2022 in Review

Welcome to my twelfth annual Year in Review, in which I share photos, stories, and reflections for (1) your entertainment and (2) the very practical purpose of remembering just what the hell happened over the past 12 months. Enjoy!

The New Year dawned with USA family/friend time before taking off to Mexico, where I led a group of 13 unschooled teenagers for six weeks. Despite headaches with food poisoning, Covid scares, and border guard scams, the trip was a success.

All pictures from the UA Humans of Mexico photo album
Boba tea in Oaxaca… naturally
Unschool Adventures: turning teenagers into Catan sharks since 2011
It was rewarding to help teens reconnect face-to-face after the pandemic.
Co-leading the trip with my friend from Argentina, Mica—a pleasure and honor

Hanging with friends in Portland recharged my batteries for the next trip: Argentina. With a newfound curiosity to explore my obsession with “adventure” and a future teen trip in mind, I spent March in Argentina’s far south and far north—both new to me—exploring, hiking, researching, and scribbling Notes on Adventure.

Mt. Fitz Roy, bashful behind the cloud
Hanging with my travel friend Judit and our amazing Couchsurfing host, Luis

Next: Back to Europe! For some reason, I find extreme pleasure in transoceanic flights to/from South America. This flight to Madrid was almost as sexy as Auckland to Buenos Aires in 2016. (My carbon footprint this year was… not insignificant.)

I reclaimed my European touring bike in Porto, made my way to Santiago, and then embarked eastward on the Camino de Santiago with my friend Jack… occasionally in shark costume (because… why not?). Along the way, I penned a popular poem about work, visited a friend in Barcelona for her birthday, and formed a temporary biker gang with a German engineer, Brazilian tattoo artist, and Australian taking a gap year.

Whateva whateva, I do what I want
K & Blake, on the way out of Compostela
Camino snack break
Camino dinner
Click here for interactive route map
Beach time in Barcelona with Pia & her crew

I continued cycling solo into France, enjoying the hospitality of Couchsurfing and Warmshowers hosts, meeting my old friend Matt in wine country, more friends in Nice and Chambéry, attending a fusion dance in Toulouse, and finally leaving my bike in Freiburg to return stateside.

Nondescript roadside lunch in France – what a hard place to cycle!
Couchsurfing host Julie with her lovely daughter Lou, in Bayonne
Blake and Matt, doing what they do best, near Vaison-la-Romaine
Escargot with Patrick in Nice

Back in the Pacific Northwest I crashed with friends in Oregon/Washington en route to Vancouver, riding my new (old/Ebay-acquired) American touring bike. Yes, I now have a two touring bikes on two continents. Still no car!

In the Willamette Valley. Those handlebars won’t stay bright green for long.
Pit stop in Bellingham to visit Julie and BA-GAWK

In Vancouver I visited my friends Rob and Margie, and together we did a lovely 5-day ride around the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island. I had never “bikepacked” before (biking + backpacking), and this was a pretty posh introduction. I visited old travel friends along the way (South America 2007, Guatemala 2016) before zipping back to Seattle, hopping a train to Sacramento, a bus to Tahoe, cycling to Reno, and hopping another train to…

Day 1 of bikepacking: so far, so good
Departing from our Warmshowers host on Vancouver Island (sauna included)

Colorado! Riding from Glenwood Springs to Paonia, I saw my dear friends Dev and Marian (and their son Huck, with whom I assaulted a local apricot tree). Then I cycled across the state to my friend Zoe’s wedding, held on a high mountain pass, with camping, hiking, and dancing.

I enjoyed this highway so much, I rode it twice.
Vail Pass wins the award for most scenic bikepacking campsite
Now that’s a wedding photo

The bride’s cousin gave me a ride to southern Wyoming, where I followed the TransAmerica Bike Trail to reach Yellowstone and Bozeman, Montana. Highlights included incessant headwinds, free camping in churches, and a much-needed hitchhike from a St. Louis schoolteacher.

