About

(photo by Lauren Lindley / full-res)

🕴️ Official bio

Blake Boles is the founder and director of Unschool Adventures and the author of Why Are You Still Sending Your Kids to School?, The Art of Self-Directed LearningBetter Than College, and College Without High School. He hosts the Off-Trail Learning podcast and has delivered over 75 presentations for education conferences, alternative schools, and parent groups. Blake and his work have appeared on The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, BBC Travel, Psychology Today, Fox Business, TEDx, The Huffington Post, USA Today, NPR affiliate radio, and the blogs of Wired and The Wall Street Journal.

In 2003 Blake was studying astrophysics at UC Berkeley when he stumbled upon the works of John Taylor Gatto, Grace Llewellyn, and other alternative education pioneers. Deeply inspired by the philosophy of unschooling, Blake custom-designed his final two years of college to focus exclusively on education theory. After graduating he joined the Not Back to School Camp community and began writing and speaking widely on the subject of self-directed learning.

In his previous lives, Blake worked as a high-volume cook, delivery truck driver, summer camp director, Aurora Borealis research assistant, math tutor, outdoor science teacher, camp medic, ski resort market researcher, web designer, and windsurfing instructor. His biggest passion is sharing his enthusiasm and experience with young adults who are blazing their own trails through life. He was born in 1982.

(Also see this 2016 profile, listen to this 2019 interview, and read the longer story in my own words.)

🖼 An introduction, in pictures

Right here.

🎩 A few hats that I wear

Writer

Ever since college I’ve loved writing “prescriptive non-fiction” on the topic of education, leading me to publish four books and a bivy of articles.

Speaker

My little speaking career has taken me across the U.S. and the world, delivering presentations and keynotes related to self-directed learning, college, and unschooling. Since 2015 I’ve also hosted an increasingly popular podcast.

Adventurer

I’ve oriented my life around the pursuit of adventure: outdoor adventures, travel adventures, work adventures, and more. My life goal list offers many examples.

Experiential Educator

Real-life experiences are the best teachers, which is why I’ve always loved working at summer camps, outdoor education programs, and running my Unschool Adventures travel & leadership programs. 

Advocate for Self-Directed Learning

To me, self-directed learning means consensual learning: fully consenting to whichever educational environment you find yourself. SDL can take many shapes, including that of conventional school and college. It’s all about the why.

Lifelong Traveler

After college I began traveling extensively, leading me to embrace a nomadic existence and create temporary homebases all over the United States and abroad (Argentina, New Zealand, Guatemala, Germany, and Colombia). I own no home/apartment, and all of my possessions fit easily into a 5’x10′ storage unit.

Entrepreneur

I’ve long dreamed of working for myself, and since 2010 I’ve been fully self-employed. I’ve never held a year-round, full-time, 9-to-5 type job.

Romantic Idealist

I’m a lover! Romance is a powerful force in my life. I even created a dating website for myself—dateblake.com—which I’ve since taken down. But you can still read the entertaining and endearing endorsements that some of my friends wrote.

Partner Dancer

Growing up, I never danced. Then Grace Llewellyn suggested that I sign my first Unschool Adventures group up for tango lessons in Argentina, leading me to become a passionate tango dancer. Years later I immersed myself in the  fusion dance scene.

👓 Lifestyle

In addition to How to Live Nowhere, here are some blog posts that explain my lifestyle:

🤓 Personality types

  • Big Five (learn more)
    • Agreeableness: Moderately Low
    • Conscientiousness: High
    • Extraversion: Very High
    • Neuroticism: Exceptionally Low
    • Openness to Experience: Moderately High
  • MBTI: INFP
  • Enneagram: 7 with 8 wing

🙏 A few people to whom I’m indebted

  • My smart and eternally supportive parents.
  • Jim Wiltens and Grace Llewellyn for guiding my young adult career path, and for building the Deer Crossing Camp and Not Back to School Camp communities, which have given me so much .
  • The Berkeley Student Cooperatives for my social transformation in college.
  • Every parent who ever sent their child on an Unschool Adventures program.
  • My readers, all of whom are highly intelligent and good-looking.
  • Everyone on the internet who consumes, supports, and shares my work—and who I’ll never meet.

📆 Year-in-review posts

An excellent way to get to know me.