What We Do

1. We’re your normal everyday folks who travel around the world as much as we can while still keeping our full-time jobs or studying as full-time students, and spending as little money as possible. We believe you don’t have to quit anything to travel the world and we take anyone who wants to join along, proving that you can have your cake and eat it too.

2. We prove this in the flesh by leading monsoons around the world every few weeks. Anyone can join us. However, these are not first-world “follow my giant flag” vacations where we hold your hand — these are adventures that are raw, real, challenging, and unapologetic. You will be challenged. Our style may not be for everyone, but at the very least you’ll come out of it knowing whatever you went on, it was real.

3. When we’re not traveling, we will help you organize and embark upon affordable trips of your own OR have you go on trips led by other monsooners. Don’t let your dreams just be dreams.

4. And we get to tell stories like these.

Calvin D. Sun, MD (Founder & CEO, Guide)

The photo that started it all
It takes just the right conditions for a monsoon to form. For CALVIN D. SUN, it was the sudden loss of his father, an unexpected parting gift of camera lenses, a picture of Halong Bay, and a serendipitous trip to Egypt (and unexpectedly being left there alone) that stirred up the inexorable winds of wanderlust in him.

In 2006, his father had died from a sudden heart attack and life seemed to lose its direction. But as Calvin was cleaning out his father’s closet after the funeral, a pair of camera lenses fell into his hands. Wiping the dust off and finding them a new home, he promised that he would one day put them to good use.

Another few years would pass until Calvin came across a picture of Halong Bay. Unable to tear himself away from the idea that such a place could exist and after his recent, unplanned experience of being stranded in Egypt with no money, he decided to travel. But a kind of travel where nothing would stop him, time or money be damned. However, his friends gawked that he wouldn’t, that he was a medical student, that he didn’t have the funds, that he was insane, or that he would burn out. To prove them wrong, but mostly to prove it to himself, Calvin started a blog: The Monsoon Diaries was born.

Soon he found himself paradise lost in the crevices and hidden coves of the Halong Bay of his mind, and knew he had to dig his feet in faraway sands. His father left him with a yearning inquisitiveness that couldn’t be satiated until he captured the perfect shot of Halong Bay for himself. And Egypt had taught him that it wasn’t just the destination that mattered; how he journeyed there, whom he would travel with and whom he would meet were just as essential.

160+ countries, hundreds of companions, and 8 years later (while graduating med school and finishing residency on time!), Calvin is still moving even while working as an Attending Physician in Emergency Medicine based in NYC. His mission has been and always will be: monsoon the world, break down the stereotypes, dispel the ignorance, and uncover the obscure. And with his father’s lenses by his side, Calvin knows that wherever he’ll be, he’ll never be alone.

Want to join him on his next adventure? Just ask!

Taylan Stulting (Guide)

tibetAfter a series of graduate school rejections, Taylan wound up moving to England for a Master’s degree in the fall of 2016. When plans to meet up with a friend over winter break in Iceland – a pseudo-halfway point between New York and London thanks to budget airlines – fell through, that friend told Taylan to look into The Monsoon Diaries instead. Suddenly a 5-day trip to Iceland with 1 close friend turned into a 3-week adventure on the Trans-Siberian/Mongolian, finishing in Tibet with a group of 10 strangers-turned-friends for life.

bannerAlthough Taylan was accepted to a PhD program at Cambridge during the middle of that very trip, wanderlust took over and Taylan ultimately decided to defer the offer and travel the world. And when asked where to go, the only response was “everywhere.” So that’s what Taylan has now set off to do by attempting to visit 100 countries in a single year.

greatwall3 months and almost 40 countries later, they haven’t looked back. While there always have been challenging moments inherent in solo travel, group travel, mental health, and the frustrations of traveling while transgender — the opportunities to see the world is more than worth them.

Want to join them on their next adventure? Just ask!

Dave Zhou (Guide)

23191670_10104424561120845_832162207_o-(1)Dave immigrated to the US from China at the age of 5 and grew up on the East Coast. Earning his B.Eng. from Cornell University studying operations research and optimization, Dave worked at several bulge bracket investment banks in NYC doing sales, trading and strategy for the fixed income markets. But that is where his immigrant story ends. . . .

After a few trips with The Monsoon Diaries, Dave decided to leave his promising career in finance in NYC to explore the world, learn more about himself and discover the secrets of living a happy life. Instead of doing what he was supposed to — as taught by society, his parents, or his friends — Dave realized that you only have one life to live so you had better do what you want, enjoy it to the fullest and have no regrets. That is why he believes that everything in life should be experienced at least twice!

His other endeavors have included businesses for e-commerce, accessories wholesale/retail (Tribal Couture LLC), manufacturing and 3D printing in China (AdmTech), personal matchmaking services (Click2Asia), impersonating famous DJs (Steve Aoki), a travel & tourism businesses in Bali (Mudita Villas), and real estate investments all around the world. Over the last couple of years, Dave relocated to Southeast Asia and has been investing in SaaS startups and becoming more active in the live-streaming industry, most recently working as an Agent for UpLive (AIG Ltd).

After seeing the wealth inequality in the world and with his experience in online dating, travel, and blockchain apps, Dave is now working on developing a new platform to monetize people’s skills on demand from anywhere and at any time. Stay tuned…

Want to join him on his next adventure? Just ask!

Aaron Lam (Guide)


The travel bug: Infectious yet so empowering. For Aaron, this was not encountered till late in his undergraduate studies at Macaulay Honors College at Baruch when he had the opportunity to travel and study abroad in Panama, China and Italy. Despite the initial fears prior to each trip, every time he came back amazed at how much fun the unexpected could be. The friends that you make and the memories you create . . . it became intoxicating.

23314124_10159596597170788_1378788909_oHeading into the last ever summer vacation between his 1st and 2nd year of medical school, Aaron was yearning to go abroad again, reminiscing about the past trips. Yet, no one was willing to travel, whether it be because of the expenses or because it was out of their comfort zone. Through a recommendation by a friend, Aaron found out about The Monsoon Diaries and took part in their travel to Southern Africa in 2016. Unfortunately, the experience was cut short for Aaron as he had to return home to give a presentation. Determined to finish the rest of the trip, Aaron led a few of his friends and explored the beauties of Africa the following year.

While working hard to becoming a medical doctor, on his (limited) free time, Aaron actively plans for his next adventure, trying to find the best spots for stargazing. Traveling has consumed his thoughts. To him, it is a nice refresher, an escape from the routines of life. It reminds him of the path he has taken to this point as well as how much more there is out there.

Want to join him on his next adventure? Just ask!

mon•soon män-ˈsün, ˈmän-


verb, monsooned, monsooning.

1 : to travel with limited time and money

2 : to take advantage of your youth in sampling the world so you’ll know exactly where to return when you’re older

3 : to efficiently and thoroughly explore vast regions of the world in a short amount of time


4 : a unique type of seemingly-unfeasible travel itinerary that dares travelers instead to laugh in the face of impossibility and empowers them to travel the world without feeling like they have to quit anything or dig into their savings.

Examples of MONSOON

• “We packed our bags and monsooned South Asia, the Middle East and into Eastern Europe within 3 weeks time.”

Origin of MONSOON

 2010; From the original word monsoon, inspired by the behavior of a periodic wind and heavy rainfall covering a large region of the Earth

First known use: May 2010

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