Fort Steele & the Platte River—spot my campsite!
A wall at the “Jeffrey City Bike Hostel”, a big empty church with free beds for passing cyclists
Bless you, Allen, you dirtbag angel

Outside of Bozeman I joined a small group of fellow alternative education program founders for an informal retreat I organized with Cath, the lovely owner of the lovely ranch where we convened for a long July weekend.

A forgery of friendships and professional connections
I can imagine worse places discuss education

Pushing my pedals further into Montana—Missoula, Flathead Lake, Glacier National Park—brought to me to the Whitefish Amtrak station and eventually back to the Pacific Northwest.

Ian and Kaylee, Warmshowers hosts par excellence (Polson, MT)
Cycling the “Going-to-the-Sun Road” in Glacier National Park
Interactive map of my summer bike adventures

In southern Oregon I worked at Not Back to School Camp for my 14th summer (and the first post-pandemic session). With lots of new teenage faces and many long-time friends on staff, this session was fully enrolled and packed with joyous energy—an absolute highlight. (Photos)

No captions required

Back in Portland I visited friends, ran a 3-day workshop for teen homeschoolers, and then Amtrak’d/biked/bussed my way to Sacramento, Tahoe, and finally Bishop, California, for my friend Hannah’s birthday + a reflective solo backpacking trip for my 40th birthday.

Crossing paths with my youngest siblings in Sacramento
Eastern Sierra, how I adore you. (You too, Hannah!)
Look at all that sexy granite. (Taken from the side of Mt. Tom)

A quick trip to Los Angeles to see old friends, a ride to Las Vegas from my aunt, and then a east-coast family adventure to visit Zion, Bryce, Escalante, and the Grand Canyon. Around this time I also determined that my next Unschool Adventures program, the Patagonia Retreat in Feb/Mar 2023, was a solid “go!” (That research trip to Argentina paid off!)

Southern Utah is just the best
The drop wasn’t as far as it looked (chill out, mom!)

Now, back to Europe! And why not stop in Morocco en route? My friend Amandine invited me to join her for three weeks on the Moroccan coast—a brand new country for me, and a great chance to do lots of writing.

Imsouane, Morocco—a surfer’s paradise

November was glorious blur of European friends, dances, writing, and UA scouting. Stops included Strasbourg, Mulhouse, Bern, Amsterdam, Berlin, Krakow, and Warsaw.

Weronika (+ mind-blowing vegan ramen in Warsaw) and the Bern crew
Naomi, my Amsterdam Couchsurfing host from long ago. I was the first guest in her new house in Amersfoort!
My sister Liza & bro-in-law Robert, Amsterdam side street
Fusion dance in Krakow

Finally, I circled back to Freiburg for a month of glorious rootedness in a rented room with a cool housemate. I finished a draft of my new writing project, launched a Berlin 2023 teen trip, led a fusion dance workshop, and enjoyed many hikes & runs in the Black Forest. Okay, plus one quick trip to see friends in Zurich… these European trains just make it too easy.

A little socializing, a lot of writing
Freiburg Christmas market with Sina, the German engineer who I met biking in April
The Black Forest, Christmas day hike

One more fusion dance weekend in Toulouse—and then it’s 2023 🎉

Thanks for following along!

(Previous years in review: 2021, 2020201920182017201620152014201320122011.)

2023 Quick Facts

# of people who hosted me: 29 friends + 14 friendly strangers

# of Notes on Adventure published: 34

Favorite new books:

  • The High Sierra: A Love Story (Robinson)
  • Lost in the Valley of Death (Rustad)
  • How the World Really Works (Smil)
  • Several Short Sentences About Writing (Klinkenborg)
  • The End of Solitude (Deresiewicz)
  • Leave Me Alone and I’ll Make You Rich (McCloskey)
  • The Last American Man (Gilbert)
  • The Art of Losing Control (Evans)
  • How to Live (Sivers)

Lifetime book sales, as of Oct 2022:

  • College Without High School (2009) – 6,000+ copies sold
  • Better Than College (2012) – 6,000+ copies sold
  • The Art of Self-Directed Learning (2014) – 6,000+ copies sold
  • Why Are You Still Sending Your Kids to School? (2020) – 4,800+ copies sold

And I leave you with this.



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