The Monsoon Diaries
Join the international community of thousands in changing how we travel.
“Better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.”
We’re students and young professionals who ignore the “Yeah, but…” excuse by jet-setting around the world without taking time off. Having visited 170 countries in 8 years without skipping class, quitting jobs, missing shifts, or breaking budgets, we find ways around the excuse of “I don’t have time or money” and make it work. We come home with too many stories to share, fill ourselves with saudade, and then we do it again. We don’t vacation, we monsoon.
So more than just writing about how to travel without having any time or money, we go together: Join the hundreds of others for our unique style of international travel where we bring the solo backpacking experience to a group; in other words: “group travel for people who hate group travel.”
Dare to live your best life. 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.”
Slider drone footage courtesy of Justin Martell
Until Our Next Adventure!
Mar. 16-23, 2019
Sept. 16-25, 2019
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5 years ago I crashed a random wedding in Lahore where of all the “WTF small world moments” I’ve had in my life I would run into an acquaintance named Ali Raza, whom I had first met briefly when I spoke at CUNY Baruch only a year prior.Flabbergasted, we then took a...read more
Special thanks to my newly christened co-guide Ann for inspiring not only this trip, but also this blogpost title!After 50 hours in Prague, 11 out of 16 of us continued onwards for a day in Budapest. Seeing that this would be my third time in Budapest the past 2...read more
The last time I was in Prague 19 years ago, I was 11 years old. And I haven't been back since. So does it count if I really don't remember anything but this photo? NO IT DOESN'T. Last month, when 7-time monsooner (Luxembourg, Australia, New Zealand, Oman, Qatar...read more
Where We’ve Been
Meet Some of Our Travelers:
. . . 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.
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.
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.
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.
Despite considering myself a decently travelled solo traveller to a number of off the beaten track destinations, having met Calvin in a chance encounter in Sydney i originally signed up with him to his recently organised trip to Armenia for the specific reasons that 1) it was very cost effective, compared to solo travel in that country 2) the itinerary and approach to travel appeared to be well aligned with my own, in that it was hard and fast, adventurous and hitting all thesights whilst still keeping flexibility to change plans, and 3) overall he seemed like a pretty decent guy.
What I encountered surpassed these expectations. On top of delivering on the above, I encountered a trip with like minded individuals sharing what was to prove a remarkable experience in a remarkable country. For many a traveller who prefers solo travel, there are times when you would prefer to give the sometimes rigorous amounts of organisation a break, whilst avoiding the cookie cutter approach of a tour or sometimes having to acquiesce to an itinerary planned out by friends that might not match your preferences. That is where for me Calvin’s approach really excels. We saw all of the key sights of the country, pushed the boundaries in our venture to the disputed region of Nagorno Karabakh, in an informal, flexible setting, and all the while making some personal friends whom I will no doubt retain for a long time.
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!