The Way of Adventure
An Unconventional Online Course for Young People


If you are like most young people, then you have spent your whole life in school.


Most schools are not bad places. They’re warm, safe, and filled with adults who care about you.

But fundamentally, schools are not places of action.

More accurately, the types of actions that you can take in school are severely limited. You can:

You cannot (unless you go to a very alternative school):

Essentially, you are not free to take meaningful action in school. You can take the actions that school wants you to take — but those represent only a tiny fraction of human possibility.

As former schoolteacher Grace Llewellyn wrote in The Teenage Liberation Handbook (Amazon / public library):

How strange and self-defeating that supposedly free countries should train their young for life in totalitarianism.

No, David wait until after class to use the bathroom.

Unfortunately, your daughter would rather entertain the class than participate appropriately.

Carter, if I have to ask you again to sit down, you’ll be taking a trip to the office.

I’d love to hear what you have to say, Monty, but you need to raise your hand first.

Tonight you need to finish the exercises on page 193 and read the next section.

Marisa, I need a written explanation as to why you didn’t give in your homework today.

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘freedom’? The end of slavery? The fall of the Berlin Wall? A prisoner tunneling his way out of solitary confinement in Chile with a spoon? Gorillas dancing in the jungle, instead of sulking behind bars? When I hear the word ‘freedom’, I remember the sweetest sunlight pouring over my teenage cheeks on the first sleeping-in mornings of summer vacation.

Do you go to school? Yes? Then… you are not free.

The most overwhelming reality of school is control. School controls the way you spend your time (what is life made of if not time?), how you behave, what you read and to a large extent what you think. In school you can’t control your own life. Outside of school you can, at least to the extent that your parents trust you to. ‘Comparing me those who are conventionally schooled,’ writes 12-year old unschooler Colin Roch, ‘I like comparing the freedoms of a wild stallion to those of cattle in a feedlot’.

Grace is a friend of mine, and she’s told me that she wouldn’t necessarily use the same words — which she penned as a fiery 25-year-old ex-teacher — if she wrote the book over again. Not everyone who goes to school is in fact “not free.” Many young people choose to go to school every day happily and voluntarily, i.e., with authentic intention.

But the point remains that most of us have been conditioned, through years and years of schooling, to have a very limited concept of action. We are children, we’re told, and we must wait until we are adults to take action.

Yet at the same time, we are supposed to grow up: to figure out what to study in college, what career field to enter, and what we’re passionate about. (The situation is somewhat better, but still similar, if you’re in college.)

This is hypocritical.

Actions inform beliefs.

If your scope of action is severely restricted for the first 12 years of your life, then you have little opportunity to develop well-informed beliefs.

* * *

Without well-informed beliefs, you will not live with authenticity, and you will be vulnerable to introjects.

If your beliefs are defined by introjects, you will not define your own success, and you will not have a mission.

Without these things, you will follow the default life path of pursuing safety and comfort and approval, and you will not lead an adventurous life.

Which ultimately means that you will spend your life fulfilling someone else’s dreams.

* * *

Are you following this?

You’re kind of screwed.

Well, damn.