Life Goals

Completed goals are in red.

I started this goal list at age 20, inspired by Jim Wiltens of Deer Crossing Camp, who was in turn inspired by John Goddard.

A few notes about my method:

  • I only post big, exciting, and slightly intimidating goals—not the little stuff.
  • I sometimes retroactively add goals that I’ve already completed, even if I didn’t know they were “goals” at the start.
  • I remove goals that become irrelevant to my life. This list isn’t sacrosanct.
  • I post my goals publicly because I believe the publicly sharing my goals gives me a better chance of completing them. (Other disagree.)
  • I post failures as well as successes (thanks, Tina Seelig).
  • I link to digital evidence of my completed goals whenever possible.

[Last updated: November 2020]

Traditional Goals

  • Start a family
  • Get a dog
  • Graduate from collegeB.A., UC Berkeley 2004

Writing & Speaking Goals

  • Do a speaking tour in the U.S.2018
  • Publish a book about going to college without high schoolCollege Without High School, 2009
  • Publish a book about giving yourself a higher education without college – Better Than College, 2012
  • Publish a book about self-directed learning – The Art of Self-Directed Learning, 2014
  • Give a TED talkTEDx YouthDay Palo Alto, 2010
  • Publish 10+ original audio or video episodes onlineOff-Trail Learning podcast (formerly: Real Education Podcast), 2015
  • Speak in Europe – 2017, 2018, 2019
  • Independently publish a professional-quality book – Better Than College, 2012
  • Give away 10,000 free online copies of Better Than College – 2014
  • Blog every day for a year – failed in 2011 and 2013
  • Hand-write a letter or postcard to someone every day for a year – failed in 2015
  • Write the first draft of a 50,000-word novel in one month (the NaNoWriMo challenge) – failed in 2006 & 2009

Work Goals

  • Start a school (i.e. long-term structured learning program)Self-Directed Learning 101, 2020 (failed in 2015)
  • Start an international trip leading companyUnschool Adventures, 2008
  • Start a leadership program for homeschoolers – Homeschool Leadership Retreats, 2010 (eventually merged with U.A.)
  • Direct a summer campDeer Crossing Camp, Assistant Director 2006-7, Acting Director 2008
  • Run a “College Without College” program – ZTC Camp 2011
  • Run an Unschool Adventure trip without me on it – UA Writing Retreat 2013
  • Work at Not Back to School Camp – Advisor, 2006-present
  • Work as a summer camp cook – Deer Crossing Camp, 2008
  • Lead a workshop at a major homeschooling conference – 2009
  • Be self-employed for a whole year – 2010
  • Work a full season at a ski resort – Heavenly Ski Resort, 2007
  • Organize a conference – Trailblazer Gathering, 2013
  • Earn money teaching an online courseLaunchpad, 2017

Travel Goals

  • Hitchhike the Carretera Austral
  • See the Aurora Borealis with Matt & Patrick
  • Travel the world with a girlfriend for 6+ months
  • Live abroad with child(ren) for 12+ months
  • Live in Lake Tahoe – 2007
  • Live in Portland, Oregon – 2009
  • Live in Buenos Aires – 2017
  • Live in New Zealand – 2019
  • Live in New York City – 2019
  • Live in Europe – 2020
  • Live in one place for one year straight – Asheville (North Carolina), 2012
  • Go on an expedition with Jim Wiltens – tree climbing expedition in Guatemala, 2011
  • Explore the Himalayas – India (2011), Nepal (2014), Nepal (2019)
  • Explore South America – 2007 (blog part 1/2/3) + much more w/ Unschool Adventures
  • Explore Western Europe – 2002 + many times since

Outdoor Goals

  • Thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail – failed in 2005 (trail journal)
  • Do a bike tour2020
  • Day-hike Mount Whitney2017 (failed in 1998, 2006, 2016)
  • Summit every peak in the Crystal Range (CA) in one trip
  • Walk a 100′ slackline and a high-line
  • Hike on the Te Araroa (NZ) – yes, albeit not very much
  • Thru-hike the Sierra High Route – did most in 2018
  • Hike the Southern Sierra High Route – did much in 2019
  • Do a solo ramble (a la John Muir) in the High Sierra
  • Hike on the Camino de Santiago – 2017 (the Camino Primitivo)
  • Run 30+ miles on trail – 2015 (John Muir Trail)
  • Run 26.2 miles on trail2014 (Marin Headlands)
  • Run 13.1 miles on trail – 2010 (Asheville, NC)
  • Windsurf in the Columbia River Gorge2014
  • Backpack the Lost Coast (CA) – 2015
  • Roll a kayak – 2003

Experience Goals

  • Do a 10-day silent meditation retreatdid half in 2019, that was sufficient
  • Dance with a stranger in a Buenos Aires tango milonga – 2014, 2016, 2017
  • Do a handstand for 30 seconds

Meet-in-Person Goals

  • Grace Llewellyn – 2006
  • Daniel Greenberg – 2004
  • John Taylor Gatto – 2010
  • Russell Roberts – 2014
  • Tina Seelig – 2010
  • Seth Godin – 2012
  • Daniel Pink – 2014
  • William Deresiewicz – 2014