into a world I already knew expecting something great, but I got something so much more. Life long friends, confidence, and an incredible ability to connect with people through movement. I didn’t want it to end.”
– Cora (Dance Recess 2017)

“Every day felt like two.”
– Ben (Dance Recess 2017)

“This was my first Unschool Adventures trip and it completely blew me out of the water. I have been such a timid person in regards to pursuing friendships, reaching for my goals, and advocating for my personal needs up until now. Living in a different country and communicating in a new language took my world and turned it upside down. I feel like I’m really living now. Blake has a knack for bringing out the honesty in people and getting us to truly think about what we want and need, and I thank him for helping me reach that part of myself.”
– Leif (Argentina Semester 2017)

“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)

“The Argentina Semester was a truly invigorating cross-cultural experience. If you are looking for something in your life that will bathe you in inspiration, surround you with life-changing people, and possibly put you on a new course entirely—as well as being an epically excellent and fun adventure—I cannot more highly recommend one of UA’s trips.”
– Spencer (Argentina Semester 2017)

“My three Unschool Adventures international trips have been the most exciting, inspiring, and challenging experiences I have ever had. I have grown so much from traveling with the other young adults from all over North America, some of whom I have developed friendships which I expect to last many years. I have had the privilege of experiencing a community of the most loving, accepting, and tolerant people I have ever met through these trips. An Unschool Adventures trip is one of the best ways to kickstart your life into being an independent adult, period.”
– Erik (Argentina Semester 2017, Simply New Zealand 2016, Nepal 2014)

“The trials, successes and failures of living in a foreign city have made me laugh, cry, panic slightly, and reach into parts of myself that I didn’t even know existed before.”
– Abby (Argentina Semester 2017)

“I gained so much confidence and independence from this trip. I have made close and intimate relationships with all the other participants that I will never forget.”
– Sierra (Simply New Zealand 2016)

“Unschool Adventures perfectly applies the principles of unschooling to group travel.”
– Max (Simply New Zealand 2016)

“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)

“It’s hard for me to put into words all that I’ve gotten from this trip. It has given me the place I needed to become a better and more able person in almost every part of life.”
– Oscar (Adventure Semester 2015)

“It feels cliche to say that I feel really inspired, but that’s how I feel! I know that I can now do, or at least effectively work on, anything I really set my mind on.”
– Katie (Adventure Semester 2015)

“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 had the perfect amount of freedom for us to explore the authentic lifestyle of Nepal and get to know all the group members at a new level. It helped me to push my limits, know my limits, and throw my limits in a trash can … I can’t describe how grateful I am for that.”
– Chloe (Nepal 2014)

“I can easily say that this trip has redirected the path of my life. The freedom we get to create our experience and structure our days the way we want is an amazing attribute of Unschool Adventures that has made this trip more than I could’ve ever hoped.”
– Milla (Nepal 2014)


“This trip completely blew my expectations out of the water. I was so excited for the trip but also nervous about the social aspect… at home I have always been comfortable with a small group of friends, so I haven’t had to make very many new ones over the past few years. However before we even landed in Nepal I was comfortable with almost everybody in the group and now I am friends with the 13 coolest people I have ever met. If I could extend this trip another 6 weeks, I would.”
– Erik (Nepal 2014)

“An Unschool Adventures trip is easily the coolest thing you’ll do before you turn 18.”
– Maggie (Nepal 2014)

“This trip was life changing. It showed me that traveling to another country and learning about the culture there is possible for someone my age.”
– Joey (Buenos Aires Tango 2014)

“Thank you so much for a wonderful experience that I will always remember! I have grown to love city living, something that I never thought I would like. I have wanted to travel in a foreign city for a very long time and I feel really happy with the Spanish skills that I have picked up.”
– Anna (Buenos Aires Tango 2014)

“Unschool Adventures has given me the best experiences of my life. I would not be the same without you, and I am so grateful for the opportunities for learning, growing, acquiring skills, and becoming a truly independent person that you have given me. Thank you so much.”
– Fia (New Zealand 2013)

“I don’t think I could have possibly anticipated just how transcendent this experience would be. . . [I] ended up with more meaning and new perspectives than years of life have offered before.”
– Emma (New Zealand 2013)

“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)


“[The Writing Retreat] improved my self-confidence and instilled in me a thirst for knowledge and learning I don’t think I would have otherwise.”
– Zaill (Writing Retreat 2012)

