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How to Take a Self-Directed Pandemic Gap Year in 2020-21

As more colleges consider closing their campuses in fall 2020, more students are considering the possibility of taking a gap year. This makes perfect sense, since “virtual college” would be underwhelming, even at a discounted tuition rate. A significant part—perhaps the most important part—of the college experience comes from the communal experience of living and […]

The Bike Trip

At the beginning of 2020, I found myself with: five months of unexpected free time a light workload (finishing my new book) that I could accomplish from anywhere with an internet connection sufficient savings to comfortably lead a low-budget lifestyle for half a year the need to reflect on my career, relationships, and other Big […]

The Story of My New Book

The Kickstarter campaign for my new book, Why Are You Still Sending Your Kids to School?, has launched! This is your chance to pre-order the book at a discount while also helping me pay for the editing, design, and other professional services necessary to turn my 60,000-word manuscript into a high-quality paperback, e-book, and audiobook. I […]

2019 in Review

Welcome to my annual year-in-review post, in which I answer the question: “Where exactly have you been the past 12 months, Blake?” Jan-Apr: New Zealand Late in 2018 I made my way to New Zealand with the intention of doing a month-long hike on the Te Araroa. I loved the trail (pics) but ended up […]

The Cherrypicking Caveat

How should we interpret stories and research about self-directed and alternatively educated young people? Consider the following true story. Talita Paolini trained and worked as a Montessori preschool teacher. She and her husband, Kenneth, encouraged her son and daughter to read early, which they both did, till one day her son announced: “I hate to […]

On the Kerouacian Lifestyle

At 18, I read On the Road. Like so many before, Kerouac’s novel instantly inspired me. The frenetic cross-country travel, the wild friends, the wilder adventures, and Kerouac’s bottomless passion were powerfully attractive forces to a young man raised in suburbia. I soon devoured Kerouac’s second most popular novel, The Dharma Bums, which I found […]

Trip Report: Nar Phu & Annapurna Circuit

My girlfriend Sarah and I just finished a 2-week trek in the Annapurna region of Nepal from Oct 16-30, 2019. Here’s the report. Click here for a map that covers days Day 1-8 and click here for a map that covers Day 9-14. Day 1: Kathmandu → Besi Sahar → Koto (travel day) The most […]

Trip Report: Southern Sierra High Route

On Saturday August 3rd, my friend Julie McPherson and I embarked on a 5-day trek through the California High Sierra mountains. We followed the Southern Sierra High Route, a challenging itinerary that combines on- and off-trail travel at high elevation (9000′ – 13,300′) and extends the classic Sierra High Route (which Julie and I tackled […]

On Doing Half of a 10-Day Silent Meditation Retreat

What is Vipassana? Broadly speaking, Vipassana is an old-school Buddhist meditation technique which translates as “insight into the true nature of reality.” But I’ve always been familiar with Vipassana in a more specific sense, in regard to the 10-day silent meditation retreats offered around the world, free of charge (including room and board). Ever since […]

A Love Letter to my Readers

Dearest reader, You know me, but I probably don’t know you. Maybe you follow my Facebook posts or email newsletters. Maybe you enjoy my books, articles, or podcasts. Maybe you’ve considered sending one of your kids on a trip with me. Maybe you came to one of my talks, yet you and I never talked. I […]

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