The Monsoon Diaries

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Changing the way we travel: no time, no money, no excuses

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The Balkans, Australia & New Zealand!

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You Are Not Alone: Join The Monsoon!

Meet The People Who Have Traveled With Us!

Meet the Monsooners

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We blog LIVE, everyday while on the move, whether it’s from Antarctica or North Korea!

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Where Have We Been?

25+ trips: 110+ Countries in 5 years, without skipping work or school!
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Featured Trip: North Korea (Aug. 2011)

Vice did their take, here’s ours.

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Featured Trip: Antarctica (Dec. 2013)

Perhaps our most remote expedition yet!

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The Monsoon Diaries

Changing the way we travel: no time, no money, no excuses

Learn More

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Our Mission

You don’t have to quit anything to travel the world. For those of you who’ve heard it before — “I don’t have time or money” — we don’t let that stop us. We monsoon.

We are your everyday students and young professionals who ignore the “Yeah, but…” excuse, kick the bucket list, and jet-set around the world without taking any time off. In the past 4 years, we’ve taken hundreds of our readers (aka “monsooners”) to over 120 countries on our monsoon trips without skipping class, quitting work, asking for extra vacation days, or breaking the bank.

So unlike other travel sites where we write about how to travel without having much time or money, we’ll also show you how and carry you there; we invite YOU to join the hundreds of other monsooners on our internationally renowned trips. So take a leap of faith and have your life change today. Let the trade winds catch your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Monsoon.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb

Until Our Next Adventure!

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The Balkans

August 2017

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Australia & NZ

Winter 2017

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. . . Although the vigorous tempo seems intrinsic to [my friend] Tiger, he attributed this style of travel to his friend Calvin, who had inspired the itinerary for his trip…“Buffet style,” he drew the picture: just a quick sampling of places because, as Calvin reasons, you can always go back after you see what you’re drawn to. Calvin had already taken groups to Iran and North Korea, Tiger informed us. He was planning to do Cuba over Thanksgiving weekend. And he scheduled all of this on breaks from med school. Even as I was undertaking my own adventures, I remember feeling envious of such an intrepid and enterprising spirit.

. . . Perhaps the most remarkable consideration concerning Calvin’s compelling argument to travel is that there is no compelling argument from Calvin. He does not push unwilling souls to take the plunge. Instead he inspires by example, moving along his (loosely) planned route on his own accord and, much like the force of nature for which his travel approach is named, leaves you to (re)act as you see fit.

. . .

[Calvin,] you have created something really special – it is likely that I never would have seen Poland/Ukraine/Cuba had your vision not been the impetus to booking those trips, not to mention the invaluable friendships that form from sharing such a wonderfully intense period of time together. Case in point, all the different configurations of reunions you guys have had in the month since Cuba, Maria extending her family’s hospitality, etc… yep, truly something special.

Jan Ferrer

Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Cuba

[Remembering] this, after only a few days of home life, brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for a life changing experience. The highs and lows of the last two weeks are the reason why it would be the best two weeks of my life.

Melissa Le

Spain, Morocco, Portugal, Gibraltar

It really has been an incredible experience and like I said before, I don’t even see how you are human. You do so much and still find time to give people like me, experiences of a lifetime like this. So, as much as I can’t thank you enough, thank you, thank you, thank you!! Haha it’s been the craziest, most awesome experience of my entire life so I appreciate everything.

Mikey Massey

Southern Africa (11 Countries)

I will miss you folks. Thank you so much for your kindness and making me immediately feel like a part of the framily. I hope we keep in touch and wish you all safe and wonderful continued travels. Looking forward to sharing photos and more.

The thanks are to you [Calvin] for all you have and continue to do with leading us.

Nadi Kaonga

Finland, Malawi, South Africa, Namibia

I wanted to thank everyone for sharing this experience with me. Calvin reminded me the night of Ruchika’s birthday that NO ONE, not even my future husband, will ever understand or have shared the moments I shared with you all — my first trip outside of the U.S.A. and discovering myself through backpacking.

