Adventures

Here are a few of my adventures.

Running away to South America for 3 months to deal with a quarter-life crisis. Surfing and trekking in Peru, Carnaval in Bolivia, searching for killer whales on the Valdes Peninsula with Matt and Patrick, biking around Bariloche, falling in love with Buenos Aires.

Starting Unschool Adventures and leading trips in Argentina, New Zealand, Peru, Chile, Nepal, Australia, Oregon, North Carolina, and Colorado. 80 weeks of my life (and counting).

All the backpacking trips in the California High Sierra. Many on the PCT, JMT, and Sierra High Route. Some completely off-trail.

Working harder than ever in my life at Deer Crossing Camp. Serving as instructor, assistant director, cook, and interim director. So many Desolation Wilderness trips. LIT Quest and the Tahoe ascent in 2004. Almost getting fired the first week.

The tree-climbing expedition in northern Guatemala with Jim, Julie, and Vince. Waking up in a tent in the high canopy, watching howler monkeys swing past.

Starting a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail and quitting after two weeks after discovering what “too much alone time” felt like for the first time in my life.

Couchsurfing in New Zealand, India, Peru, and across the U.S. Hosting Couchsurfers at my cabin in South Lake Tahoe.

Writing three books. Having the first one magically picked up by a publisher from a direct email. Crowdfunding and independently publishing the other two.

Starting a podcast and interviewing some of my favorite thinkers in education.

Hitchhiking across New Zealand’s South Island.

Backpacking around Western Europe for 5 weeks at age 19 with Mehar, Bryan, Sam, and Dave.

Trail running all over the place. 32 miles on the John Muir Trail & the Seven Summits of Desolation in one day with Hannah. Long solo runs on the Kepler, Routeburn, and Abel Tasman tracks in New Zealand. 34 miles on the Tahoe Rim Trail, all the shorter-but-still-mind-bending runs leading up to it.

Snowboarding in British Columbia during college winter breaks with with Bryan. Spending an entire winter getting paid to snowboard at Heavenly Ski Resort. The monumental run in the Termas de Chillán, age 14.

Spending at a month in Chile at age 14 with a host family.

Being in a relationship of almost 4 years, growing from it, loving it, ending it.

Changing my major from astrophysics (impressive / socially validated) to alternative education (fringe / hippie) half-way through college. Designing my studies from the ground up, taking full ownership. Writing the crappy 40-page senior thesis paper.


Here’s my definition of adventure from College Without High School:

An adventure, specifically defined, is any challenge that requires a lot of learning in a small amount of time.  Traveling cross-country to teach rock climbing at a summer camp is an adventure. Crafting an online marketing plan for your friend’s small business is an adventure. Spending three months on an organic farm in Italy to learn permaculture and the Italian language is an adventure. Walking into a physics professor’s office to get book recommendations, working nights as a veterinary assistant, and volunteering at a disaster relief site are all adventures. And going to college, too, is an adventure.

Because the word “adventure” drums up many more images than what I’ve just described, let me also tell you what adventure is not. An adventure is not an escape—i.e., an excuse to give up something that you’ve chosen to start but not yet finished. Adventure doesn’t mean throwing yourself headlong into danger. And an adventure is not necessarily a physical challenge (like climbing Mount Everest); adventures come in many flavors, including social (introducing yourself to a hero), mental (writing a book), and spiritual (attempting a 10-day silent meditation retreat).

An adventure pushes your comfort zone, demands courage, and requires determination.  It’s centered around your interests, your dreams, and your personality.  And most importantly, it must be chosen by you—not your parents, not your teachers, but you. 

[This page inspired by Dev Carey’s adventure page.]