“The writing retreat was the best month of my life! I made some friends and wrote something that I’m really proud of.”
– Laura (Writing Retreat 2012)

“Unschool Adventures is good to the degree of ten. If you like brainstorming, speaking your mind, trying new things without being pressured, meeting cool people, or being responsible for yourself, you should consider a trip.”
– Maggie (Argentina 2012)

“This trip completely changed my life! As a traditional high-schooler, being in such a close-knit group with people who have had completely different learning backgrounds than I have opened my eyes to so many more academic and carreer options for my future.”
– Julia (Argentina 2012)

“The South America trip was seven of the best weeks of my life to memory.”
– Benji (South America 2011)

“I feel like I found some kind of direction while I was here – I had enough introspective time on buses and enough good conversations with people that I was able to realize some of my passions.”
– Josie (South America 2011)

“I LOVED the Writing Retreat! The experience of being trapped in a hilltop in winter with 20 other teenagers is possibly the most fun I’ve had in all my life. The joy of waking up and walking sleepily up the stairs to a room filled with the smell of bagels and Nutella, packed full of people rocking out to music, writing, typing, talking, clanking away on typewriters—I can’t think of what wasn’t fun.”
– Brooke (Writing Retreat 2011)

“I really enjoyed all the freedom and time to be with people that, like me, have an interest in writing.”
– Ember (Writing Retreat 2011)

“This has been a great experience–better than I could have ever imagined. . . The staff pushed us just the right amount and gave us so much support. This has been a life changing experience.”
– Bekka (Spring Retreat 2010)

“This has been a completely new experience for me, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Personal challenges, new environments, and a very warm and welcoming group of people are what made this retreat such a blast for me. I would recommend this program to any teen looking to push their boundaries a little bit and have a great time.”
– Christie (Spring Retreat 2010)

“I reflected for a while on the retreat and everything that I got out of it, and also on who I was and what I wanted before spending those six weeks in Ashland. I don’t think I would be so ready to go to college if not for your retreat, nor would I be nearly as undaunted by the future as I am now. The world doesn’t look like a vastly terrifying place full of creepy people. . . Would I have explored that territory if you hadn’t given me and everyone else that push? Probably not, at least not for a while. Not to mention my self-motivation has increased very noticeably. I still find myself making lists and outlines of my goals, to this day. . . Mostly though, I feel less like an ignorant kid who has no idea what she wants, and more like an actual person pursuing her goals. I feel safer in my choices, because like you’ve talked about many times, my goals are actual goals, and not just vague ideas of what I kinda want to do. . . Thank you for helping me realize that it’s absolutely possible to create my own life.”
– Amber (Fall Retreat 2010)

“Living with a bunch of random, wonderful people was a favorite experience in itself, which contributed to all the other great experiences.”
– Jessica (Writing Retreat 2009)

“The activities you planned were all stimulating, and I loved the great pace we had. I enjoyed our freedom to push back morning activities when we were all tired, or to skip activities when needed.”
– Allen (Argentina 2008)

“I can’t imagine going on a better trip, or with better people. Exceeded my high expectations.”
– Charlotte (Argentina 2008)

“I feel SO much more comfortable with the idea of traveling independently than I was previous to this trip…I don’t feel like anything is standing in my way, except for perhaps money and the occasional language barrier–but those can both be easily obtained or navigated.”
– Laurel (Argentina 2008)

“This trip was freaking stupendous. Not only have I gained skills and confidence, I have been inspired by y’all to do some independent traveling. I definitely think the trip mission was accomplished fully.”
– Quincie (Argentina 2008)

“I will remember it forever.”
– Mia (Argentina 2008)

Finally, here’s something that an Unschool Adventures parent had to say:

“Dear Blake, [my daughter] was saying that she is so grateful for the opportunities you offer unschooling teens. I think you are a wonderful model of someone who is doing what he loves…being with young adults, mentoring, being a leader, traveling. It is lonely sometimes being homeschooled. The young adult years are especially full of self-doubt but for homeschooled kids it’s probably worse. Having the chance to meet other teens who don’t play by the same rules as everyone else is so reassuring. Unschool Adventures fills a giant void by providing learning through community building, travel and mentoring. Unschool Adventures meets our expectations and needs like no other learning environment we have found.”
– D.K. in Colorado

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