Charles Wheelan

Charles Wheelan – Learning Journey Around the World


Charles Wheelan – Learning Journey Around the World

Charles Wheelan is the Founder and Co-Chair of Unite America. He is a senior lecturer and policy fellow at the Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College, a former correspondent for The Economist. He has been selected as one of Dartmouth’s ten best professors by three different graduating classes. He teaches courses on education policy, health care, tax policy, income inequality, and related topics.

Wheelan teaches the Practicum in Global Policy Leadership in which he travels with students to examine an international policy topic. In years past, the class has visited India, Israel, Jordan, Liberia, Turkey, Rwanda, Madagascar, Northern Ireland, Brazil, Liberia, and Colombia.

From 2004 to 2012, Wheelan was a senior lecturer in public policy at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

Unite America is a political organization dedicated to bridging the growing partisan divide and fostering a more representative and functional government. From debt ceiling standoffs to single-digit Congress approval ratings, America’s political system has never been more polarized—or paralyzed—than it is today. Unite America grew out of Wheelan’s 2013 book The Centrist Manifesto

In 2013, Wheelan published Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data (W.W. Norton). Shortly after publication, the book reached the New York Times bestseller list for hardcover nonfiction. The New York Times called the book “sparkling and intensely readable.” The same year, he published The Centrist Manifesto, which calls for a new political party “of the middle.

Key Takeaways:

01:23 Nine Months. Six Continents. Three Teenagers.

07:00 How was the planning of your trip?

14:17  What were your biggest challenges on the road?

20:54 What does this do for your family?

24:08 Taking economics students traveling and learn by experience

27:13 Advice to families who want to try the same learning journey

33:30 Alternative schooling and college

38:58 Learning is all about the journey


“Find your comfort zone to bite off as much as you think you can chew.”

“Plan far in advance and don’t let the planning overwhelm you. Just take one challenge at a time.”

“You have to be completely mobile while carrying all of your stuff.”

“I think people can choose their own path, but I would urge as many people as possible to take a gap year. Just just one form of being unconventional because too many of the students I see are burned out or they just feel like they’ve been running on this education treadmill for too long.”

“I’m a big believer in the journey, not the destination.”

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The New York Times: Meet a Family Who Spent 9 Months Traveling the Globe, Pre-Plague