The Road Less Traveled programs take students outside to seek adventure, find challenges, make friends, build community and understand the world in a different way.
In North America, we visit the famous woods, waters, valleys and mountains of California. We camp under the stars and have have close encounters with wolves in Colorado. We dive into some of the world’s most beautiful and endangered environments and support preservation efforts in Florida and the Florida Keys. We help restore the urban and natural Gulf Coast wonders of the New Orleans area. We explore the beauty and culture on the islands of Hawaii. We backpack across mountains and kayak to an archipelago in Washington. We lend a helping hand to work alongside communities affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas. We explore the rolling hills and barrier islands throughout North Carolina. And we explore the sand dunes, toad stools and animals of Utah.
The Road Less Traveled covers it all. We paddle, hike, swim, zip, surf, dive, explore, learn and volunteer. We accompany and support each other along the way.
We have safe houses set up in every location
Our leaders (average age, 26) are Wilderness First Responder Certified
Our leaders attend a 10-day intense training program
We have a leader return rate of 50%
We always have a doctor on call, 24/7, and no traveler has spent a night in a hospital due to an injury
Everyone returns securely home from our teen service and adventure trips, always changed for the better, and often dreaming of their next adventure with The Road Less Traveled. In fact, many of our teens are returning travelers.
Instructors selected for our North America programs have deep experience both with RLT, with young people and the outdoors. Beyond this, they are centered, thoughtful, inspiring, skilled, committed, selfless, and dedicated.
During the school year, our North America instructors attend school or work as teachers, social workers, authors, adventure guides, artists, scientists, emergency medical technicians, and as entrepreneurs across the globe.
Most importantly, they have strong values: honesty, integrity, respect for the environment, and compassion for others. The average age of our leaders is 26 years old, the minimum is 21.
Get to know last year's program instructors on this page. We will be updating this page with this year's trip leader assignments in the spring.
Each leader is selected personally for their ability to prevent and solve problems in the field, their capacity to relate to and enjoy our young people, their language skills and travel experience, and their knowledge and love of the places we visit. All leaders have a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) (or higher) medical certification.
RLT demands the ultimate responsibility in life. They are more than just leaders, instructors and mentors. They are guardians, in the most genuine sense of the word – essentially a parent to every child.
Directors and founders Jim and Donna would not hesitate to trust the physical and emotional safety of their own children with any of our instructors. To learn more about our instructors and their backgrounds please visit this page.
TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE COMMUNICATION HOME:
While we are exploring the beautiful Rockies or diving deep below the sea in the Keys, we request that students travel independent of modern technology. This allows us to be fully present in the moment and to devote our full attention to the people and organizations we work with.
Safety and communication are important to us. We provide our leaders with the latest emergency communication systems and strive to update parents with detailed emails, calls, and photos as often as we are able. Our office keeps in close communication with our trip leaders and completes detailed check-ins with the leaders on each participant. We also share photos on an online trip tagboard for you and your family to access as they become available.
Because communication can be limited while we are in the mountains or in areas with limited reception, updates and photos to parents may come every few days or as our groups head into town. We have a 24/7 doctor on call and are always available in the office to chat with parents. You can also expect a brief phone call home from your participant about half way through the program to check in and exchange awesome stories!
WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT OUR NORTH AMERICA PROGRAMS
The fact that he was so accepted and had so much fun on his adventures with you guys was a HUGE confidence builder for him. One that I know both he and I are grateful for," Parent of Eli W., Utah Unleashed.
He lived every moment, cherished every experience, and connected with everything that was introduced to him. And most importantly, the boy who cannot stay away from his gadgets and gaming for too long, didn't miss them at all in those 17 days," Uma G., Almuni Parent, Call of the Wild
This trip made me realize that I can overcome many challenges such as fear of wolves, shyness, and being independent. Getting out of my comfort zone was a way to prove that I can live on my own and I have the ability to take care of myself without my parents worrying about me. I can live independently in college," Laing X., Call of the Wild Alum
I had no clue who was going to come back to me, but that I knew it would be a different person then the boy I was sending off into the wider world for the first time on his own. He did come back a changed young man in many ways, with a sense of confidence that has blossomed. Thank you for running such an amazing program," Chris B., 5280' Alumni Parent
I picked up Trevor from airport yesterday afternoon and he just talked & talked about all the great things that he did & learned. Diving, kayaking, hiking, dolphins, sharks, etc. But by far the most meaningful things for Bruce & I to hear were the intangibles -- the last day's sharing game, Jared & Emily and the positive role modeling, the friendships and the appreciation for this opportunity! This has truly been a life impacting experience for our son," Susan E., Florida Keys Alumni Parent
Interested in hearing more? We have hundreds of alumni families who can tell you more about their RLT experience. Please contact our office at 773-342-5200 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
The Road Less Traveled is committed to providing exceptional travel experiences for young adults. In 2016, the American Camp Association recognized The Road Less Traveled as the winner of the 2016 Gordie Kaplan Program Excellence award. This ACA award honors outstanding student travel programs and recognizes organizations that develop positive and creative responses to the needs of people and ecosystems across the globe.
Our work with children is serious business. Our commitment to safety is unrivaled and we always place quality before quantity. This conviction has empowered and inspired us to provide only the best in training, emergency preparedness, and staffing over the years. To learn more about our ACA accreditation, our exceptional safety record, our Markel's Safety 1st Recognition, B-Corp Certification, and extensive leader training please visit this page.
We invite you to begin your North American journey today.