What I Learned in Nepal

Today I’m coming home from the 6-week Unschool Adventures Nepal Trip. It’s been a fantastic adventure—as always—with 11 teen unschoolers and 2 fellow trip leaders. Here’s what I learned about myself along the way.

This will be my last Unschool Adventures trip for a while. I want to dedicate 2015 to building a 3-month, U.S.-based program for self-directed teens (that will hopefully launch in September). I’ve also been abroad a lot recently and need to recharge my travel batteries.

I’m going to buy a house in South Lake Tahoe, California. (That’s here.) This realization came on day 2 of our group’s 10-day Tibetan Buddhism and meditation retreat. Homeownership is something I’ve known I’ve wanted, but carefully avoided, for a long time. Now I feel ready to build equity, make a home, and live in my favorite place in the world: the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. I’m especially excited to to use it to host AirBNB guests, Couchsurfers, and friends—especially those who have so graciously put me up in my past decade of travel. Spring 2015 is the earliest I think I can pull this off.

Tibetan Buddhism is not my cup of tea, but I dig the clarity of mind and purpose that comes from meditation. See this Facebook post for my reactions to the retreat.

I’m ready to dive deeper into self-directed learning. I write more about this on my DIY Master’s page. This research will contribute to my semester program and a new online inspirational-educational subscription service that I’m scheming.

I have 70 friends. To explain: During the meditation retreat I brainstormed every person I would feel comfortable asking to staying over with, by myself, last-minute (as if I were passing through town). I came up with 70 names. Then I asked myself where I met these friends: 28 I met at Not Back to School Camp, 13 at Deer Crossing Camp, 6 at U.C. Berkeley, 4 in high school, and 19 in other parts of life. I think it’s fascinating how certain small institutions—two small summer camps, in my case—can play such an influential role compared to the traditional pillars of high school and college.

I’m continually inspired to work with teenage self-directed learners. They’re the best. And their families, too. As an educator and entrepreneur, I couldn’t imagine serving a more interesting, generous, and caring community of people. I’m going to keep doing this for a long time—and I’m going to work hard to bring more teens and families into the fold.



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