The Unschool Files

Teen Travel

This program is an offering designed for families who want to expand their teens’ empathy and understanding of diversity by engaging with other cultures and learning about other customs through travel. Teens ages 13-17 and their parent partner will travel in a collective of Self- Directed learners alongside 2 guides with lifelong and grown unschoolers of their own.

Families that Would be a good fit are:

  • those that have approached parenting in a way that views their relationship with their teen as a partnership.
  • homeschoolers and unschoolers that have attempted to prioritize a de-colonized environment for learning.
  • queer teens looking for adventure with a group that will be affirming and supportive.
  • teens who are looking to grow skills that they don’t have access to in their direct community.
  • teens that want to explore ways to find community wherever they go!
  • teens who desire making connections with others who care deeply about issues that impact humanity and the environment.
  • teens that are looking to TAKE BACK some opportunities the pandemic years have interfered with.
  • teens that are a little nervous about travel and want to stretch and expand their exposure to new experiences with people who will respect their boundaries around trying new things. 

Who are Sara and Meghan ?

We will be your Queer-affirming guides with 30 years combined experience in SDE and Group Organizing. We are parents who have lived in partnership with their teens and grown children and want to share that partnership and guidance with yours!

Our role in this program would be to create an extension of that partnership your teen has experienced with you, and promote the deeper skills of empathy gained when engaged in world travel and community building. We believe that there is a significant element of learning involved with healthy risk taking at appropriate age levels. 

Where are we going?

Barcelona, Spain !

Our hub for almost 2 weeks from October 4th -14th will be in the beautiful heart of Catalonia.

For our first trip, we are inviting teen/parent duos (or trios, if you have more than one teen) to join us

We’d like to do this for several reasons – this is our pilot trip! We would like to add an element of comfort and safety for all participating families as we ROAM new territory on foreign soil with new people!

 As we emerge from the pandemic, we realize some teens may not be ready to head out all alone just yet (and some are). This will give teens a chance to step into some new and uncomfortable territory with a little more comfort and support. We will be staying in a communal house, and working together on everything from food prep and cleanup to plans for the day!

What is risk taking?

When a toddler balances on a log with a supportive caregiver nearby, but isn’t kept from falling because the caregiver knows the injury will be small compared to the learning that occurs. When a 7 year old helps to collect a grocery item from the next aisle over and come back, pushing themselves through nerves. When an 11yr old posts a tiktok dance and awaits feedback. In so many ways, when they feel elements of discomfort they are actually learning to stretch their abilities and skills.

In unschooling families, most of these learning opportunities tend to happen with the support of a confident  adult nearby. 

What we propose is that at the teenage level, they can learn big scale skills by being in an environment with other teens and adults who are also having a new experience alongside them. Especially when in other countries. It can be an important experience for Americans to decenter themselves and feel discomfort in not having familiar accommodations at all times. To this end we think that developing deeper empathy happens when folks experience what it is like to not be in a country where our 1st language is spoken, or there are not cheetos; for instance.

How will we stretch these skills while staying safe abroad?

We will allow the teens to take lead on problem solving how to navigate new situations such as meal planning and experimenting with local cuisine, traversing the city, venturing out to nature-focused adventures or seeking relevant art/history nearby, transportation between points of interest, money exchanges, keeping personal items secure, and more! There will be days where the group will come to a consensus about what adventures to take next in the experience, and other days where skills will be expanded with pre-planned scopes. Our goal is to avoid exploring like typical tourists – we will be sure to visit key important landmarks as we are able but may not venture into the more crowded streets, or during peak times/days. For instance, we may head out to a smaller, less touristy type of adventure on a weekend and visit the more popular and famous location as early as possible on a weekday. We may, as a group, decide to take a “rest day” on a weekend, and plan fun activities at home base.

What are we offering?

community, culture and cuisine

Our inaugural journey is coming from the understanding that the pandemic has taken a signifant amount of time, experiences and growth alongside peers. We are offering  a Parent /Teen trip to Barcelona, Spain  to expand perspective of the world and our place in it. We will work  together to live in a community house, explore new surroundings and language, experience group decision making, adventure and build lasting memories and new relationships

We plan to support healthy risk taking , adventure while we ROAM! 

What kind of teens would fit with this program?

Young people who are looking to expand their understanding of human customs by engaging with them directly! Travelers should be willing to experience new sights, tastes, smells and language by exploring city centers and surrounding areas alongside a pop-up community of other unschooled teens.

What can you expect from this experience? 

Site-seeing, cultural immersion, Communal living+eating Budgeting, disagreements, a safe space with conflict resolution tools. Our 10 days will vary from home base days, big excursion days and indie days – at times we will split off so people have the opportunity to remain at the group house while some go out either as a small group or independently (in pairs)

What can you NOT expect from this experience?

more time inside than out (we will plan for down time though)

High Tourism-focused approach

Central A/C

mostly english speaking people and experiences

to not have to cook/clean

Are younger siblings invited? Why or why not

In our long-term experience organizing unschooling activities, we have always focused on the community as a whole with children of all ages interacting together. We highly value this aspect of the self-directed community and want to continue to support it. That said, many of our trips will be specifically geared toward older kids, especially those that involve travel without parents. We know that teens with younger siblings can benefit from some opportunities designed for their transition into adulthood that are just for them!

For our first trip, because we are sharing a home in the city together space is limited, and it makes sense to us to focus on this being a trip that one parent can do with their older kid(s) as something special.

We do have plans to offer some other opportunities for younger Unschoolers and entire families in the future, so stay tuned!



The questions everyone asks….

  • Where are we going?
    • We are planning to be in a shared house in beautiful Barcelona, Spain!
  • When are going?
    • October 4-14th, 2023
  • How much does the program cost?
    • $2,450 per parent/teen duo, $1000 for each additional teen sibling
  • Why is the cost so much lower than other programs?
    • We are working very hard to keep costs low by planning in advance, using group deals and passes and booking our accommodations early. We are traveling as a group of parent/teen duos (or trios) and much of the program is co-created and parents will be helping to facilitate. In the future, we will not always have parents present on trips therefore cost to manage and facilitate will go up.
  • What does the program fee cover?
    • Special Mail prior to our trip, Daily Breakfast, grocery basics + Meal Prep Foods for our shared meals, Group Excursions and Outings + Travel Swag
  • What is NOT covered?
    • We will provide daily breakfast and 2-3 Communal House Dinners, all food and snack purchases outside of that are your responsibility, including dining out.
    • We will offer a few days to ROAM independently or have down time. Any museums or outings that were not pre-planned/paid or agreed upon as a group.
    • personal shopping
  • How will we get there?
    • We will all book our flights on our own, some people may even travel beyond these dates! We will help arrange airport shuttle service to our shared rental.
  • How many teens will be on this trip?
    • 6-8 teens will be on this trip, depending on the families who apply. due to the nature of short term rental houses in both the city AND just outside the city, we can have 16-18 people maximum housed together
  • When do we have to pay?
    • A non-refundable lodging deposit of $1000 is due no later than June 1, 2023
    • the remainder can be paid all at once or we can work out a payment plan for up to three payments, all due by September 1, 2023
  • Will there be more trips like this?
    • We may do a parent-teen trip again, if the first time inspires us to so! We also have other trip and experiences up our sleeves for down the line, including teen trips, full family programs and a parent retreat!