I’m so blessed to have met each and every one of you. I made a comment to some of you that it’s amazing how 17 different personalities managed to get along; there was not one person on this trip that I did not enjoy spending time with.

Continue to travel the world, get to know yourselves even more, and thank you for sharing your stories with me and allowing me to share parts of myself with you too. You ladies and gents are beautiful people!

Maria Villa

Ukraine, Poland, Germany

I’m so glad I didn’t shy away from this. I’m so glad I didn’t say no to you and this trip. I’m grateful for the nudge. And I’m grateful for you, and everyone else that opened my eyes and made my vision a little clearer. I’m most grateful for myself because I feel like I just took 100 leaps forward from all the steps I’ve been taking back. There’s a liberation that comes with loving yourself, and I got to taste and feel a tiny, tiny part of it from this trip this past weekend. All of this self-realization and self-confrontation was step 1. . . . Thanks for giving me the chance to see the part of myself I tried to not see for a long time.

Ann Wen

Luxembourg

When I was traveling with The Monsoon Diaries, I experienced the world like I never had before. The feeling from the adrenaline rush from constantly being on the move, seeing the boundless beauty that exists in the world, and building meaningful friendships with people who were once strangers was incomparable. I was challenged intellectually, culturally, emotionally, and politically. I learned how much there is to see and experience in the world, and how much I appreciate my youth for giving me the energy and flexibility to go see it. I got a small taste of what that clear mind and rejuvenated soul feels like…
 
…After trying out about five different rough itineraries to get a ballpark figure for how much this would cost, getting advice from Calvin (the founder of The Monsoon Diaries and our fearless leader on the Trans-Siberian/Mongolian trip) and running numerous different possibilities of budgeting and funding options, I discovered that this impossible dream might actually be possible. But the only way to find out is to try. And, as Calvin reminded me, if I run out of money, that’ll just be part of the experience…
 
…I’m attempting to pursue radical healing through a slightly unconventional method. I’m going to try to carve out a little more space in the world for my community by merely existing in spaces and engaging in activities that aren’t designed with trans people in mind. And I’m ready to set out on the adventure of a lifetime…

Taylan Stulting

A Year Of Radical Healing

It has been a great privilege to travel with the Monsoon Diaries.  They live, breathe, and thrive by “taking the road less traveled”.  In other words, they travel without maximal comfort, and with ever-fluid and constantly tinkered itineraries.  If we can take that leap of faith away from the “resort” experience, what we experience with the Monsoon Diaries is invaluable: the chance to witness wildly beautiful landscapes, to make human connections with our global neighbors, and to learn exactly what we ourselves are made of.  It is absolutely worth not having constant 3G network, or even having a flush toilet.

. . . Calvin Sun is the heart and soul of the Monsoon Diaries.  All these trips are possible only with his vision and enthusiasm, and the strength of his personality draws together all sorts of people who share that willingness to see what’s out there.  “Taking the road less traveled” is never easy, but with Calvin, it’ll never be lonely or boring. . . .

Tan Nguyen

The Palawan, Indonesia, East Timor-Leste, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan

[Since my first trip with The Monsoon Diaries], I’ve been to more places in the last year than I have been in my entire life. And in another seven days, I will board a plane for my fourth Monsoon in the last year, this time to Eastern Europe, as a third-time veteran of The Monsoon Diaries’ family. . . .

Cynthia Koo

Guatemala, Austria, Iran, Switzerland, Ukraine, Poland, Germany

Went on my second trip with the Monsoon Diaries (first being the Route 66 Road Trip) to Scandinavia and came back with so many awesome memories and friendships that will undoubtedly last a lifetime. This was a part of Europe that I may not have otherwise visited and I’m glad I got to experience the culture, food, and sights of these amazing countries.

Definitely looking forward to future trips with The Monsoon Diaries!

Kelvin Sage

Route 66, Scandinavia (4 countries), Southern Africa (11 countries)